Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

24 July 2018

A lot of pet owners ask us “why does my dog eat grass”? Our answer is usually for any number of reasons. You see, unlike cats, dogs are omnivores meaning they can eat both meat and vegetable matter. Some of the more common reasons for why do dogs eat grass, leaves, plants, dirt, roots and other things in your garden include:

  • To satisfy nutrient deficiencies in their diet
  • As a source of roughage or fibre
  • To stimulate vomiting
  • Boredom / Behavioural Vice

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass

Nutritional Deficiencies
If your dog is constantly fed a high meat based diet or a commercial dog food which isn’t particularly well balanced, they may have nutritional deficiencies that grass or plant matter can make up for. In the wild, dog ancestors used to eat the whole prey animal including any plant matter inside the stomach contents. If you suspect your dog or puppies may be eating grass due to a nutritional deficiency, it may be worth supplementing their diet with a multi vitamin or a product such as the popular Wild Forage supplement.

Source of Roughage or Fibre
If your dog is eating a diet low in fibre, the natural fibre in plant material may assist them in bulking up their food intake and slowing down the time of transit through the gut, helping them get more out of their food. Fibre also helps promote proper intestinal and colonic health.

Why do dogs eat grass and vomit
Dogs may also eat grass as a way of causing themselves to “puke”. This happens particularly when dogs gulp the grass down, as the whole grass blade has a “tickle factor” which can irritate the oesophagus or stomach and induce vomiting. Be aware that just because a dog vomits after eating grass does not necessarily mean they are indeed sick, but it may be worth having them checked by your veterinarian just in case.

Boredom/Behavioural Reasons
Sometimes dogs eat grass purely for boredom or behavioural reasons. They don’t have anything else to do, or see other dogs doing it, and think it’s the cool thing to do! One of my own dogs used to eat grass as he was running along in the park; he would grasp at a blade here and there on the fly. Then our younger dog, being the copycat that she is, decided she would do the same!

As you can see there are many reasons why a dog eats grass, but if they are not showing any signs of illness or being off colour, it can be perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. If in doubt, check with your local veterinarian.