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Lifestyle & Human Interest

My Dog Keeps Eating Grass, Should I Be Worried?

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Dogs delight their owners in all sorts of ways, including their occasionally quirky behavior. Who hasn’t found a smile creasing his mouth at pooches barking in their sleep or chasing their tails?

Sometimes, though, canine quirks can concern owners. And nowhere is this more common than when Fifi or Fido starts chowing down on grass.

On its face, eating grass doesn’t seem to make sense. Dogs are carnivores after all, meat-eating mutts — right?

Well, not quite. According to Vetstreet.com, professionals have fierce debates as to whether or not dogs are carnivores or omnivores (i.e., eaters of both plants and meat).

Though their lupine backgrounds have given dogs sharp, flesh-rending teeth and eating behavior similar to wolves, they’ve also adapted over the years to eating plant-based matter. There’s also the fact that large numbers of dog owners have watched their pets repeatedly nom on grass.

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Why? PetMD stated that throughout their history, dogs have been “opportunistic scavengers” and “have devoured anything and everything, as long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirements.” What’s more, “wild canines are known to eat fruits, berries, and other vegetable matter, too.”

If that were all there was to the issue, most dog owners wouldn’t be concerned. But there’s something else to consider: the vomiting.

Some canines don’t simply nosh on grass. They actually bring it back up again, too, and that can be concerning.

Experts are a little less confident when it comes to sussing out the reasons for this behavior. One idea is that dogs will turn to grass to help aid digestion and soothe an upset stomach.

However, watch out if your pooch starts repeatedly snarfing down huge mouthfuls of grass and then throwing it up. This can indicate that your pet has become sick, and you should visit the vet.

Some kinds of greens can be more irritating than others, and may cause a stomach upset — but on the whole, grass isn’t usually bad for dogs to eat, the behavior just leaves owners scratching their heads.

According to Canine Journal, there are other reasons why dogs may eat grass. Although not usually the case, some turn to the familiar activity to comfort themselves during times of anxiety.

A pooch may also eat grass for a far simpler reason: boredom. Have you been unable to spend adequate time with Bowser?

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Does your dog know that you perk up whenever it starts biting at the yard? Like humans, canines will engage in behavior that gets them attention.



Some think dogs graze because they might be lacking something — like fiber — in their diets. If they’re not getting enough in their daily kibble ration, they may turn to the yard and attempt to fix the problem themselves.

Finally, a dog may eat grass because it, well, just likes grass! It can really be as simple as that.

Experts agree that grass-eating behavior really shouldn’t concern you most of the time. However, there is one situation where you should never, ever let your dog eat grass: after pesticide application.

“Not only can dogs ingest these chemicals through eating the grass, but they can also lick them off the pads of their feet after walking on contaminated grass,” Canine Journal stated. “Pesticides and herbicides are noted for being one of the leading causes of pet poisoning that lands pets in the veterinarian’s office.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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