Dogs are classified as omnivores which makes meat, fruits and vegetables a normal part of their diet. However, you might still wonder, “Why do dogs eat grass?” Grass doesn’t look very enticing. So, why do you think that your beloved dog would want to nibble and ingest grass? On the other hand, you might be worried about what causes this behavior. You might even think of rushing your dog to the veterinarian after grass ingestion.
For cats, it is normal to observe them nibbling or eating grass. However, we seem more concerned when dogs engage in this behavior since grasses seldom look tasty for dogs and we know that dogs want to chew on other things. In this article, we’ll help you understand your dogs’ behavior when they eat grass.
Why Do Dogs Eat Things Which Aren’t Food?
Dogs may eat things which aren’t food. Furthermore, the technical term for this behavior is pica. When dogs eat non-food items, pica occurs. However, pica might also be caused by nutrient deficiency as a result of poor diet. But, eating grass is common behavior in domesticated dogs and their wolf ancestors which is not considered as a form of pica. In fact, ingesting grass might be part of a healthy diet in canines.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
Dogs eat grass because they like the taste of it. In addition, dogs are enticed by both scent and taste of potential food items. Moreover, dogs have taste buds which enable them to choose the taste and texture of food that they like. Dogs might eat a mouthful of grass or just a few strands. It all depends on how much they like the taste. Just like humans, dogs have different preferences for food, too.
Dogs are omnivores and grasses may be part of their diets. Moreover, grasses may offer some benefits to the digestive system of dogs. Grasses may help relieve stomach upset in dogs by stimulating the throat and stomach lining which may induce vomiting, depending on whether or not the dog chewed up the grass prior to ingestion. However, if you suspect that your dog is not feeling well veterinary care is still essential.
In another theory, dogs might eat grass to induce vomiting or to relieve themselves from bloat. Moreover, this grass-eating behavior might be taught by the mother dog to her puppies as she teaches them essential skills. Dogs might even be able to identify the right type of grass to relieve them from stomach issues that they are experiencing. Scientists believe that this skill is passed down from the mother dog to her puppies.
Grass might be beneficial for the health of dogs on commercial diets, since grasses contain other nutrients which are not in commercial dog foods, even breed specific ones. These nutrients are primarily fiber, minerals and enzymes which help with digestion. However, nutrient deficiency or not enough food may cause dogs to crave for grass. On the other hand, some human food might cause gastric distress in dogs. This may also cause dogs to eat grass to help relieve stomach issues.
What Do Dogs Get From Eating Grass?
Just like other edible plants, grasses also contain nutrients. However, different types of grass have very different nutritional values. In addition, your dog may only absorb these nutrients if it is able to ingest grass without regurgitating afterwards. These are the nutrients which are often found in grasses that your dog might be eating:
- Vitamin B5
- Amino acids
Is Grass Beneficial for a Dog’s Health?
Grass is generally safe for dogs. In addition, grass may help relieve stomach upset in dogs. Grasses can be beneficial for your dog’s health since most grasses are able to provide some essential nutrients for dogs. On the other hand, if your dog ingested grass to induce vomiting, it may help your dog to get rid of what is irritating its digestive tract.
Grass is beneficial for your dog’s health as long as it is eaten by your dog in moderation. Moreover, grass really makes a small part of the normal diet of wolves and modern-day dogs. It might be beneficial for dogs to eat grass and throw up occasionally. However, vomiting from grass ingestion is not supposed to cause dehydration in dogs.
Eating grass is normal for dogs. If you see your dog eating grass the next time, you don’t really have to stop this seemingly odd behavior. But, you should always make sure that grass is the only plant that your dog is eating since some plants are known to be toxic to dogs.
Can Grasses Make Dogs Ill?
Sometimes grasses are intentionally ingested by dogs to help cure stomach problems. However, in the process, it might cause vomiting in dogs. Vomiting might not really be much of a concern if it doesn’t happen very often. In addition, your dog might really want to throw up in an attempt to remove something which is irritating its digestive tract. Generally, grasses are safe for dogs as long as they only ingest it in moderation with minimal or no vomiting afterwards.
Most dogs prefer to eat certain types of grasses which may or may not make them sick. It all depends on what your dog is feeling prior to the ingestion of grass. On the other hand, too much ingestion of grass and induced vomiting of your dog might lead to dehydration if it happens too frequently. Moreover, if your dog is left outside unsupervised, it might be eating more than just grasses. There are plants which are highly toxic to dogs which can really make your dog ill and need veterinary attention.
Why do dogs eat grass? Well, the ancestors of dogs, the wolves also ate grass when they were in the wild. In spite of domestication, dogs maintained their taste for grass which is probably due to instinctive behavior. In addition, dogs also eat grass in an attempt to cure themselves from stomach upset. Moreover, dogs eat grass as part of their diet to obtain nutrients that most grasses provide.