Why dogs eat grass is something most pup parents wonder about. And what’s more, why do they seem to enjoy it so much?
It can’t be easy nibbling on wafer-thin fronds of fresh greens so tiny and delicate that energy consumption per blade must surely outweigh energy gained? Yet Bella seems wholeheartedly committed to keeping up with the latest foodie trends. Despite having to forage for fresh lawn using nothing but her nimble canines.
If going green is your dog’s snack of choice, what are the benefits? Are there risks? And what else should we consider when examining why dogs eat grass?
Why dogs eat grass then throw up
Sure, greens are good, but only if you keep them down. Right?
Before we look into why dogs eat grass at all, why does eating grass lead to a dog throwing up?
Research shows that 79% of dogs eat grass and only 22% throw up afterwards. This suggests that while it can lead to vomiting, giving their tummies a clean via purging isn’t the only reason for dogs eating grass. Though it is one of them.
Interestingly, younger dogs have more interest in lawn-mowing-diets than older dogs. So perhaps it’s just a way of trying out new foods? Aww.
Strange dog habits
When it comes to strange eating habits of dogs, is grass the only example? Nope.
Bow-wows tend to have a penchant for a lot of weird grub. Think (rather than say out loud) eating their own poop, eating other dog’s poop, eating homework (maybe not entirely true) and/or eating charcoal. Although the latter has become a human fad too. Did dogs get this from humans or was it the other way around?
Although the eating poop part is pretty gross, could these unusual dietary habits simply be a rite of passage from pup to senior? If you think about it, kids tend to also eat a lot of unsavoury things. Luckily, poop is generally not one of them.
Child-care literature suggests trialling strange foods-that-aren’t-foods is an all-too necessary part of growing a healthy immune system. So, maybe dogs are just following suit?
A girl’s best friend
Dogs became our carb-loving besties through thousands of years of dog-and-human coevolution. Our contemporary pup is allowed the occasional French fry, tortilla or slice of buttered toast. And this has been made possible by starch-processing genes which dogs have developed over time, by eating human foods.
This is different from wolves, whose gastroinstestinal (GI) system is designed to eat mainly raw meat. So perhaps modern dogs are just doing we have conditioned them to do, ie: eat more fibre.
Studies suggest dogs may benefit from eating grass for these reasons:
- Fibre-rich diet
- Improves digestion
- Flushes out parasites such as intestinal worms
- Enjoyment (vets and scientists believe some dogs like the taste!)
- Entertainment (when bored, eats grass)
- Flushing out harmful substances
After all, a high-in-fibre diet is good for people. So, when pondering why dogs eat grass, we can consider that perhaps it’s good for pooch too.
Why is my dog eating grass frantically?
While eating grass is a common behaviour and generally not associated with illness, watch out for any sudden increase in grass intake. It’s important to keep a lookout for this and accompanying physical changes. A sudden change could point to an underlying illness such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis.
Signs to look out for include:
- Weight loss
- Excessive drooling or lip-licking
- Decreased appetite
- Changes to your dog’s fur
If your champion shows any of these symptoms and is also eating grass, he or she could be proactively trying to self-medicate. A situation like this requires a professional diagnosis by a vet.
It’s good to know that all our dog insurance plans cover pooch for vet visits, medication and hospitalisation for conditions that aren’t pre-existing.
A low carb diet plan
Do you want to reduce your adorable BFF’s carb intake while still providing greens? Or maybe you live in an apartment with no immediate access to grass? Either way, you can try growing wheatgrass for dogs (AKA pet grass).
It grows well as a porch plant and doubles as a fresh source of gluten-free fibre for a foraging snout. Plus, it packs health benefits like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, but be sure to use a chemical-free soil.
So next time you step out for a wheatgrass smoothie, consider that a girl’s best friend might be wanting one too 😊.
Is pet insurance worth it?
If you’re asking this question it can be good to remember that underlying GI diseases don’t always present symptoms right away. Left unchecked these can lead to more serious complications which eventually require hospitalisation. Acting upfront to cover vet visit costs can do more than save money, it can help put your mind at ease and keep your bestie safe.
Dog insurance from PD covers pooch for vet visits, prescription medicine and hospitalisation. And more. The grass can be greener on the other side!
Why dogs eat grass – over to you
Do you know of unique, interesting, or helpful reasons your pooch eats grass?
Feel free to share them. Your personal experience may just be the final clue to answer why dogs eat grass!