Concerned dog owners often contact our Douglasville veterinary clinic asking if it's safe for their dog to eat grass. Today, our vet explains a little about why your dog eats grass and what you can do.
Why does my dog eat grass?
Typically, dogs will eat grass to increase the amount of roughage in their diet. In fact, grass can be a healthy, natural, and readily available source of fiber for dogs.
If your dog's diet lacks roughage or fiber, his or her ability to digest food and pass stool may suffer. Your dog may be attempting to help their body function more effectively by eating grass.
That said, eating grass may not be a simple question of fiber intake, it could be an indication that your dog isn't feeling very well.
If your dog shows signs of stomach upset in addition to eating grass, it's time to call the vet. Your vet will be able to diagnose any medical issues or provide appropriate treatment for your dog.
Another common reason why dogs eat grass is boredom or anxiety. Some dogs are perfectly content to occupy themselves while outside, but others are easily bored and may amuse themselves by nibbling on grass.
Dogs who are anxious will often eat grass as a form of mindless comfort, similar to how people bite their nails. When your dog is lonely, bored, or anxious, you may notice that they eat more grass.
What You Can Do
If you think that your dog is eating grass for psychological reasons there are a number of possible solutions that you can try.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, try leaving an unwashed t-shirt or blanket with your familiar scent on it with your dog while you're away. Your pet may find solace in having your scent nearby.
Mental stimulation is the name of the game for bored dogs. Try occupying your dog with a puzzle toy to help provide extra mental stimulation.
High-energy dogs will likely benefit from longer or more frequent walks, and some strenuous play sessions.
Dogs that enjoy socializing with other dogs may need extra socializing time. Perhaps taking your dog to a doggie daycare or on visits to the local dog park will help to stop your dog from eating grass.
Is it safe for dogs to eat grass?
Eating grass is generally considered to be safe for dogs, as long as your dog is on consistent parasite prevention, isn't eating grass excessively, or showing signs of stomach upset.
If your dog enjoys eating grass, be sure that there are no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass where your dog likes to nibble.