It’s a Sunday afternoon and you are at the park with your dog. At first, you both are relaxing in the sun, tossing a ball around. Moments later, she looks at you, and begins to wag her tail with excitement, ready to run around and expend her hyper energy. All of the sudden, you notice that she begins to eat the grass below your feet. At first, it doesn't seem like anything too out of the ordinary, because dogs eat things they shouldn't eat all the time, right? Yet, she doesn't stop and it seems to affect her mood and yours, because grass is not something that your dog should be eating. Understanding why your dog is acting this way and eating grass during her adventures is important to maintaining their health.
The Root of the Behavior
Eating grass is not a normal activity that your dog should be participating in. Yet, sometimes, they still do it, and most owners wonder why. Your dog may be eating grass for a wide range of reasons. The first reason as to why your pet may be eating grass is because of a dietary deficiency that results in PICA, which is a behavioral disorder where your animal will put things in their mouth that is not for food. Sometimes, PICA may just be the result of boredom in your young dog or puppy. They may also be feeling nausea, and the ingestion of grass may be for the purpose of calming their stomach irritation, even if they throw up later. Another reason your dog may be eating grass is based on their ancestral past. In past times, dogs would have needed to survive and feed their pack in the wild. Grass eating could have easily changed their own scent when they are trying to survive, hunt, and feed their pack, making it easier to succeed. Sometimes, dogs will eat things if they are extremely hungry or if the nutrition in their food is not enough for their body. Grass may be a filler for that. Dogs also tend to like to eat more than they need, and if they enjoy eating, they may try to get anything in their mouth just for enjoyment. It can seem like a game or a fun thing to do if they are in the park, playing with their owner. The reason that dogs should not be eating grass, at least on a consistent basis, is due to how their bodies are made. They do not contain the enzyme that is needed to break down the fiber that they are ingesting. Due to this, grass eating has little to no nutritional value for them and should not be something they indulge in.
Encouraging the Behavior
With the dogs that we take care of, the most important thing is that their health is in good condition and they are able to be at their full capacity. If your dog is eating grass, there may be important reasons as to why they are ingesting it. If your dog seems to have PICA from boredom or a dietary deficiency, then it may be wise to watch over them and monitor their behavior. If it seems to be a common and unhealthy habit, you may want to take them to the veterinarian. Most times, your dog may be eating grass for a reason that involves their health, such as not having enough nutrition in their diet, or they feel like they may need to throw up and want to use the grass to help control their stomach irritation. If any of these things are happening to your dog, it is important to know and watch over them, and possibly make changes. Their diet may not be proper for their health or they may have issues within their digestive system or stomach that need assistance. Grass may help you determine these causes, but it should not be something that is encouraged in your dog. Once in a while, if your dog eats grass and it is because of an instinct or play, that shouldn't cause any harm. Yet, having them eat grass consistently and having it play a negative part on their health is important for monitoring.
Other Solutions and Considerations
The most important thing for your dog is to watch over them carefully and set boundaries within their environment so they don't indulge in grass. That may mean with the food they eat or helping them understand that grass should not be eaten. If you feel it has become a problem, it may be wise to check with your veterinarian for any health issues or behavioral issues. From here, changing their food or their environment, temporarily, could help you evaluate what your animal needs, or if it is just a habit they adapted in the moment. Although grass eating isn't detrimental, it may still be important to watch over and make sure your dog is in good health.
Dogs are creatures that absolutely love to play and run around, being their fun - loving selves, and we love watching them. Sometimes, they will do things that make us wonder what is going on in their heads, and it is our job, as owners, to make sure they remain safe, healthy, and happy.