It’s a question I’ve heard more times than I can remember, and yes, as a dog owner, I too have seen my own dogs (and cats) go outside for a munch of the green stuff, chow down, and often times throw it right back out.
Dogs too often will seek out a natural remedy for their GI ailments, be it if their tummy is upset or if they are feeling a bit bloated and gassy. Typically they will nibble just a bit, but some dogs will graze more.
So why do dogs eat grass and then throw it up?
When they eat the blades of grass, it is believed the tiny “hairs” on the blade tickle the esophagus and stomach as they go do. This then often causes the dog to vomit, which may be just what the doctor ordered if something they ate is upsetting their tummy.
Many household and landscaping plants are poisonous to dogs, and dogs are no better botanists than their people, so make sure they don’t have access to the dangerous herbage.
Typically, dogs will chew and graze more when they are feeling well. The more they chew the grass, the more the blade becomes saturated with saliva, and in becoming so, it is less “tickly” as they swallow. These dogs may just be craving some roughage in their diet, or may find the texture appealing.
Alternatively, the quicker they gulp it down, the more likely they are to throw it right back up.
So, why do dogs find grass appealing?
Dogs, unlike cats, are not carnivores. Their ancestors would often eat their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of grass and vegetable eating prey. Dogs in the wild have also been known to eat vegetables and berries. Dogs have nutritional requirements that are not met by just meat.
When you let your dog loose in the back yard, it makes sense for him or her to eat whatever is accessible, and that is usually grass. Most dogs aren’t the pickiest of eaters, and today just as history shows us, dogs devour anything and everything to meet their dietary requirements. Ever given your leftovers that you were bored with to your dog? Chances are, unless you are the proud pet parent of a tea-cup chihuahua, Fido was happy to clean your Tupperware.
The consensus on safety
Whatever the reason for chowing down on some green may be, there really is no danger in letting your dog eat grass. You can even grow them some safe grass free of chemicals indoors to munch on:
But not much in veterinary medicine is without a catch…
- There is no danger as long as your grass hasn’t been treated with chemicals.
- Many parasites have eggs in the yard, so eating grass is a common way for your dog to contract intestinal parasites. If your dog is kept on heartworm meds year round, this shouldn’t be a problem, as heartworm meds protect against the most common intestinal parasites.
Also, if your dog was never prone to eating grass, suddenly becomes starts eating lots of it and vomiting, it may be a sign of a serious illness they are trying to self-treat. In this case you should ask a vet.
If your dog is a frequent grass consumer, it could be a sign they are missing some fresh produce in their diet. While raw veggies are great, a number of dogs won’t eat them. Cooking vegetables and adding them to their diet may decrease the amount of time they spend grazing the green.
So let’s take a poll and find out how common this is among dogs. Does your dog eat grass from time to time?