So ya wanna be a cowdog?
Let’s clear up some myths about why dogs eat grass.
First of all, dogs do things that don’t make sense to you humans. One of those things is eating grass, and it’s pretty common with canines. You can take a lot of guesses as to why, but I won’t tell you the exact reason, so here are some hints.
1. TO CAUSE VOMITING?
The most common myth is that dogs eat grass to vomit. However, research has shown that most dogs who eat grass simply do not vomit afterward. Some dogs will vomit if they eat a large amount of grass too quickly. The majority of dogs show no signs of being sick or having an upset stomach before or after eating grass.
2. A NUTRITIONAL PROBLEM?
Another belief is that dogs eat grass because they have some kind of a nutritional deficiency. Most commercial dog food is nutritionally balanced. Dogs cannot digest grass, so it is basically extra fiber a dog will defecate out. Dogs fed low-quality food or on a low-fiber diet may be eating grass for the extra fiber.
3. A BEHAVIORAL PROBLEM?
For a very few dogs, eating grass may be a part of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If a dog shows signs of being obsessed with eating grass then it is possibly an OCD-related problem.
4. GOOD TASTE?
Maybe dogs eat grass just because they like the taste, and simply enjoy a little grass, despite the lack of any nutritional benefit.
In general, a small amount of grass is safe for a dog to eat. Make sure your pet avoids grass treated with any pesticides or fertilizers, or feces from another dog, cat or wildlife that might also be ingested with the grass. Another concern is toxic lawn plants being ingested along with the grass. All of these items could be toxic or cause serious problems, especially with smaller dogs.
Your veterinarian can help determine what is causing your dog to eat grass, and then tailor the treatment based on the cause. They might recommend a good-quality, high-fiber diet. If boredom may be part of the problem, it’s time for more social activities: playtime and chew toys, tennis balls and Frisbees, soccer balls and volleyballs. Your dog will also benefit from more exercise and time with family and friends.
Eating a small amount of “clean” grass is not likely to harm your dog. However, a serious problem may be involved if your dog is vomiting frequently, having diarrhea and/or losing weight. In which case, contact your vet to determine what is actually causing your dog’s illness.