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Why do dogs eat grass?

Updated on April 20, 2012

Do you ever look outside, only to find your canine companion happily grazing on your lawn? Is your pooch famous for his or her cow impersonations? Why do some dogs eat grass anyways?

No one really seems to know for sure why dogs eat grass, and the pups aren't talking! But experts do have some theories about why your pooch sometimes decides to treat your lawn like it's an all you can eat buffet.

  • Tummy troubles: Some people feel that dogs eat grass when they are experiencing GI upset, or want to make themselves throw up. It's true that eating grass does sometimes seem to cause dogs to vomit. However, a study done by the University of California-Davis showed that out of 1,600 dog owners, 68% of dogs consumed grass regularly. However, only a reported 8% of dogs showed signs of feeling ill before snacking on their owner's lawns, and less than 25% of dogs regularly vomit after consuming grass. This evidence seems to suggest that stomach upset may not be the main reason why our dogs eat grass.
  • Bugged by bugs: Another theory is that eating grass may help our dogs to rid themselves of intestinal parasites. Grass and other plant matter contains a lot of fiber, and may help to effectively push parasites quite literally out of a dog's system.
  • And speaking of fiber: Some people feel that dogs may eat grass to up their intake of fiber, or that their diet is lacking in some other nutrient that they are trying to obtain by eating plants. The fiber theory seems to be backed by some evidence, as it's been reported that some dogs who regularly consume grass stop doing so when fed a higher fiber diet.
  • Boredom: Just like some humans like to eat when they're bored, the same might be true of some dogs. But without access to the cabinets and refrigerator, your lawn may be the next best place to find a snack.
  • Grass is good: This is the reason that most vets feel is the most likely reason why a canine would consume grass; it just tastes good! Some dogs, plain and simple, may just like to eat grass. This theory doesn't seem that inconceivable, especially when you consider that many dogs also enjoy eating other types of plant matter such as fruits and vegetables.

Whatever their reason for doing so, it's usually perfectly fine to allow your dog to eat grass. Just make sure that the grass your dog is consuming is not treated with herbicides, pesticides, or any other type of chemical as these can be toxic. Also, make sure that what your dog is eating is actually grass and that he/she is not consuming any other types of plants. Grass is safe for dogs to eat, but some other types of plants can be dangerous. If you feel that your dog eating grass may be a sign of ill health or poor diet, consider consulting with your vet or a canine nationalist, or changing your dogs diet. If you think your dog may be eating grass due to boredom, consider spending more time exercising, playing with, or training your dog. Keeping your dogs mind and body active can help to elevate boredom and creates a happy, well rounded pet.


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