Why Do Dogs Like to Eat Grass?
A veterinarian explains this common behavior and the positive benefits.
Lawn grass may not be your dog's first choice for a snack, but that doesn't stop him from chowing down on the landscaped greenery. The behavior confuses many human caretakers. After all, why would your dog want to eat grass when they enjoy a healthy, wholesome diet at home? "Grass eating is observed in both domestic and wild canines, yet the reason for it remains largely unknown," explains Dr. Katy Nelson, senior veterinarian at Chewy. "There are two main theories for why we observe this behavior in dogs."
Dogs may chew on grass to calm an upset stomach, or they may have an undiagnosed nutritional deficiency that eating grass fulfills. This is why Dr. Nelson recommends that you speak to your veterinarian if you notice that your dog is eating more grass than usual. Any sudden and strange behavior in your pet may need medical evaluation.
However, consuming grass is not necessarily dangerous. "For the most part, grass eating by dogs is a relatively safe and benign activity," says Dr. Nelson. "The main consideration to be mindful of is whether the grass your dog is eating has been treated with pesticides recently." You should prevent your pet from eating any grass that you do not know whether it has been in contact with chemicals that would be harmful for your dog to ingest. And, when landscaping your own backyard, you may want to find natural, non-toxic ways to keep weeds at bay.
Your dogs can certainly enjoy some grass on occasion. In fact, eating grass could have some favorable outcomes. "There have been suggested positive benefits to grass eating, such as aiding in the passage of intestinal parasites, filling a need for fiber in the diet, or alleviating boredom," explains Dr. Nelson; however, keep in mind that "excessive grass ingestion can be related to feeling hungry so in these cases simply increasing the frequency of meals or adding a fiber supplement can help."
Ultimately, be mindful of the amount of grass that your dog is eating and where they are grazing it. Otherwise, your dog can enjoy this chlorophyll-based snack on an occasional basis and continue to be a happy and healthy canine companion.