Being a dog owner brings about questions that you probably thought youd never have to ask. Why is my dog letting my cat beat it up? What does he eat that makes him smell like that? Dogs like to snack from the litter box? How can there be THAT much waste to pick up? Is he really looking at me like I’m stupid? And, the question that will be answered in this article: Should dogs eat grass?
it’s true that most dogs will, at one time or another, munch on the lawn. That probably seems a little strange to you because you go to a great deal of trouble and expense to provide nutritious dog food on a daily basis. Still, the grass is, at times, a seemingly irresistible snack.
It seems that some dogs eat grass every time you let them outside, while others only partake once in a while. So, what is it about the lawn that makes dogs want to take a bite? The fact is that experts cannot agree on just why dogs eat grass. But there are a few theories floating around that are more popular than others.
One thought is that perhaps dogs crave greens. Just as humans sometimes have a longing for chocolate or steak, some think that dogs may get an occasional hankering for some crunchy greens. Remember that dogs are omnivorous, meaning they enjoy eating plants as well as meat. If this theory is true, then when they get the urge to eat some greens, grass is usually the most abundant choice.
Another thought is that some’ dogs eat grass‘ for the same reason that some men climb mountains: simply because it is there. Think about the things your dog has eaten. Perhaps toilet paper was on the menu. A nice sweaty sock may have served as an appetizer. Or just about anything they could find in the trash. The point is that dogs are not very picky about what they eat.
Unlike some animals, such as cats, whose ancestors were hunters, early dogs were scavengers. They would eat pretty much anything that was handy. Some of that lack of a discretionary palate could be why they eat grass, trash or anything else that looks interesting.
Because most of the commercial dog foods available provide all the nutrition your pet needs, it’s highly unlikely that Fido is eating your lawn because of some sort of nutritional deficiency. For many dogs, the answer as to why they eat it is simple: They like the way it tastes.
Some pet owners notice that their dog doesn’t eat grass all the time, but that every now and then he will eat grass and then vomit. The jury is still out on whether these dogs eat grass when their stomach is upset or whether their stomach becomes upset as a result of eating the grass. The majority think that it’s the grass that upsets the stomach. But that leaves this question: If the grass’ causes the dog to vomit, then why can so many dogs eat it with no ill effects?
That is because dogs who are eating grass for pleasure chew the grass thoroughly before swallowing. Dogs that are eating the grass to rid themselves of whatever is upsetting their stomach do not chew and the thought is that it eating the grass almost whole that triggers the vomiting.
If that theory is correct than whenever a dog feels sick, he may turn to the lawn to help rid his body of what is bothering him, even if he does not particularly enjoy the taste of grass.
Will Eating Grass Hurt my Dog?
What most do agree on is that there is no harm in your dog indulging in a little crunchy green grass. Dogs have been eating grass for centuries, and there is no reason to think it is harmful. As with most rules, however, there are exceptions.
While grass is not harmful, grass that has been treated with toxic chemicals, such as those found in insecticides, can indeed be very harmful to your pet. If you plan to treat your lawn, carefully read the label of any products you are going to apply. Information about whether the product is harmful to pets should be included very prominently on the label.
You should keep your pets away from any treated areas for a while after the product is applied. This is true even if your dog doesn’t eat grass because the chemicals could get on his paws where he could lick off the product and become ill.
Since it is not harmful, there is no reason you have to try and stop your pet from eating grass, but if it bothers you there is one thing you can try. Some vets think dogs that eat grass on a regular basis do so because their bodies are craving fiber. Again, experts don’t agree on this, but you can try to feed your dog some raw veggies to see if that will stop him from munching your backyard.
While there is no evidence that grass is harmful, there are some reasons to believe that eating grass may actually be good for your pet. Eating grass may help rid your pet’s body of excess mucus. It can also help to cleanse the bowel which, in turn, could rid the dog’s intestines of worms. Some varieties of grass contain enzymes and vitamins that are good for animals. Keep in mind, though, that as mentioned earlier, grass that has been treated with chemicals can be very harmful to your pet.
If your dog is a regular grass eater, there is no reason for you to worry about it. Also, if he eats it only once in a while and then vomits, there is, again, no reason for concern. It seems to just be part of being a dog.
*No part of this article is meant to replace advice from your vet and should not be used in place of medical advice.