Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

dog care potomac md

Does your dog eat grass whenever they are outside? Perhaps you have heard that dogs eat grass when they have an upset stomach, and it has you worried.

While an upset stomach may be the problem, it is not the only reason that a dog will nibble grass and other plants. 

Here are some reasons your dog may be eating grass, and what you may be able to do about it:

Instinct

Unlike their ancestors, domesticated dogs have nutritionally rich foods packaged and sold in bulk so there is no need to hunt. However, they retain the natural instinct to hunt and scavenge.

Dogs are neither strictly carnivores nor typical omnivores. They will eat anything that will meet their basic dietary requirements.

Wild dogs often eat a full animal, including plant-based stomach contents, as well as scavenge for grass, berries, and other plant-based foods.

In this case, there really is not anything you need to do to stop the behavior. Occasional grazing is completely fine and trying to work against natural instinct may do more harm than good.

As long as grazing is not making your dog sick and you are up-to-date on parasite prevention, you can go ahead and let Fido scavenge.

Boredom

If your dog is eating grass when let outside alone, it could be from boredom, especially if you have a young pup. 

If you react when your dog eats grass, they may notice and use it as a behavior to get your attention.

Try taking your dog on more walks, giving them some more strenuous exercise, or maybe even a new toy to keep them occupied.

Do you let your dog outside in a fenced in yard while you are away? 

If so, grazing may be for more than just boredom. Your pet could be anxiously awaiting your arrival. If your dog eats grass to soothe separation anxiety, you can try leaving them with a pillow or shirt containing your scent to make them feel at peace.

Stomach Relief

Only about 25 percent of dogs get sick after eating grass and only 10 percent show signs of illness beforehand. So, it is highly unlikely that your dog is self-medicating with grass.

It is more likely that your pet simply likes the taste, or is seeking some fiber and other nutrients provided by grass for digestive wellness.

Be on the lookout for a sudden increase in grass eating, as it could be a sign of a more serious illness that your dog is trying to relieve. Call your vet immediately if you suspect this may be the case.

Nutritional Necessity

As mentioned above, it is possible that your dog is craving nutrients not typically found in a commercial diet. If you notice your dog nibbling on grass and house plants, you may want to start feeding a more fiber-rich diet.

You can do this with a high-fiber commercial dog food, or by introducing herbs and cooked vegetables to their diet. Dogs typically do not prefer raw veggies, so cooked is best.

Check out a list of healthy human foods that are safe to feed your dog to make sure you are not feeding them anything toxic.

Preventative Care & Wellness for Your Pet in Potomac, MD

At Falls Road Veterinary Hospital, we provide extensive regular physical exams to keep your pet in peak condition for a long time. Do you have questions and concerns about your pet’s behaviors or symptoms? Our skilled veterinarians and vet techs are happy to listen to your concerns and come up with a specialized care plan specific to your pet. Call 301-983-8400 to schedule your appointment today!

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