Why do dogs eat grass?

Pet care & safety

You’re not the first pet parent to wonder why your dog is eating grass and whether or not you should worry. Even experts are a bit divided on the reasoning behind this odd habit, but the general consensus is that it’s usually not cause for concern. Rest assured, it’s not as odd as it seems – as roughly four out of five dogs eat grass every once in a while.

Why do dogs eat grass?

Vets and dog behaviorists debate why dogs eat grass, but generally agree it’s pretty normal and safe behavior. The reasoning varies from dog to dog.  Some dogs might just be bored and want something to chew, or they like the way the grass tastes or feels, especially in early spring. Dogs are omnivores, so they might just want a little plant matter to add fiber or other missing nutrients to their diet. Some do it to get attention, while other dogs may have a condition known as pica, which is the desire to eat things that aren’t actually food. It’s possible that your dog is doing it for more than just one reason, or for no real good reason at all.

Is it okay for dogs to eat grass?

Usually, eating a little grass is fine for dogs. Even other wild species of dogs are known to eat grass. Some pet parents believe that dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up if they’re feeling unwell, but research shows that that’s a minority of cases. In fact, fewer than 10% of dogs seem sick before they eat grass, and only 1 in 4 dogs regularly vomits after eating grass. Vomiting usually happens if the grass is long or gulped down instead of chewed slowly.

However, it’s key that your dog isn’t eating grass that has been treated with any sort of pesticide or fertilizer. Also, dogs that eat grass are more likely to ingest hookworms or roundworms from the fecal residue of other dogs. Be mindful about the location of grass your dog eats and keep them away from treated grass.

Should I let my dog eat grass?

It’s usually fine to ignore your dog’s grass grazing unless they’re doing it so much that they are throwing up regularly. If that’s the case, you should consult with your vet.

How do I stop my dog from eating grass?

If you’re looking to break the habit, it’s easy enough in most cases. Firstly, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise so they’re not chewing grass out of boredom. You can try offering high fiber veggies (plain canned pumpkin or green beans) with their regular meals or grow a pet friendly herb garden (indoors or outside) to offer healthy alternatives to grass. Some dogs eat grass to get attention from their people for a negative behavior, so distract them when they start to dip their head down and use positive reinforcement to praise them when they stop before taking a bite.

If your dog is eating grass, don’t worry. It’s usually a normal part of canine behavior with very little risk involved.