Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Weeds?


Have you ever seen your dog eating grass? Then you are probably wondering, why does my dog eat grass? And, is it normal? According to veterinarians and researchers on animal behavior, this is normal canine behavior. As to why they do it, there is no clear answer, but there are some theories that try to explain why sometimes your dog grazes like a miniature cow. So let’s find out why dogs eat grass and weeds sometimes.

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Why dogs eat grass

Eating Grass is a normal canine behavior

According to a survey of 1,571 participants, conducted in 2008 at the University of California, Davis. 68% of dog owners reported that their dogs ate grass regularly.

Dogs of every breed eat grass regularly. Even wild dogs and wolves are known to eat grass and plants. So, we know that dogs eating grass are normal, but why do they do it? There are many theories about why dogs eat grass and weeds. Here are some of the leading theories postulated by veterinarians and dog behavior specialists.

Dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit

One of the most popular theories is that dogs eat grass when they feel stomach distress. It’s believed that dogs will eat grass to make themselves vomit. This way they get rid of whatever is making their stomach upset. The problem with this explanation is that many dog owners have reported that their dogs eat grass when they don’t show any signs of having stomach problems. The other problem with this theory is that many dogs don’t vomit after eating grass. Some canine biologists dispute this idea because it has not been proven that dogs are smart enough to treat stomach problems by eating grass.

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Eating grass improves digestion and purges parasites

Wolves and wild dogs eat grass regularly. This has been confirmed by scientists after analyzing the droppings of these animals. It is suggested that these animals benefit from ingesting grass by purging their intestines from parasites like worms or nematodes.  Modern dogs may inherit this behavior from their wild ancestors.

To compensate for a nutritional deficiency

Another theory is that dogs eat grass as a way to compensate for a nutrient deficiency in their diet. It is suggested that because dogs are omnivorous, they look for nutrients in the grass. Some veterinarians also think that dogs eat grass to get more fiber in their diet.

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Because they are bored

Eating grass may be a form of pica (a behavior disorder of eating things that are not food). Dogs exhibit this conduct when they are bored and anxious.  This theory suggests that dogs eat grass as a way to entertain themselves. Just like when they chew on furniture or shoes.

Grass is tasty

Some veterinarians think that dogs eat grass simply because they like it. Dogs may enjoy the texture and taste of grass. This means that dogs consider grass a natural treat that grows on their lawn.

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Is eating grass harmful?

Eating grass is not harmful to dogs. Except if your dog grazes on a lawn that has been treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.  These chemicals can be toxic to your dog if ingested. Some varieties of garden plants could be poisonous to dogs. Only let your dog eat grass in lawns that you are certain haven’t been treated with chemicals. For more information check the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center website.

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Weeds