Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

It’s not unusual to witness your dog licking a bite of grass after a every day walk or stroll in the park. Do you ever wonder what makes dogs do this?

A lot of people believe that when dogs eat grass they’re trying to throw up. They believe that it’s an instinctual behaviour that dogs engage to eliminate food that they shouldn’t have consumed. Some believe it’s a sign that their pet has an intestinal or stomach issue.

Some pet owners believe that grass is a source of an essential nutrients that dogs instinctively recognize they require.

There is a belief that grass provides a lot of fiber which helps in moving food through the dog’s digestive tract. They suggest that grass could act as a laxative to aid in the removal of stool for dogs who are constipated.

Motives Dogs Eat Grass

There are many theories and theories, however there’s been very little research into the reasons why dogs consume grass. The truth is, nobody knows for certain. But, scientists have come up with several theories and debunked some myths with the help of the data we are able to conduct.

Instinctive Behaviour

Certain scientists believe that eating grass could be an instinctual behaviour for animals that have evolved out of their ancestral wolves. Based on research, we know about the wolf that around about 2-10 percent in their stomachs could include plant matter. The wild canids (from are part of the Canidae family that comprises wolves, jackals coyotes, and foxes) also have been found to consume grass.

Incorporating a missing nutrient

In one specific case report one 11-year-old Poodle had a history of 7 years of eating grass and plants and vomiting following. The issue was resolved when the dog was fed an a diet that was high in fiber and commercially available. (Kang and co. 2007) This proved that this particular dog, he was attempting to make up for his nutritional deficiencies by eating plants and grass. When he had enough fiber in his diet the grass-eating behaviour was cured.

Can dogs digest grass? They are carnivores by nature which means they eat meat. Recent studies have revealed that dogs have developed the capacity to digest certain carbohydrates as a result of co-evolving with humans. Carbohydrates comprise sugar as well as starches and fibers, which are mostly found in fruits, grains vegetables, dairy products. If dogs can digest carbohydrates, does that suggest that they can digest grass? It’s not true it’s not true. It is mainly passed through the dog’s digestive tract without being digested.

Normal Dog Behavior

In a different study (Bjone and co. 2007) researchers discovered that the amount of grass eaten was affected by the amount of food your dog is eating as well as the time of day. The grass eaters were less after the dog had eaten food, and more eating grass prior to. The eating of grass was also at a lower frequency later during the daytime. Researchers believed that eating grass was normal behavior for dogs and not indicative of an underlying disease.

Away from an upset stomach

McKenzie et al. (2010) designed a study in which one group of dogs were fed a diet containing fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). The second set of animals were given a normal diet. FOS comes from sugarbeets, and is absorbed by the small intestines, and then in the large intestinal tract which is where it begins to ferment.

The large quantities of FOS can result in loose, watery stool. The dogs that were fed regular diets had more frequent episodes of grass-eating than those fed FOS and had diarrhea. (McKenzie and colleagues. 2010,) This means that dogs suffering from stomach upset had a lower chance to consume grass.

In this study diarrhea started in the large intestines. Therefore, this study doesn’t provide us with any information on the eating habits of dogs who suffer from gastrointestinal issues in their stomachs or the small intestines.

Curiosity

Dogs, particularly young dogs tend to play through their mouths. The idea of eating grass could be something they attempt similar to how kids eat dirt. Certain dogs might learn to appreciate grass’s flavor.

Attention from Pet Parents

Some dogs might have learned that if they consume grass, their parents pay more attention to them. You can speak to your dog more or provide treats to convince them to not eat grass and instead eat treats instead. Sometimes, pet owners remove their dogs from grassy areas. This can cause dogs to eat grass the moment they spot it since it’s not allowed.

Can Grass Cause a Dog to vomit?

Bjone et al. (2007) also documented episodes of vomiting during their research. Five episodes of vomiting from 709 grass-eating incidents. The study concluded that dogs don’t eat grass to cause them to vomit.

In a study by Sueda et al. (2008) from 1,571 respondents to the survey 9 percent of dogs reported to be sick by their owners prior to eating grass. Only 22% of owners said that their dogs often vomited when they ate grass (Sueda and co. 2008).

The study also revealed that dogs who were younger consumed more grass than older dogs. McKenzie et al. (2010) only experienced two vomiting episodes in 374 grass-eating episodes. These studies show that dogs don’t consume grass to cause vomiting.

Do You Really Want Your Dog to Have a meal of grass? Do you think eating grass is safe for dogs?

There are a variety of safety concerns for dogs who consume grass. These are the most frequent.

Pesticides

Pet owners need to make certain that the grass that their pet eats isn’t contaminated with pesticides, which could harm dogs.

If you suspect that your pet has eaten grass that has been treated with pesticides, take your pet to your veterinarian immediately to receive treatment.

Dogs who have eaten grass treated with pesticides could exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Extreme salivation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite

Fecal Material

Grass is often contaminated with droppings from other dogs or animals. Ingestion of grass contaminated by the feces of other animals can cause vomiting in your dog.

Some intestinal illnesses such as parvovirus is transmitted through the oral route of feces. Parvovirus is a serious intestinal disease in dogs who aren’t vaccinated as well as puppies. Certain dogs may die due to this illness.

Fecal matter from other animals and dogs could also contain eggs or larvae of intestinal parasites. Dogs suffering from digestive parasites can gain weight and experience diarrhea. The puppies are at a higher risk of being afflicted with anemia and even death when the burden of worms is significant. Dogs of adulthood are more likely suffer from intestinal parasites if they’ve got an immune system that is strong and healthy.

Every dog who eats grass must be taking an annual dewormer, usually included in your pet’s month-long heartworm preventative. They should also undergo regular fecal tests to identify intestinal parasites. There are specific intestinal parasites that require to be treated using different medicines.

How can you stop an Animal from eating grass?

Here are some helpful tips to dissuade your pet from eating grass

  • Avoid areas that are grassy.
  • Schedule your excursions for the moment after eating, when the dog’s stomach has been full.
  • Give your dog access to grass in the afternoon.
  • Use positive reinforcement and reinforce alternate behaviors. When your dog is trying to eat grass, stop the behavior (through diverting the attention, not scolding) and request your dog to do another action instead. This could include touching your hands for a reward or playing with their ball.
  • Feed your dog grass you’ve grown yourself due to the fact that some scientists believe this is common dog behavior. In this way, you don’t be concerned about your dog inhaling poisons or eggs or larvae of intestinal parasites.

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