Posted 47d ago
Dogs can have some unusual habits – ones that have us questioning if their behaviour is normal and safe. One of these is grass eating and then vomiting.
You’ve likely seen dogs grazing on grass, causing them to throw it all up shortly afterwards. But don’t worry, as grass eating is fairly normal for canines. The team at Tails break down why exactly they do this.
Is it harmful for dogs to eat grass?
Not exactly. Eating small amounts of grass is still a small part of a dog’s natural diet and shouldn’t do much harm. However, excessive amounts can irritate the stomach, causing your dog to throw it all back up.
There’s even a theory that dogs deliberately eat grass to make themselves throw up when feeling nauseous or ill (such as if they have worms).
There’s evidence of various wild animals self-medicating in this way, so there might be some evolutionary basis for this behaviour in dogs too.
Daisies and grass are both harmless (Image: Justin Paget/ Getty)
So while grass itself is largely harmless, you should still keep a watchful eye on what grass your dog is eating – for example, don’t let your dog eat grass that is likely to be contaminated with weedkiller or roadside grass likely to be affected by pollution and petrol fumes.
Is my dog eating grass for food?
Dogs are natural omnivores. Historically, eating plants like wild berries and grass would have been part of their normal diet. These days, balanced commercial diets take care of all your dog’s nutritional needs, so there’s usually no nutritional reason for dogs to eat grass.
Dogs on homemade diets, such as those that include only meat, may however be eating grass as a way to get much needed fibre into their diet. We recommend switching to food that is more nutritionally balanced to ensure they get all the goodness they need.
When do dogs eat grass?
Dogs are most likely to eat grass during spring and early summer when the new shoots have shot up. Their fresh fragrances and sweet sugars make them intriguing and appealing to your dog, adding a bit of sweetness to spring walks. Some dogs can develop a real taste, perhaps even a habit for grasses. But for most it’s simply an occasional curiosity.
Some dogs will eat grass out of boredom if they’re left alone or confined to a small area for an extended period. This is especially true for dogs who are left outside in the garden all day. Puppies also like to chew and bite everything in sight, including grass, but this is something they should soon grow out of.
It could also be that your dog is just hungry. It’s worth checking that you’re feeding your dog the right amount of food at the right time, splitting out meals to different times of the day if necessary to keep them feeling fuller for longer.
And don’t worry too much about daisies and dandelions either. In fact, dandelion leaves are full of vitamins A, C, K, D and B and contain lots of minerals. If your dog eats a daisy it won’t harm them, but it may cause diarrhoea if they eat too many.
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