Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?

dog eating grass

Dog owners know that their pets can have some pretty odd habits. From the evening zoomie sessions to raiding the cat box, dogs do dog things. It is only natural, though, to wonder why they do the things that they do. At East Sacramento Veterinary Center, though, one of the more common dog behavior questions we get is why a dog is eating grass. Let’s delve into grass ingestion in dogs a little bit.

Reasons Dogs Eat Grass

You have probably spent a lot of time and effort selecting just the right pet food for your beloved family member. So why is it that your dog insists on going into the backyard and gorging on the foliage instead of eating your nutritious, delicious selection.

There are two primary reasons dogs eat grass.

  • Dietary preference — It seems that some dogs may just actually like the taste of grass. Similar to you having a dinner salad, fresh greens may just fill a preference for some pets and may provide a source of fiber and nutrients.
  • Instinctive behavior — When dogs have an upset stomach, the ingestion of grass seems to stimulate the urge to vomit. Quickly mowing down a section of your lawn can induce vomiting, creating some relief for an upset belly.

There are certainly other pets who have a behavioral obsession with grass, and this often stems from boredom and/or lack of environmental enrichment. With some careful observation, it is often easy to deduce which category your pet may fall into. 

Is Grass Safe for Dogs?

It certainly is concerning to watch your pet gorge on grass, and most pet owners find themselves wondering if grass ingestion in dogs is safe. 

In short, the answer is yes, although there are a few things to consider. Be sure that the grass your pet is indulging on is free of potentially harmful chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides. Take a peek at any lawn care products that you utilize to be sure there are no concerns. 

If your dog seems to be eating grass due to stomach upset, that is also a concern. While the grass in and of itself is not an issue, a pet who is experiencing persistent gastrointestinal upset may have an underlying issue that needs to be investigated. If you feel that your pet has an upset stomach often, please make an appointment so that one of our veterinarians can help them to feel better.

Likewise, if your pet seems to be obsessed with eating non-food items (a condition called pica), you should seek veterinary intervention.

All in all, grass eating is a harmless habit but one that should be monitored closely. If your pet just prefers some extra greens, it is typically not a big deal.