Why does my dog keep eating the grass in the backyard?!
This is a question I've heard a lot. I was actually just talking to my friend who has a new puppy and in the middle of our conversation, he said it wouldn't stop eating the grass. Why do our dogs do this?
First, I want to dispel a myth. A lot of times when you hear this question asked in a causal setting, someone will say that dogs eat grass when their stomachs are upset. And while there is a possibility of this being somewhat true, it most likely isn't the answer.
In fact, according to Pets MD, fewer than 10% of dogs who are eating grass show signs of being sick BEFORE they start eating their outdoor salad. Less than 25% of dogs who eat grass end up vomiting regularly after their little meal.
The term for eating things that aren't food is "Pica". Sometimes, Pica can indicate that your dog is missing something in their diet causing a nutritional deficiency. A story in the Pet MD article that I referred to before talked about a mini poodle who had eaten grass and vomited every single day for a week straight. And then, following three days of being put on a high-fiber diet, the mini-poodle's owner reported that their dog stopped eating grass completely.
There have been other theories as to why your dog may be eating the grass. One could be to improve digestion, or treating intestinal worms.
Is My Dog Eating Grass Really a Bad Thing?
It honestly all depends. One thing that you do need to keep in mind, especially you home owners, is that grass and plants often times can have a pesticide on them that can be really toxic to your dogs. So for that reason alone, it may be a smart idea to try and curb this behavior.
But another likely reason for this behavior might simply be because they're bored out of their minds. A lot of us are busy throughout our days with work, the kids, whatever it may be. And sometimes our little energetic friends might need to let out their energy. Especially puppies. If this is the case, try putting time aside during your day to get out their energy. A nice walk could do the trick. Or just playing fetch with a tennis ball. There are a ton of different ways that you can get your dog's energy out. And in doing so, you may help stop their grass eating habits. Because out of everything, a lot of times dogs do things out of sheer boredom.
If you ever have concern that your dog is ill or ingested something toxic, make sure to contact a veterinarian right away. To learn more about what might be toxic for dogs, please visit the Animal Position Control Center's website.
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