Health & Wellness
There's no need to look at your dog sideways if they start grazing on a bit of grass — it's actually a normal and generally safe tendency for pups.
"The benefits of grass eating are unclear, but it is considered a normal behavior in most cases," Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo's on-staff veterinarian, explains.
Let us repeat: Small amounts of grass is generally OK — but you’ll want to know when to draw the line and what to do if it becomes a health hazard. Read along for everything you need to know about grass-eating behavior in dogs.
“No one truly knows the answer to why dogs eat grass,” Dr. McCullough says. “It’s most likely because dogs are omnivores, and they like the taste.”
However, according to Dr. McCullough, there are some common theories as to why dogs may eat grass. It could be because they’re feeling stressed or anxious or due to an underlying gastrointestinal disorder, low red blood cell count or a behavioral issue, like pica (which is when a dog ingests non-food items).
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Small amounts of grass (that aren't covered in dangerous pesticides) likely won't impact your pup's health. But, large amounts of grass can obstruct their gastrointestinal tract, Dr. McCullough says.
“There's no specified amount of grass a dog can eat. The amount that's considered normal is based on the breed and size of the dog,” she adds. “Pet parents should use their best judgment and contact their veterinarian if they are concerned.”
To curb your dog's grass-eating habit, start by reaching out to your veterinarian to ensure their diet meets all of their needs and to check that your dog isn't struggling with intestinal parasites like worms. If your veterinarian thinks your dog is eating grass because they're bored, make sure to provide them with enough mental and physical stimulation, Dr. McCullough says.
“Pet parents of dogs that eat excessive amounts of grass should limit access to grassy areas and consult with their veterinarian,” she shares.
If your dog vomits after eating grass, your veterinarian can likely share the best treatment option and recovery plan to help your pup feel better.
Cat grass, which is also called wheat grass, isn’t toxic for dogs, Dr. McCullough says. However, it’s a good idea to check with your vet if it’s OK for your dog to indulge in a cat-friendly snack.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash