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Why do dogs eat grass?

Distraught pet parents often contact our Orange County animal emergency clinic concerned about the potential health effects of their dog eating grass. Wondering if eating grass is dangerous for your dog's health? Find out below.

Dogs & Grass Eating

Grass eating is a common behavior in dogs that leaves many pet parents baffled and concerned. If your dog loves to chomp on mouthfuls of grass here are a couple of possible reasons why:

Physical Reasons

It is believed that the primary reason that dogs eat grass is that they need more roughage in their diets — just like humans. Grass is a good and readily accessible source of fiber.

As with humans, a diet lacking in roughage can result in your dog's ability to effectively digest food becoming hindered, which may make it more difficult to pass stool. Eating grass may be an effort to help their bodies function more smoothly.

That said, if your dog is showing signs of an upset stomach after eating grass, something more serious may be going on. Contact your vet to book an examination for your dog so they can test for any medical issues, or diagnose them and provide treatment. 

Psychological Reasons

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.

In much the same way as people who bite their nails, dogs who are feeling anxious will often eat grass as a sort of mindless comfort. You may notice that your dog eats more grass when they're feeling lonely, bored, or anxious.

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. 

For dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, try leaving an old t-shirt (unwashed) or blanket with your familiar scent on it, with your dog while you're away from home. Your pet may find comfort in having your scent close by.

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.

Safety Concerns of Dogs Eating Grass

Unless your dog is eating grass in excessive amounts or is showing signs of stomach upset, and as long as they are given parasite prevention medication consistently, eating grass is perfectly safe, and nothing you need to worry about.

A note of caution: 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.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

At VMSG-OC our emergency vets are available 24/7 to provide your dog with urgent care whenever you are concerned about your pup's health. Contact our Orange County vets right away if you're concerned about any symptoms your dog is displaying.

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Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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