Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Some dogs eat grass like cows. They can eat it with relish whenever they comes across it. and it seems to have no ill-effects on them whatsoever.

Unless your dog's digestion system is suffering through his grass-eating habit, it's not really a problem. Dogs have been eating grass since the dawn of time with few ill-effects, apart from the odd bout of vomiting, and actually, this is one of those things that appears to trouble owners a lot more than their dogs; most dogs, will merely re-ingest the vomit and set about their day as if nothing has happened.

Strange Theories as to Why Dogs Eat Grass

Truthfully, nobody really knows why dogs eat grass. There are an assortment of possibilities as to why animals that are widely regarded as carnivores would willingly eat moderate quantities of vegetation.

One of these theories relates to the fact that dogs are not, really, carnivores. They're omnivores, which literally means, "eat anything".

This theory contends that the modern-day dogs eat grass in a calculated attempt to supplement his diet with nutrients that are missing from his normal meals.

The main substance of this debate centers around the idea that dogs, as omnivorous animals, are consuming too much meat and need to balance this out with some greenery on the side, very much like you or I might crave a nice tart salad to go with our steak. 

If you ask me, this is nonsense. First of all, most of us feed our dogs mainly on kibble, which comprises the full spectrum of fully-absorbable nutrients that dogs need. If you're feeding your dog on meat alone, whether canned or fresh, there may be some substance to this theory, dogs require a wide range of vitamins and minerals for optimum health, most of which are not incorporated within fresh meat.

It's true that canned meat has some added nutrients, the primary problem with canned food is that it's too soft and jelly-like to sustain healthy teeth and bowels. 

Dogs fed mainly on canned food are far more prone to developing dental disease at a comparatively early age,let alone an increased incidence of constipation and flatulence, from the lack of fiber and roughage.

As far as dog food goes, unless your dog's on a particular, appointed diet, kibble should comprise the main part of his diet, you can add a few spoonfuls of canned meat for variety and enticement, if you so wish.

Another popular hypothesis of why dogs eat grass is that they do it as a sort of natural emetic, that, since a nauseous dog lacks the phalangeal structure necessary for the good old "finger down the throat" move, he'll resort to nature's bounty as an alternative.

It's true that grass does occasionally make dogs vomit, those tickly stems can irritate the stomach lining, and there have been a couple of occasions when I've seen dogs vomit up a chunk of something that's proved to be indigestible, and along with the offending article, there's also been a clump of grass in the vomit too.

Nevertheless, I have to say that this is pure speculation, and somewhat nonsensical conjecture at that. Dogs are utterly capable of vomiting all by themselves, without the aid of grass, I've watched too many dogs delighting in a post-prandial mouthful of mixed lawn greens, without any regurgitational side effects, to lend the possibility any credence.

If you're concerned that eating grass is going to harm your dog, you can lay that concern to rest right now. The one potential downside is that he'll irritate his throat or stomach lining, but this issue will only cause him strife for a second or two at most, he'll either cough the trouble away, or will toss his cookies without further ado (which rarely bothers most dogs).









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In truth, if any of your dogs eat grass, you have nothing to worry about, it's a life-long habit with numerous dogs, and if yours does determine that it's no longer in his best interests, he'll merely stop eating it all by himself.

You may want to keep an eye on him close to newly treated lawns, or anyplace where nasties like pesticides, snail bait, and rat poison could be around, as most garden chemicals are highly toxic to dogs.

Ideally, you'd be watching him anyway if he's around those substances, but grass-eaters are at higher risk than most because they're more likely to consume plant matter that herbicides and other toxic chemicals have been sprayed onto.

It's also safest if he's kept away from those clumps of dried-out grass that lie around on the lawn after it's been newly mowed. It shouldn't be a problem if the grass is cut by a push-mower, but if it's been done by a gas-operated machine, the grass will be stained with petrol fumes and grease, which at best will taste horrible and at worst can make him pretty sick.

If your dog's grass eating is genuinely troubling you, presumably this is out of concern for your lawn, instead of your dog, since there's ample evidence that dogs suffer no harmful consequences from frequent grassy snacks.

There are a couple of things you can try doing to cut down his desire to supplement his diet with eatables from the backyard but, since this is one area that nobody really knows that much about, the success rate is not guaranteed.

Try altering his diet somewhat. Unlike humans, dogs do not need a wide-ranging diet to keep them interested in food. They're creatures of routine, and diet is no exception to this rule.

All the same, since one of the theories that tries to explain why dogs eat grass revolves around a lack of nutritional variety, you can try introducing assorted tasty vegetables into his food. Nearly all dogs love tomatoes, carrots and chopped apples.

Make certain to stay well away from grapes, raisins, and onions, since these are toxic to dogs. Supervise him whenever he's around grass. This may not be a particularly user-friendly alternative, particularly for off-lead walks. You'll have to keep a close watch on your dog to make certain he's not making a dash for the greenery.

Truthfully, there's not really a lot you can do about your dog's grass-eating habit aside from refuse him access to grass completely, which wouldn't be fair to your dog and would make your every day dog-walking excursions more of an exercise in frustration than a relaxing stroll.

The general consensus from the experts appears to be that grass-eating, although somewhat of an puzzling pastime to us humans, is simply one of those things as far as your dog is concerned.

It won't do him any damage, and you can be certain that if he's eating it, he's enjoying it, so there's really not a lot to be said for depriving him of that simple delight.

Furthermore, observing your dog tearing up and chewing generous mouthfuls of turf with an expression of bliss on his face, can furnish you with some unexpected amusement when the two of you are out and about together.

For Further Reading

For more information on dog psychology and general canine behavioral traits, with a particular focus on problematic behaviors, you'll probably want to take a look at SitStayFetch. It's a complete, detailed manual for the intelligent and responsible owner, and covers everything from obedience training through to preventing and handling a huge variety of common problem behaviors. Well worth checking out.

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