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Why does my dog eat grass and should I stop it?

jack russell terrier eating grass outside

Your dog may have a tendency to eat grass now and then. Does that mean that they'll be swearing off kibble? We can assure you that will never happen.

But, why do dogs eat grass and should you stop them? Let's dive in!

What is the main reason why my dog eats grass?

Veterinarians have yet to agree on a single cause for your dog to begin nibbling on your grass, but do have a number of ideas.

One of the most common theories is that your pup may begin eating grass when they don't feel well or to cause them to throw up. While many veterinarians and pet owners believe that this is a likely reason for their dogs to eat grass, other experts dismiss this claim by arguing that there has been no scientific evidence to support dogs being able to self-medicate. Often, they cite figures from existing studies that indicate that less than 25% of dogs observed eating grass will vomit afterwards. In fact, less than 10% of pet owners surveyed claim to have noticed any signs that their dog was feeling unwell prior to eating grass.

Another theory that is quickly gaining support among veterinarians is that your dog may be turning to grass to address some unmet nutritional need. Veterinarians who share this opinion often cite examples of dogs that were eating grass and stopped after changes were made to their diet. One such example involved a miniature poodle that ate grass and vomited every day for 7 years. Once the dog was placed on a high-fiber diet, they stopped eating grass completely.

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?

If you notice that your dog has begun eating grass, it's more important to try to determine why they are doing it. Are they not feeling well? Is their dog food not meeting their nutritional needs? Are they bored? Once you've determined why your dog took to nibbling on your lawn, you should be able to address the problem so that they don't feel a need to do so any longer. Don't hesitate to speak to your vet and discuss your dog's dietary needs and behavioral changes that you may notice.

If your dog isn't feeling well from eating grass

Pay close attention to their symptoms. Is their stomach just a bit upset, or are they showing signs of more severe gastrointestinal distress? If they are showing signs of depression, lethargy, loss of coordination, or anxiety, it's always best to consult a veterinarian. If however, their stomach just appears to be a bit upset, you could allow them to eat the grass or give them some water to see if that helps settle things.

Is your dog eating grass because of a nutritional issue?

You may want to try switching your dog to another dog food, perhaps one that is high in fiber to see if that helps. You may find that your dog forgets all about grass entirely. As always, sudden changes in your dog's diet can result in short term digestive upset and diarrhea. So, it's recommended to slowly transition them to a new dog food.

Is your dog eating grass out of boredom?

Try giving them something else to do. You could try playing ball, giving them a new chew toy, or taking them on a walk.

Can my dog be harmed by fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides?

One final thing to consider, when it comes to your dog eating grass, is what products you may be using on your lawn. Many fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides can be extremely dangerous if they're ingested by your dog, even in small amounts. As a result, you should under no circumstances allow your dog to eat grass that has previously been treated by any chemical. If you feel that your dog has eaten grass that has been treated by a fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide, take them to your veterinarian or local animal hospital immediately.

We hope you found this information helpful, but most of all we hope your pooch is feeling better. Please consult your local Veterinarian for solutions specific to your dog.

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