Today, our Poway vets talk a little about why dogs eat grass, and whether or not it's safe or even good for them.
Why does my dog eat grass?
The primary reason that dogs eat grass is that they require roughage in their diets, just like humans do. Grass can be a good and readily accessible source of fiber.
As with people, a lack of roughage or fiber in the diet can hinder a dog's ability to digest food effectively and pass stool. Eating grass may actually be a way for your dog to try and help its body function more smoothly.
However, if your dog is showing signs of stomach upset in addition to eating grass, there could be something more serious going on. If your dog appears to have an upset stomach, make an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can rule out any medical issues or provide treatment.
Boredom or anxiety can be another reason that dogs eat grass.
Most dogs have no problem keeping themselves occupied when outside, but others can get bored if left alone, and may pass the time by nibbling on grass.
Often, anxious dogs will eat grass as a sort of mindless comfort, much like people who chew their fingernails. Pet owners may notice that their dogs eat more grass when they're feeling bored, anxious, or lonely.
There are several possible solutions if you think your dog is eating grass for psychological reasons.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, an old t-shirt or blanket with your familiar scent may provide comfort to your pet when you're not around.
A puzzle toy could provide mental stimulation for bored dogs. More frequent walks and strenuous play sessions may be beneficial if your dog is high-energy. Doggie daycare or visits to the dog park can also be beneficial for dogs who enjoy socializing with other dogs.
Is it safe for dogs to wat grass?
As long as your dog is on consistent parasite prevention, and isn't eating grass excessively or showing signs of stomach upset, eating grass is nothing to worry about and is perfectly safe.
Be sure that there are no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass that your dog eats, as this can be dangerous.