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Dogs love playing in the grass, running in the grass, and—eating grass! It’s not uncommon for dogs to chew on and eat objects that aren’t food. In fact, vets consider it to be a normal dog behavior. However, just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s not a cause for concern.
If a pet parent notices their dog eating grass, the first thing to do is not panic. Then, they should answer the following dog health questions:
How much grass did they eat?
Do they frequently eat grass?
Has the dog been behaving differently?
Does the dog usually eat non-food items?
Is the dog eating grass and vomiting?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help the vet determine if there’s a more severe problem.
Pica is a disorder that is characterized by eating things that aren’t food. A dog eating grass is an example of pica. A pica disorder can be a sign that there’s a more serious problem. However, a dog eating grass is not considered a dangerous form of pica.
Other possible reasons for why dogs eat grass include:
Aids with dog digestion: Grass is packed with fiber and can help aid in dog digestion.
Boredom: This is the most common reason why a puppy or young active dog eats grass.
Anxiety or stress: When dogs are stressed or anxious, they may begin chewing or eating non-food items to try and comfort themselves.
Unmet nutritional needs: Dogs need 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Not getting enough fiber in their diet can trigger the dog to eat grass.
Finally, some dogs just like to eat grass. They possibly enjoy the taste or texture of grass.
The grass itself is not harmful. Unfortunately, things in and on the grass can be harmful to a dog. Some potential hazards for dogs eating grass include:
Pesticides and herbicides: Consuming toxic chemicals can be life-threatening
Litter hidden in the grass: Objects hidden in the grass can be choking hazards or cause an intestinal obstruction.
Bees: Dogs risk getting stung in the mouth if they ingest a bee.
One dog advice tip is for pet parents to grow their own wheatgrass indoors. By supplying their dog with safe grass, the dog might avoid eating outdoor grass. Also, wheatgrass is high in fiber and can aid in dog digestion. Organic wheatgrass can be grown inside and is both healthy for the dog and aesthetically pleasing.
Any time a pet parent has dog health questions, they should contact their vet. If the dog is not behaving normally, there is reason for concern.
If it’s possible the dog ingested a foreign object while eating grass, then they should be taken to the vet immediately. If the pet parent suspects their dog was exposed to or ingested a toxin, they should contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
For questions about a dog's behavior, Fuzzy members can reach out to the Fuzzy Vet Team 24/7 to get all of their dog health questions answered.