3 min read
“I think Milo eats grass for the novelty,” says Goodheart client, Lauren. “He came from a place with astroturf. So grass is new to him and it probably feels nice, hides yummy bugs, and has an interesting texture”.
In fact, dogs eat grass for many reasons. The exact motivation can vary from one dog to another.
Here are some common explanations for this behavior:
- Natural Instinct: Dogs are descendants of wild canines. Their ancestors consumed plant matter, including grass. Eating grass may be an innate behavior inherited from their wild predecessors.
- Digestive Aid: Grass can act as a natural emetic (something that induces vomiting) if something is bothering a pet’s digestive system. Dogs might eat grass to vomit when feeling nauseous or if they have an upset stomach.
- Nutritional Deficiency: In some cases, dogs may eat grass if they are lacking certain nutrients in their diet. Grass contains nutrients. Eating it might be an attempt to balance their nutritional intake.
Milo eats Purina foods, so Goodheart docs have assured her this is not why he’s snacking on grass. 😊
If you’re unsure about your pet’s diet, please call us. We’re passionate about how food affects your pet’s growth and health. We talk about nutrition at your pet’s yearly exam and are also happy to talk between visits.
- Boredom or Anxiety: Dogs may eat grass out of boredom or to relieve mild anxiety.
To help, offer your pup morning walks with time to sniff, mid-day ball tossing, or evening nose games to stimulate your pup’s brain.
- Curiosity and Exploration: Dogs explore their environment through their sense of taste.
Goodheart docs concluded it is likely Milo’s puppy curiosity leading chew on the lawn during potty breaks.
- Behavioral Mimicry: Dogs are known to be socially influenced by other dogs. If they see other dogs eating grass, they might mimic the behavior.
While Milo has begun mixing with other pets his age and ones who are older, none have taught him this skill yet.
Imitation is the reason Odin eats grass. “Odin loves grass!” says Christine, Hospital Manager at Goodheart Broadway (anchor link to her bio). “He has never vomited after eating it. I think it’s more of a natural instinct for him. Also, when he comes to the barn he sees my horse, Hudson eating grass. I’m pretty sure it’s a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ situation.”
- Palatability: Some dogs may simply enjoy the taste and texture of grass. This reason could also explain Milo’s fascination with leafy greens. So far the habit hasn’t had any ill effects, but Lauren is watching his eating and bathroom habits.
- Hunger: Sometimes, dogs are just hungry.
“Sierra has always had a sensitive stomach,” says Jenna, Hospital Manager at Goodheart Cherry Creek. “She eats on a regular schedule and if we are late to feed her, she goes outside and eats grass. It seems to settle her empty stomach.”
While it’s generally considered normal for dogs to eat grass occasionally, excessive consumption or signs of distress should be addressed with a veterinarian.
You know your pet best! If you notice your dog eating large lots of grass, showing signs of illness, or acting odd, please call us.
It’s better to be safe than sorry and we’re here for you 24/7.