Skip to content

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Common Theories, Facts & Myths

Dogs are known for exhibiting all sorts of quirky behaviours and one of the most commonly observed is eating grass. This behaviour can be concerning for pet owners who are unsure why their dog is doing it and whether it is harmful.

Why do Dogs Eat Grass?

There are various theories as to why dogs eat grass. Some of the most commonly cited reasons include:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies: Dogs may eat grass to fulfil certain nutrient deficiencies in their diet, such as fibre, vitamins & minerals.
  2. Digestive issues: Dogs may eat grass to help with digestive issues such as upset stomach, intestinal parasites, or inflammatory bowel disease.
  3. Natural instinct: Dogs are descended from wolves, who often ate grass and other plant matter to aid in digestion or to satisfy their natural urge to forage.
  4. Boredom or curiosity: Dogs may eat grass out of boredom or curiosity, especially if they are not getting enough mental or physical stimulation.

Let’s explore each of these theories in more detail.

Nutritional Deficiencies

It is commonly assumed that dogs eat grass to make up for a nutritional deficiency in their diet. For example, if a dog is not getting enough fibre, they may eat grass as a source of roughage. Some experts suggest that dogs may also eat grass to get certain vitamins and minerals that are lacking in their diet, or to fulfil a need for antioxidants. However, there is limited research to support these claims and many veterinarians believe that dogs are able to get all of the nutrients they need from a well-balanced diet.

Digestive Issues

Another popular theory is that dogs eat grass to help with digestive issues such as an upset stomach or intestinal parasites. Some experts suggest that grass acts as a natural laxative, helping to move things along in the digestive tract. Others argue that the fibrous texture of grass can help to remove any harmful bacteria or parasites from the gut. However, there is little scientific evidence to support these claims.

Natural Instinct

Dogs are descended from wolves, who often ate grass and other plant matter to aid in digestion or to satisfy their natural urge to forage. It is possible that dogs have retained this instinctual behaviour and continue to eat grass for similar reasons. Some experts suggest that the chlorophyll in grass may have a cleansing effect on the dog’s system, helping to remove toxins and other harmful substances.

Boredom or Curiosity

Finally, some experts suggest that dogs may eat grass out of boredom or curiosity. Dogs that are not getting enough mental or physical stimulation may look for ways to entertain themselves and eating grass can provide a novel experience. However, this theory is difficult to prove and it is possible that other factors may be at play.

Does Eating Grass Cause Vomiting?

One of the most common assumptions about dogs eating grass is that they do it to induce vomiting. While it is true that some dogs will vomit after eating grass, there is little evidence to suggest that this is deliberate behaviour. In fact, studies have shown that only a small percentage of dogs that eat grass actually vomit afterwards. If your dog is vomiting after eating grass, it is more likely that they have an upset stomach or are experiencing other digestive issues.

Health Risks Associated with Eating Grass

While eating grass may not be harmful in and of itself, there are some potential health risks to be aware of. For example:

  • Pesticides and other chemicals: Grass that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals can be harmful to dogs if ingested.
  • Choking or intestinal blockage: Eating large amounts of grass can lead to choking or intestinal blockage, especially if the grass is long or if the dog swallows it whole.
  • Harmful bacteria: Grass that has been contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli or Salmonella can cause illness in dogs if ingested.

How do you stop your dog from eating Grass?

If you are concerned about your dog eating grass, there are several strategies you can try to discourage this behaviour:

  • Offer a well-balanced diet: Make sure your dog is getting all of the nutrients they need from its food.
  • Provide alternative chew toys and treats: Giving your dog something else to chew on can help satisfy their need to chew and may prevent them from eating grass out of boredom.
  • Train and redirect: If your dog is eating grass out of curiosity, try redirecting their attention with a favourite toy or game.
  • Consider a change of scenery: If your dog is eating grass in your backyard, try taking them for walks in different areas to provide new stimuli and prevent boredom.

In some cases, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog to eat grass.

While the reason why dogs eat grass is not entirely clear, there are several theories that attempt to explain this behaviour. While eating grass is generally not harmful, there are some potential health risks to be aware of. If you are concerned about your dog’s grass-eating behaviour, there are several strategies you can try to discourage this behaviour. By providing a well-balanced diet, alternative chew toys and other forms of stimulation, you can help ensure that your dog remains healthy and happy.

What Can Dogs Eat?

See below for detailed answers on specific breeds.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Common Theories, Facts & Myths