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So you let your dog out in the lawn to play. But after a few minutes, you saw the pooch munching on something: grass and leaves. This might leave you puzzled, but veterinarians offer an answer and it has something to do with your pet’s health. So why do dogs eat grass and leaves? In this post, we discuss this grass-eating habit and what you can do about it.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Leaves?
There are many reasons behind a dog’s habit of eating grass. The common belief is that canines graze when they have an upset stomach. While this has some truth to it, you have to understand why your dog is doing it and if it brings harm to your pet. Below, we discussed four of the most common reasons why your pet is enjoying a bite of the outdoor grass.
-Your dog doesn’t feel well
According to pets and previous observations by experts, canines seem to be unwell before they chew grass. About 10% of dogs that ate grass were unwell before they exhibited the behavior.
Also, many believe that canines do this to induce vomiting. As a matter of fact, only 25% of all grass-chewing dogs actually throw up.
Moreover, some dogs that chew grass have been found to have problematic digestion. With that, we can posit that these doggos are ingesting grass to appease the discomfort in their tummies.
-Your dog has a poor diet
Another reason why dogs graze is that they are looking for better sources of nutrition. This can be traced back to their ancestors that fed on grass for survival.
In the wild, grass and leaves become the sustenance of dogs if meat sources aren’t available. While wild dogs are particularly carnivorous, their diet evolved to include grass to fill the gaps in their daily meals. This applies to domesticated canines as well.
In fact, an 11-year-old Miniature Poodle has a long-standing habit of chewing and vomiting grass. This habit spanned for 7 years until the owner switched the pooch to a high-fiber diet. In just a few days, the doggo stopped eating grass entirely.
-Your dog has pica
Pica is a condition on which dogs tend to chew and eat items that aren’t edible. This can be clothing, paper, cable wires, grass, and so on. It’s a fixation that can lead to intestinal problems or even poisoning if not attended to right away.
Also, some dogs with pica tend to shy away from real food. This may cause malnutrition so it has to be treated right away.
Take note that your dog is at risk of various health problems if it has pica. They can choke, experience intestinal blockage, bad breath, inability to defecate, and more.
-Your dog is bored
Lastly, there’s a chance that your dog is just bored. If you’re noticing that your pet is starting to mouth grass, increase its physical and mental exercise. Take the dog to daily walks and give it enough playtime. If the grass-chewing habit stopped, the only issue is that the dog is looking for ways to occupy its boring day.
However, if the habit persists, you should consider the possibility that your dog just wants how grass tastes and feels like. In this case, stopping the grass-eating habit might be challenging. Some pet owners with dogs that like eating grass would just grow indoor grass to ensure that it’s safe for their pets to eat.
In this video, Dr. Clayton Greenway tells us more about the reason why canines eat grass:
Safety issues about the grass-eating habit
According to veterinarians, grazing doesn’t bring any serious threats to your dog’s health. However, if the grass is treated with pesticide, your dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other adverse effects.
Since grazing is a sign of an underlying problem, it’s best to address the root cause. It’s just a bonus if the grass-chewing habit stops. However, if you find the vomit gross and a hassle with cleaning, then you can consult the vet for some tips. We also provided some options below, which you can use to deal with this habit of your dog.
When to visit the vet
If the vomiting of your dog persists after eating grass, it’s best to bring the pooch to the vet clinic. There’s a chance that the grass is treated with some form of herbicides.
Also if the grass-eating habit occurs suddenly, you can also ask the vet for some advice. However, if your pooch seems fine after vomiting, there might be no need to phone the vet.
Tips to stop the grass-eating habit
If you want to stop your dog from eating grass, you can follow these tips:
-Increase the fiber in your dog’s diet
Like the case of the Miniature Poodle we mentioned above, a high-fiber diet might fix your dog’s grass-eating habit. You can switch your pooch to a high-fiber food or just supplement its current diet with veggies like steamed broccoli, raw carrots, and leafy greens. These veggies are rich in fiber but will not affect the calorie intake of your pet.
While there’s only a small chance that low fiber intake is the cause of the grass-eating habit, there’s nothing to lose here. A high-fiber diet is good for dogs with loose stool and those who always get upset stomachs.
-Keep your dog busy
If your dog is often left at home alone, it’s probably time to give it more exercise. Since there’s a possibility that your dog is bored, keeping them occupied is a great way to beat their grass-eating habit.
Aside from physical exercise, you should also give your dog enough mental stimulation. This is most important for athletic and working dogs like Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and more.
Also, it will help to keep your dog off the grass. This way, they won’t have the chance to chew and vomit gross stuff.
-Give your dog chew treats
For dogs that are driven by their chewing habits, you can substitute grass with chew treats. One of the great choices is the Best Bully Sticks. This is made of 100% natural beef that will promote dental health and will keep your dog busy.
The good thing about this Bully Stick is that it’s 100% digestible so you won’t worry about any intestinal problem on your dog. It doesn’t splinter so your dog is guaranteed safe with this treat.
-Train your dog
Another solution to the grass-feeding habit of your pooch is training. This will help them fight off the urge to chew grass. You can use positive reinforcement to discourage your dog from resorting to chewing inedible stuff.
You can train your dog to respond to commands such as “Leave it!”, “Stop!”, and “Come!”. When your dog tries to chew grass, you can call it back inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When should you be concerned about a dog throwing up?
A: If the vomiting happens only once, it shouldn’t be a cause of concern. However, if it persists during the day, you have to bring your dog to the vet clinic. That is regardless if your pooch has been eating grass or not.
Q: Should you let your dog eat grass to throw up?
A: As much as possible, you should avoid pushing your dog to eat grass. As much as it may soothe their stomach, they may develop this habit over time. When that happens, you’d face the challenge of weaning them off it.
Q: Why does my dog vomit green stuff after eating grass?
A: Your pooch may be just releasing the grass that it just ate or it’s mixed with bile. Bile is the fluid stored on the gallbladder, which can leak into the dog’s stomach. This is the reason why some dogs may throw up with a green or yellowish color.
Q: Can my dog get worms from eating grass?
A: If the grass or soil has been infected with worms, then yes, your pooch can contract worms by eating grass. One of the common examples here is worm-infected fleas. If your dog ingests the infected flea, the worm will thrive on their gut.
Q: Why is my dog eating grass after eating a full meal?
A: Again, it can be due to a lot of things. It’s possible that your dog has an upset stomach and is seeking ways to ease it. However, it may just be a case of boredom or instinctive grazing. Take note that eating grass doesn’t mean that your dog is hungry.
Why do dogs eat grass and leaves? Above, we discussed the common causes of this habit as well as some tips that will help you fight the behavior. Although eating grass doesn’t pose any harm to your pooch, you should still try to suppress such a habit since it still brings a level of risk.
Is your dog eating grass? What are you doing about it? Share your experience with us in the comment section!