Our Los Angeles vets are often asked by pet parents why their dog keeps eating grass, and whether it is safe. Today, our vets share some of the reasons dogs eat grass, and when you should be concerned.

Why does my dog eat grass?

Parents who are concerned about their pets frequently find themselves scratching their heads and wondering why their dogs appear to enjoy eating grass. Many dogs, in fact, will consume grass, then throw up, and then immediately resume their habit of eating grass.

Could this be an indication that the dog feels there is something in its stomach that needs to be brought up? Has the dog eaten something poisonous? Is the dog self-treating an undiagnosed medical condition? 

Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but this is not true for all dogs. The vast majority of dogs eat grass with no signs or symptoms of stomach upset. As a result, it appears unlikely that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. So why do they do it?

Physical Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Like people, dogs need fiber to keep their digestive system running smoothly. After all, dogs are omnivores. This means that good health relies on plant foods as well as high-quality meat. Eating grass may be an easy way for your pooch to add roughage to their diet, helping to keep things flowing through their digestive tract.

However, if your dog is eating grass but also displaying signs of stomach upset, there could be a medical issue. Dogs can suffer from a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal problems, including pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease. If your dog is eating grass and exhibiting other symptoms, such as a loss of appetite, decreased energy, diarrhea, or constipation, you should take him to the vet for an examination.

Psychological Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Dogs will frequently eat grass out of boredom or anxiety, in the same way that humans will bite their nails. If your dog shows no signs of digestive problems but continues to munch on grass, consider psychological reasons for their behavior.

It is possible that your dog is simply suffering from boredom; if this is the case, increasing the length, distance, or intensity of your walks could help reduce the amount of grass that your dog consumes.

Separation anxiety could also be the reason that your dog is eating grass. Try leaving an old blanket or t-shirt with your scent on it with your dog when you leave the house. Your dog may find the familiar scent reassuring and help to curb their grass-eating habit. 

Some dogs show obsessive behaviors. If your dog is obsessively eating grass, your vet will be able to advise you on how to help your pup reduce obsessive behaviors.

Is it safe for my dog to eat grass?

If your dog is otherwise healthy and on regular parasite prevention medication, eating grass is considered to be a safe behavior and isn't a cause for emergency. To help keep your grass nibbling pooch healthy, make sure that there are no herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers on the grass your dog enjoys. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about your dog's grass-eating or other behavioral quirks? Contact our vets at Rancho Park Veterinary Clinic today to book an appointment for your pooch.