You might be wondering why even after a well-balanced meal, your pet still prefers to chew around various things. Some pets eat just out of curiosity, while others chewing is a form of destructive behavior. In general, cases, chewing is a natural tendency among dogs to know things better. However, eating the green plants and grasses on the lawn is often seen as typical behavior.
For what reasons does a dog eat grass, and is it harmful to them? Ingesting grass is a common phenomenon seen in dogs, which may be due to various reasons like boredom, deficiency, internal worms, to name a few. Apart from that, it may just be a feel-good liking as they have a different palate of tastes. However, no evidence says that it is harmful and has adverse effects on them provided these grasses are growing in organic habitats and is not a regular habit in pets.
Understanding the reasons for eating grass by pet dogs
Dogs have always been relying on and have soft corners for meats and bones. As dog parents, you might have often noticed that your pet quite often goes outdoors or on the lawn and enjoys his time while eating grass. It is an intriguing scene as they are not herbivores, and neither is a usual item to eat. Let us discuss a few factors that shall guide you, clear your mind and help you identify the reasons behind this behavior.
Since dogs are natural omnivores and eat both meat and plants, eating grass comes instinctively to them. Any eatables that would soothe their taste buds and fill up their stomach, they would eat it. Previously, before domestication, they would rely on both plants and animals to fulfill their basic food requirements. This behavior has hereditarily transferred through generations and still prevails. It is one of the reasons because of which you might often notice that they are grazing in the grass and happily munches on it.
Inducing to vomit
It is a common observation that some pets after eating grass vomit out the meal eaten previously. Vomiting helps in relieving specific distress, which is just temporary. In cases when there is an issue of digestion and wants to throw up, they are often seen eating grass. Ingesting grass induces puke and gets rid of the undigested food. Although there is no proper evidence behind this, if eating grass helps them relax, there is nothing to worry about. However, once a while throwing up is okay, if this behavior continues for long and regularly, you must seek a doctor’s advice.
Often the urge to eat some other food, apart from regular meals, can indicate a nutritional deficiency. In the case of dogs, the need for more nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and roughage in their daily diet may urge them to eat grasses high on fiber. This condition in dogs is known as pica.
Ingesting grass due to discomfort in digesting other food can also be a symptom of underlying issues like the gastrointestinal disease. In such cases, the digestive tract swells up and may also lead to blood loss in severe cases. Besides, there may be instances of diarrhea, weight loss, and laziness. To relieve themselves from it, pet dogs often eat grasses, which induce them to vomit.
Taste of grass
Apart from the health reasons, you may observe your pet inclined towards eating grass might be due to its taste. The preferable tastes and smell for particular objects in dogs are very different from their human counterparts. They generally like the smell of shoes, dirty laundry, and mud, which are among the dislikes in the case of humans. Similarly, some dogs eat grass only because of its taste.
There are certain breeds of self-reliable dogs and do not mind when left alone at home for a specified period. They manage to keep themselves busy and engaged in their activities. However, some do not like to stay alone. Loneliness often leads to unnatural behavior, which is mostly destructive. To calm themselves down and keep distracted from loneliness, nibbling on the grass is readily available on the lawn or outdoors. It helps them pass their time while waiting for their pet parents to return home and accompany them.
Certain pet dogs require constant attention from their human partners. They often exhibit actions that will force their companions to pay attention to them and eat grass in one of them.
Effects of eating grass
Although eating grass does not have any visible and harmful effects on dogs but, ensuring to keep a check on the frequency and amount will help prevent any adverse results in the future. However, there can be certain side-effects due to the following reasons:
- Grasses growing on soil with chemicals in it can have toxic circumstances on the health of your canine. The herbicides, pesticides and other agrochemical products are useful for enhancing the land, which also induces the growth of grass. When dogs consume these grasses, they tend to fall sick in due course of time.
- While eating grass, they may ingest some portion of the soil as well. Ingesting contaminated soil often leads to the growth of worms in the intestine. Parasites like roundworms and hookworms live in infected areas and lay eggs there. Grazing in the grass may result in infection with such worms in their digestive tract and their fur.
- Consuming grass daily and frequently may induce regular vomiting, which relieves them from any internal discomfort. But if this behavior continues, it will surely become a habit and will lead to gradual weight and appetite loss.
Preventive measures and precautions to minimize eating grass in dogs
As a pet parent, it is your sole responsibility to identify the actual reason behind their prolonged behavior of eating grass and vomit. Once you identify the exact cause, you must take the necessary precautions and act accordingly to help your furry-friend overcome it. The side-effects may not be visible in a day or two but will undoubtedly cause severe health issues in the absence of precautionary measures. Some of the tips are as follows:
It is essential to impart training to dogs from a very early age. Training them to obey your command will surely help you to reduce grass eating. Whenever you notice that grazing in the grass is more of a habit imbibing in them, start giving your commands. It will help them understand that it is not intelligent behavior. Dogs are faithful to their human parents and always look forward to pleasing them. Thus, once they realize that a particular action is not pleasing to you, they will reduce it gradually.
If you are among those pet parents who have to leave behind your pet alone for a specific time at home, train them accordingly. Invest in certain dog toys that will keep them engaged and will avoid loneliness. When they learn to spend time engaging themselves in self-entertaining activities, they will easily distract from eating grass when left alone.
Since it is not possible to prevent your pet from visiting the lawn or yard, you may initiate organic agriculture. It will increase the soil’s quality with essential and natural nutrients, but it will also avoid the toxicity in the ground. Once the land is free from harmful chemicals, even if your pet ingests soil and other plants and grasses, there will be scarce chances of infection by parasites.
Change in diet:
If you realize that eating grass is due to lack of nutrients in their daily meal, change it, and add a few other essential items that would complement the entire meal. Along with regular meals, give them branded dry foods that are in the form of kibbles and baked. It will enhance their daily nutrient intake, avoid hunger, and will not urge eating grass. You may also increase the number of leafy vegetables in their diet and include natural herbs as well. The fiber in them will help them balance the deficiency in their regular diet. You may also consult a veterinarian about their diet and introduce some other food supplements to ensure that your pet is getting his daily intake of nutrients in a sufficient amount.
If your puppy is in the teething stage and is often nibbling grass, give them a chew toy. A chew toy will help minimize the behavior and soothe the teething pain and make the gums healthier. A dog toy will keep him busy, entertained, and distract from grazing. However, ensure that the toy is sturdy enough and long-lasting along with minimal filling, or else if torn apart, it will create a mess.
For minimizing the behavior of eating grass, introduce them to toys that have food treats hidden in them. It will help in the stimulation of mind as well as keep them busy while left alone. Some light snacks in between meals will not suffer any harm in their diet as well. Thus, food treats will serve as a multi-purpose product.
Along with a change in diet, it is also essential to change their daily activities and include some exercises. It will keep their weight in control and tire them out after a long day. Thus, later instead of eating grass as a relaxing activity, they will prefer to stay indoors and sleep instead. An ample amount of sleep will rejuvenate and help in the development of the body.
Apart from these, a regular check-up and visit to the clinic will ensure any underlying diseases in your pet. Early detection will help you take the necessary action and give you enough time to initiate the appropriate treatment.
From the reasons mentioned above, it is evident that although eating grass is not very harmful to your pet dog, encouraging them to continue the behavior is also not advisable. Thus, keep a close watch on your furry friend and acknowledge any change or abnormality in their practice. For the overall development of your pet, it is essential to provide them with a healthy lifestyle, protection, and affection.