Your beloved companion and best friend is clearly a canine and not a bovine, but how come they turn to eating grass once in a while? Seeing him eat grass makes you confused and worried at the same time. What is going on here? Is he hungry? But you give him all his meals on time. Is he bored? Does he have nothing better to do? What can result from eating grass? Rest assured that you are not the only human experiencing this and worrying about such a case. Greyhounds eating grass and dogs, in general, is actually very common. However, it is still important to know why.
The Root of the Behavior
One of the most common theories as to why dogs start eating grass is that they are nauseated. However, a study conducted recently found that only 8% of dogs that start eating plants exhibited any sign of illness prior to their grass eating adventure and only 22% of those who ate grass vomited because of doing so. This was a study comprised more than 1500 dogs. However, another stomach condition such as indigestion is one of the most common reasons why your Greyhound may be resorting to eating grass. Grass, for dogs, is a form of self-medication. Stomach distress can be a sign of something more serious such as inflammatory bowel disease or gastric reflux. So, if your Greyhound suddenly turns to grass for relief, extending his neck, and making swallowing motions, it may be worth calling your veterinarian. Another possible reason for this propensity to grass is that dogs inherit it from their ancestors. It is theorized that in the wild, their ancestors have ingested prey which had plant matter in its bowels and this drove all dogs to seek greener pastures, pun intended.
Dogs have evolved to become omnivores, however, it is not an assurance that they won’t seek plant matter in the future. Your dog may just be bored and that is why he has turned to eating grass to entertain himself. Dogs frequently chew things when they are bored and need something to do. Another theory is his diet could be missing something such as a key nutrient. However, a study already found that this is not true. There is no single indication that dogs that have less fiber in their diet tended to consume grass. Experts do point out that younger dogs tend to eat grass more compared to older canines. Do dogs go for a certain kind of grass? Well, you should look to the grass itself. Experts say that grass treated with fertilizers and herbicides can likely cause indigestion in dogs.
Encouraging the Behavior
Although dogs eating grass is something that is very common, this does not mean that you should just stand idly by and watch. It is definitely something which must be discouraged if they are doing it often or if your grass is treated with chemicals. So, how do you stop your dog from eating grass? Change your dog’s diet. Although it has not been proven yet that dogs consume grass due to nutritional deficiency, it is better to be on the safe side. Give your dog a different type of premium food for a week and this may help alleviate its desire to consume grass. Make it a point to purchase dog food that is high in fiber so that your Greyhound gets all the necessary nutrients and vitamins.
Look for rice, soybean hulls, bran, pectin and beet pulp. Gradually change your dog’s new food and do not make abrupt changes. Steamed veggie is another solution because it will increaser your dog’s fiber intake. Some of the veggies you can consider steaming are green beans, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, broccoli and spinach. Take a look at the situations where grass eating happens. Generally, grass eating is safe but there are certain areas where grass is treated with chemicals or pesticides. Your dog can ingest these chemicals which may cause poisoning.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Always keep a watchful eye on grass eating Greyhounds. Keep in mind that many times grass almost always contains fecal material with parasites such as hookworm. Most of these parasites can remain alive even in the smallest amount of residue. When contaminated grass is eaten, the parasite will take up residence in your dog’s stomach and start consuming his intestinal tract, causing infections and various other medical problems. Nowadays, most parks and areas which use chemicals on their grass will put up warning signs to keep off the grass so when you see them, heed their warning. Keep your dog safe by staying away.
Some dog owners discourage their dogs from consuming grass by shortening their walks and sometimes stopping them altogether. However, this is not a good idea. Just keep your dog from eating grass that may be contaminated or treated. Some have turned to cultivating their very own pet grass, something they are sure does not contain chemicals. If your dog starts to exhibit other symptoms aside from vomiting, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away. Always keep your dog’s safety in mind.
Written by a Chow Chow lover Jhoana Carla de Toro
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 04/16/2018, edited: 01/30/2020