Although it may be strange to us, our dogs may occasionally eat things other than food. Today, our Citrus Heights vets discuss why our dogs eat grass and whether it is safe for them or not.
Why is my dog eating grass?
As with people, dogs require roughage in their diets. Grass is a good way for dogs to add this and is also a readily accessible source of fiber.
If your dog is experiencing a lack of roughage in their diet it could negatively affect their digestion as well as cause difficulties in passing stool, so eating grass may actually be an effort to help their bodies function more smoothly.
It may be cause for concern however if your dog is experiencing other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress along with eating grass. If this is the case then you should visit your vet so that they can rule out any medical issues, or provide treatment.
Another common cause of grass eating can be boredom or anxiety.
While outside dogs usually can find forms of entertainment for themselves through running or watching birds and other animals or people, some will eventually get bored when alone and will nibble on the grass to pass the time.
If your dog deals with any anxieties they may subconsciously chew on grass, in a similar manner to how some people chew their fingernails. Many people find it more noticeable that their dogs eat more grass when they're feeling bored, lonely, or anxious.
If you have ruled out any physical reasons and determined that your dog may be chewing for psychological reasons then there are a few ways that you can help them.
For dogs with separation anxiety, an old t-shirt or blanket with your familiar scent may provide comfort while you're away.
A puzzle toy can provide mental stimulation for bored dogs. If your dog is more active, more frequent walks and strenuous play sessions may be beneficial. And for dogs that require socialization with other dogs, doggie daycare or visits to the dog park may be in order.
Is eating grass safe for dogs?
As long as your dog is up to date with parasite prevention and your dog is not eating grass excessively or showing signs of stomach upset then it is perfectly safe, and you should have nothing to worry about.
Please ensure that there are no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass that your dog eats, as this can be dangerous.