It is not uncommon to see dogs nibbling and eating blades of grass. But why do they do this? Don’t dogs actually belong to the carnivores and grass is not part of their diet at all? Is it probably even unhealthy?
Why Dobermanns Dogs eats grass
If the dog nibbles on blades of grass, this need not always be a cause for concern. It simply tastes good to many dogs and they like to chew on it.
The decisive factors are the amount and frequency of grass consumption. When sporadically eaten stalks turn into whole clumps of grass and the dog even regurgitates them, you should pay attention.
Eating grass is actually a natural and innate behavior in dogs to compensate for various problems. It can also be observed in wolves. Therefore, increased consumption of grass does not happen for no reason. The possible causes can be many.
Even if the dog feels thirsty and no water is available, he will gladly resort to lush grasses. Therefore, on longer excursions, there should always be sufficient breaks in which water is offered to the dog.
It is often assumed that dogs eat grass to compensate for a lack of nutrients in their diet. However, this theory has not been adequately confirmed.
In cats, it is assumed that they use grass as an additional source of the vitamin “folic acid”, which is contained in the juice. This theory could perhaps also be applied to dogs.
Eating grass allows the dog to relieve stress. Through the chewing movements, endorphins are released, just like with us humans. At the same time, the sugar compounds contained can counteract low blood sugar levels. Just as we humans sometimes need something sweet to help us concentrate.
If a dog is underchallenged and bored, it tries to occupy itself in various ways. They like to chew on something for this purpose. For this purpose, they do not always resort to a chew toy, but sometimes also use grass.
Nausea or gastrointestinal problems
A dog can also feel sick after eating something that doesn’t agree with him. To trigger the nausea, some dogs gulp down a large amount of grass.
If this behavior occurs only once, it is not always immediately assumed that there is a problem. However, if the triggering of the nausea by high grass consumption is repeated regularly, it may indicate a digestive problem and should be investigated.
As always, of course, if in doubt, always seek the advice of a veterinarian
Excessive eating of grass may also be observed after swallowing a foreign object. The swallowed blades of grass should wrap around the foreign body to make it easier to regurgitate or even to excrete rectally without injuring the intestinal wall.
The “foreign body” can also consist of swallowed hairs, which are ingested in larger quantities during grooming, especially during the change of coat.
Do not forbid the dog to eat grass
As described at the beginning, eating grass is an innate behavior to counteract problems with digestion, for example. The dog has a reason for eating grass. It should not be prevented from doing so. If the consumption becomes excessive, it is rather important to find out the cause of the problem. An examination by a veterinarian is therefore advisable.
What grass the dog can eat
Dogs usually prefer lush and sweet grasses. Should they nevertheless try to nibble on very sharp-edged stalks, you should try to prevent them from doing so in order to avoid cuts in the mouth area and on the tongue.
Also grass that grows directly on busy roads or has been sprayed with insecticides, for example, should not be eaten by the dog.
How dogs digest grass
Dogs are carnivores. Their digestive systems are not as well designed to process plant foods.
The grass that is ingested comes out almost undigested. For this reason, blades of grass can sometimes be spotted protruding from the dog’s anus. If these do not fall out on their own, a handkerchief may be used to
Even eating grass only slightly pronounced is not without risk: there are plants that are naturally toxic. And there are plants that have been sprayed with fertilizers or insecticides. There is also the risk that your dog swallows foreign bodies hidden in the grass.
Only untreated grass is healthy
If your dog also likes to eat grass, then there are some things you should pay attention to, because not all grass is the same.
Like any other plant, grass can absorb toxic or harmful substances from the environment. Therefore, never let your dog eat grass that grows along a busy road.
The same applies to meadows near which fertilizer is applied frequently. The grass absorbs the fertilizers through the roots and then releases them again. If the dog eats fertilized grass or other grasses, it inevitably absorbs smaller amounts of these substances.
Dogs occasionally eat grass for various reasons, such as improving digestion, fulfilling a dietary deficiency, or simply due to boredom. While eating grass is generally harmless, if you want to stop your dog from eating grass, try the following steps:
- Rule out medical issues: Consult your veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying health problems causing your dog to eat grass. They may recommend dietary adjustments or supplements.
- Improve their diet: Feed your dog a high-quality, balanced diet to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. A balanced diet may reduce the desire to eat grass.
- Provide mental stimulation: Boredom may cause dogs to eat grass. Keep your dog mentally stimulated by engaging them in games, puzzles, and regular training sessions.
- Regular exercise: Ensure your dog gets plenty of physical exercise. Regular walks, playtime, and socialization with other dogs can help reduce grass-eating behavior.
- Offer alternative chewing options: Provide appropriate chew toys, rawhide, or dental chews to help satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew and distract them from eating grass.
- Use positive reinforcement: When your dog starts eating grass, redirect their attention with a toy or treat. Praise them when they stop eating grass and engage in the desired behavior.
- Keep your yard clean: Regularly mow your lawn and remove any potentially toxic plants to minimize your dog’s access to grass and other unwanted items.
- Consider using deterrents: Some pet-safe deterrents can be applied to your lawn to make grass less appealing. However, use these products cautiously and only as a last resort.
Remember, consistency and patience are key when trying to change your dog’s behavior. If the grass-eating continues despite your efforts, consult your veterinarian for further guidance.
While eating grass is a common behavior in dogs and usually harmless, it could be a sign of a nutrient deficiency in some cases. Dogs might eat grass to fulfill a dietary deficiency or to improve digestion, as grass contains fiber.
If you suspect that your dog’s grass-eating behavior is due to a nutrient deficiency, consider the following steps:
- Evaluate your dog’s diet: Ensure your dog is on a high-quality, well-balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best food for your dog’s age, size, and activity level.
- Schedule a vet checkup: Have your veterinarian examine your dog to rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing the grass-eating behavior. Your vet may recommend dietary adjustments or supplements based on their findings.
- Monitor your dog’s overall health: Pay attention to any changes in your dog’s behavior, energy levels, or physical appearance, as these could be signs of a nutrient deficiency or other health problems.
- Provide appropriate supplements: If your veterinarian identifies a specific deficiency, they may recommend supplements to help balance your dog’s diet. Always consult your vet before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet.
- Consider a gradual diet change: If you think your dog’s food might not be providing adequate nutrients, talk to your vet about transitioning to a different brand or formula that better meets your dog’s needs. Make sure to introduce the new food gradually to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach.
If you are concerned about your dog’s grass-eating behavior, always consult your veterinarian for guidance. They can help determine if there is an underlying health issue or nutrient deficiency that needs to be addressed.