Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

belgian malinois puppies in grass

Our dogs do a lot of weird things. Sometimes, they’re just being goofballs. And, sometimes, they’re doing something that seems weird to us, but totally makes sense from a canine perspective. One of these behaviors is eating grass. Why do dogs eat grass? It turns out there are some logical reasons behind it. Some of them are normal and others can be a cause for concern. Here are a few reasons why dogs eat grass:

1. It Could Be Instinctual

It’s a common thought that dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up. Sometimes, this is true, but it’s not what normally happens. Eating grass doesn’t usually lead to throwing up.

In fact, a University of California study showed that less than 25% of dogs that eat grass throw up afterward. So, it seems that eating grass is normal, but throwing up is not as common as we’re used to thinking.

Because grass consumption has been observed in wild dogs, there is a theory that it is an instinctual behavior. Since dogs that eat grass will sometimes throw up, it’s thought that perhaps this is a behavior that’s used to purge parasites.

But, eating grass has also shown to improve digestion in some dogs. So, when your pooch chows down on some grass, they could just be doing an instinctual behavior related to their digestion process.

2. They Could Need More Fiber

Eating grass can also be a way for your dog to try and meet some nutritional need. If your dog’s diet is lacking in some nutrients, especially fiber, they may eat grass to try and fulfill those needs. If your dog is consistently chowing down on the lawn, consult with your vet about your dog’s diet. In some cases, moving to a high-fiber diet decreased grass-eating behavior.

3. Your Dog Could Just Like It

Dogs like to chew on things and explore the world with their mouths. Although they have sight, sound, and touch senses, they tend to experience their surroundings through smell and taste. It’s entirely possible that your dog just likes the way grass tastes. They may even just enjoy the way it feels in their mouth.

Grass eating may just be normal behavior for your dog. As long as you don’t treat your grass with dangerous chemicals and your dog is not throwing up every time they eat it, it’s likely fine for your dog to eat grass. However, if they are throwing up after eating grass, continue throwing up, and experience other issues, they may be experiencing gastritis from bacteria or toxins on the grass and you will want to get to vet.

Even without concerning symptoms, if your dog is eating grass a lot, you should consult with your vet to make sure there’s nothing to worry about. And, if the behavior really bothers you, you can train them out of it and redirect the behavior as you would with any other undesirable behavior you wanted to stop or change.

4. They May Have Pica

Pica in dogs in a medical condition that results in eating non-food items. With pica, eating non-food items is a compulsive behavior and isn’t your dog just eating something weird every now and then. Pica has a variety of causes and needs treatment as it can quickly become dangerous over time and especially dangerous if your dog ingests toxic items.

Dogs with pica often eat things like rocks, hair, paper, drywall, cloth, and more, including grass. It causes a lot of digestive issues and other health issues. So, if you see your dog eating grass and also eating other non-food items, it’s worth a visit to your vet to see if pica could be the cause and to get started on treatment.

5. Your Dog Could Be Bored

If your dog is eating grass, they could be doing it because they’re bored. When dogs don’t get enough exercise, attention, and/or mental stimulation, they’ll come up with ways to entertain themselves. Sometimes, that results in destructive behaviors like digging or chewing. And sometimes, it’s something as simple as chowing down on some grass.

Think about how much exercise your dog is getting and the amount of time you’re spending with them. If it’s not enough or even just less than normal, make an effort to spend more time moving with your dog.

As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog – and often a well-behaved one too.

So, try to get them moving around. You can take a trip to the dog park, play fetch, give them a chew toy and spend time with them, teach your dog to play frisbee, and more. After all, if they’re too busy running around with you, they won’t have time to lie around and eat grass.

Dogs are hilarious goofballs that fill our lives with a lot of love and laughter. It’s a good idea to take some time to better understand why they might do certain things. Even if it’s a normal behavior, there’s always some point where normal behavior can become a cause for concern. In this case, being able to answer the question, “Why do dogs eat grass?” can help you figure out whether it’s normal or time to go to the vet.