Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

To some dogs, this looks delicious!
It is an age-old question of dog owners everywhere. Why does my pooch munch on my lawn? I mean, should we offer a side salad with kibble?

Of course, not all dogs eat grass, but the ones who do seem very set upon doing it! Some will chew some grass only to end up throwing it up later, but go back for more the next time. So why do they even have the urge? Well, there is no clear and undisputed science on this, but there are some interesting speculations.

Many dog owners are under the impression that their dog eats grass because he has an upset stomach. I mean, when I was growing up, I heard that as an explanation. Did you? But if this is true, why do many dogs throw up the grass afterward? Well, one thought is, "they meant to do that." Much like when you feel really sick and wish you would toss your proverbial cookies, just to get that bad feeling out of your belly. The problem with this thought is that it seems unlikely that your dog would think about eating grass as a solution to a problem, if he had no basis for his reasoning. Who taught the dog that grass makes him throw up? Is it instinctive? It seems an unlikely prospect, though not entirely impossible. Besides that, due to the fact that a large number of grass eating dogs don't throw it up, this suggestion is low on the probability scale.

The next idea is that it comes from a natural dietary instinct. Dogs, due to being descendants of wolves, are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. Any dog owner who has come home to a houseful of couch cushion filling can attest to that! When dogs were wild, they ate a variety of small prey. They were not wasteful! The wolf would eat all of the animal, including the stomach and undigested bits of greenery, therefore ingesting a balanced diet through the benefits of the food chain. Another postulated reason for wolves to have eaten grass is to help them better digest food. An increase in the fiber keeps you regular, of course. And because wild dogs don't have the benefit of veterinary medicine, they would most likely always have worms. Eating grass might help them digest and lessen the impact on their system from the intestinal parasites.

One thought is just that is just a sign of plain old boredom! Dogs may feel like it's just something to do, like digging (which also does wonders for your lawn). Maybe they ate grass before when they smelled something good in it, and now they just like the grass itself. They could also be trying to supplement their diet, finding it lacking of some of the nutrients that they instinctively crave. If your dog impersonates a cow regularly, he may be telling you to check on his kibble's nutrition content. Or you can just try keeping him busy when he's outside. Another game of fetch, perhaps?

Now, eating grass is not in and of itself harmful, but the chemicals on that grass could be harmful. Be sure to monitor your pooch to make sure he's not making himself sick, eating all that green goodness you call your lawn!

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