The combination of his dashing good looks and sweet nature had you at hello, and you were excited to welcome your first Bichon Frise puppy into your home. He was everything that you had hoped for and more. But recently you noticed that Fido is bringing in more and more grass stains in his bright white coat. Closer examination revealed that he's been eating grass. Is this a behavior that is common to all Bichons, or is there something of greater concern at play? Why is your Bichon treating your yard like an all you can eat grass buffet?
The Root of the Behavior
The World Wars were equally taxing on the Bichon Frise, causing the breed to nearly enter extinction. But thankfully, a few of this beloved breed remained and continued to flourish in France and Belgium. It was here that the breed was recognized and given its official name the "Bichon a Poil Frise." The American Kennel club reports that this French moniker is loosely translated as the "Bichon of the curly hair." This dog was bred purely for companionship, and he excels in his role. In conformation, he is to be the perfect picture of symmetry and balance, and his temperament is marked by his amiable personality and gentle jovial spirit. While there is nothing particular to Bichon Frises that would cause them to eat grass, grass eating is a common practice amongst all dogs at some point in their lives. So, why is your Bichon Frise eating grass? The term "pica" is the designated title for dogs with a predilection for consuming things that are not your run of the mill, ordinary food source. There are many reasons why a dog might engage in pica behaviors. Breed experts state the some Bichon Frises choose to eat grass due to a deficiency in their diet; however, it is also possible that your dog is merely frustrated or bored, and eating grass is something to do to pass the time.
Encouraging the Behavior
Some dog owners claim they suspect their dog is not receiving all of the nutrients he needs from his food, so he is seeking some on his own through a plant-based source. While it is entirely possible that this is true, it is difficult to ascertain precisely what your dog is missing. However, it could be a powerful indicator that a change of diet is required. Of course, there is always the thought that maybe your dog just really likes grass! Tastes vary from individual to individual, and it just might be that grass is your dog's version of chips and dip on a hot summer day. To each his own. If your dog is bored, nuisance behaviors will sometimes surface. If Fido has access to a fully fenced in yard but with little to do to stimulate his mind, he might chew grass just because he can. It is a way to pass the time until you get home to entertain him. It is also possible that your Bichon Frise has an upset stomach, and eating grass helps to settle it. This is likely the most common reason dog owners cite behind seeing this behavior in their own dogs. The action generally appears one day and is gone the next.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Since grass eating comes naturally to our dogs, it is entirely possible that it is an inherited behavior or even one gained through observation of other canines in the wild. Dogs learn by studying the actions of other animals and mimicking them. If Momma ate grass and her babies watched her doing it, her babies may well begin eating grass as well. In this manner, it becomes a self-perpetuating habit. We cannot discount that our dogs are canine opportunists. In the wild, sourcing food was not always possible, and dogs became painfully aware of what true hunger felt like. Grass was always available in plentiful supply and afforded the dog a little something to ease a sore and rumbling belly. Other Bichon Frise owners report that their dogs sometimes eat grass to neutralize accumulated toxins in their bodies as grass is reportedly a natural detoxifying agent. Other theories include grass's ability to purify the bloodstream and to reduce potentially harmful bacteria within the body.