Can Dogs Eat Grass and Is It Harmful to Them?

Can dogs eat it

Written By: Angela Jakeson

Can Dogs Eat Grass and Is It Harmful to Them?
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Many dog owners have caught their pets munching on grass, but can dogs eat grass? Technically, dogs can eat grass; however, it’s not something that should be encouraged. While grass offers a few health benefits like freshening up dogs’ breath, it also poses several health risks, such as being a hiding ground for disease-carrying parasites.

But why do dogs eat grass, and should you stop your pup from eating grass?

Is Grass Good for Dogs?

can dogs eat grass 3Grass is not as nutritious as fruits and vegetables, but it does offer good amounts of fiber. It helps in cleansing the digestive system of dogs.

The chlorophyll in the grass, which gives the plant its green color, is beneficial for their dental health. Chlorophyll keeps the breath of pooches fresh since it eliminates bacteria from the mouth and neutralizes bad odor.

Can Dogs Digest Grass?

can dogs eat grass 1Dogs are omnivorous animals; thus, they can eat and digest meat as well as plants. Grass is an odd type of plant for your pooch to snack on, and his stomach will need to break them down most of the time.

However, eating large amounts of grass can be too much for his digestive system to handle, and he might have a digestive upset.

5 Possible Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

can dogs eat grass 4Experts and pet owners have long wondered: “Why do dogs eat grass?” As of the moment, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, a few theories and speculations were made to make sense of it.

1. An Instinct Passed Down by Their Ancestors

Wild canids such as wolves and wild dogs are known to eat grass. It was found that 74% of wolf scat samples contain plant material. Perhaps their taste for grass was gradually passed on to domesticated dogs.

Another similarity between them is wild canids and dogs vomit after eating grass. In most cases, this is harmless, but sometimes it can also be a hint of a health issue. We will talk more about this in the next theory.

2. A Way to Help Settle Their Stomachs

A dog eating grass and vomiting afterward is quite a common occurrence. Many dog owners believe that their furry friends eat grass to induce vomiting.

It seems to aid in relieving their upset stomachs caused by GI problems like inflammatory bowel disease, gastritis, and enteritis.

However, some vets refute this theory. According to them, most dogs do not show signs of digestive distress before eating grass.

Thus, they believe that the main culprit of the upset stomach in dogs is the grass. But there is no conclusive scientific evidence to back up this theory.

3. Brought On by Boredom or Anxiety

The lack of physical and mental activity is thought to be the reason why some dogs eat grass. They may be feeling bored and antsy because of their pent-up energy.

Munching on grass is their way to pass the time while their human companions are busy doing something else. It also indicates they are unhappy with the lack of attention.

In relation to this idea, some vets believe that dogs eat grass to get their owners to focus on them. If told to stop, most pooches will continue anyway because they want the attention, even if it is an adverse reaction.

It is observed that dogs eat grass less when their owners spend time with them outdoors.

4. Dogs Simply Find Grass Delicious

Another popular theory is that dogs may have found the taste and texture of grass more interesting than their regular dog food. Thus, they love to get a taste of it.

Some pet owners noticed that their dogs tend to eat grass at certain times of the year or in certain locations. This distinctive preference for their pets further solidifies their speculation that dogs simply enjoy eating grass.

5. Dietary Deficiency

Dogs need fiber in their diets to keep their digestive systems healthy. However, some dogs do not get enough of this in their meals. Thus, they resort to eating grass, which is a good source of fiber.

Vets believe that grass aids in smoothing out the bodily functions of canines. Some experts also suggest that perhaps some dogs eat grass because they are nutritionally deficient.

If you think that your dog’s diet has something to do with him frequently eating grass, consult the vet. They would know if you have to make certain dietary changes.

Are There Any Dangers If Dogs Eat Grass?

can dogs eat grass 5The answer to the question, “Can dogs eat grass?” is yes. However, it does not mean that just because they can, they should. Several serious problems may occur because of what is on the grass your dog eats:

  • Chemical Poisoning

    You may wonder, “Is it bad for dogs to eat grass?” No, grass itself is not bad for dogs. However, keep in mind that grass is often treated with pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals.

    These contain dangerous compounds that can potentially poison your dog if he ingests them.

  • Picking Up Parasites and Dangerous Diseases

    Grass is a breeding ground of various disease-carrying insects such as ticks, which can cause Lyme disease, and mosquitoes, which transmit heartworms.

    Intestinal parasites such as hookworms and roundworms can be accidentally ingested by dogs when they eat grass with animal droppings residues. Slugs and snails, which are hosts of lungworms, also tend to live in the grass.

  • Potential Choking Hazards

    Some types of grass can cause pooches to choke when ingested. In some cases, they may even cause mouth injuries.

    A relevant question to this discussion is, “Can dogs eat grass seed?” No, grass seeds have pointy ends that can pierce the gums and throat of dogs.

    If your furry friend ate grass seed, he will be experiencing a lot of pain and may even need to get treated by the vet.

How to Stop Dogs from Eating Grass

can dogs eat grass 2Now that you know the dangers if you allow your dog to eat grass, you may be wondering: “How do I stop my dog from chewing on grass?” Here are a few solutions that you can try:

  • Make sure that your dog gets enough exercise and attention. Keeping his mind and body preoccupied with fun and energy-consuming activities will reduce his grass-eating dog behavior.
  • Consider changing your dog’s diet. His current dog food might not provide him with all the nutrients he needs, leading him to eat grass. Work with the vet to determine the most suitable nutritionally balanced dog food for your pooch.
  • Keep your dog away from grass during outdoor excursions. Gently pull him in the opposite direction if he starts going towards a lawn of grass. You can also use high-value treats to veer him away from the grass. Tell him to “sit” or “drop” and reward him with a treat if he carries out your command.
  • Plant a dog-safe grass in a pot for your pooch. One of the most common picks of pet owners is Agropyron repens, also known as quackgrass. This edible grass can be found in pet stores.

When Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

can dogs eat grass 2Dogs eating grass and throwing up occasionally is normal. However, if this becomes a frequent occurrence in your pooch, it is best to get him checked by the vet.

Note that ill dogs show signs of illness such as bloody stools, lack of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy.