If you are a dog owner, then it is very likely that you would have seen your dog eat grass. Talking from experience, both Oscar & Hooch (chocolate Labradors) ate a lot of grass over their fifteen-year life span! Being chocolate labs there wasn’t much they didn’t attempt to eat….
Anecdotally we noticed that when they consumed a lot of grass and vomited, this indicated some form of upset stomach. This usually resolved itself without a visit to the vet.
In this article we aim to answer the fundamental question- why do dogs eat grass? We will also explore why do dog eat grass and vomit afterwards. If your dog is eating grass, there may be a perfectly innocent explanation. Most are easily resolved or better still don’t need resolving.
Below are several potential explanations as to why dogs eat grass. You should explore each if you have any concerns. If you follow each remedy and find it doesn’t work then you should seek specialist advice. If vomiting is persistent or any other untoward signs are present then seek veterinary advice immediately.
Lack of fibre in your dog’s diet
Lack of fibre is a common issue in humans and potentially dogs. We resort to prunes, dogs may resort to grass. This is completely normal and not cause for concern. Our recommended remedy if you dog eats grass a lot would be to check the food you are feeding them.
You may be purchasing a good quality food but there is still a lack of fibre. All dog foods should list ingredients and nutritional values but worth checking. An average dogs recommended consumption of fibre is 2-4%. For further help on this topic see our article on dog food here.
To help remedy an issue
It may be your dog has eaten something untoward and just wants to be sick. If your dog is eating grass and vomiting, then this could be your dog’s way of trying to throw up whatever is bothering it.
Dogs eating grass and vomiting can be completely innocent. However if you notice your dog is eating a lot of grass without much chewing this could indicate something is amiss. If your dog does vomit after eating grass then it has probably remedied whatever was bothering it, but if your dog continues to retch you should consider a visit to the vets.
Some believe that worms may trigger a need for your dog to vomit and so grass eating could be a sign of worms. This isn’t the case most of the time so don’t panic if your dog is eating grass!
Worms can be completely asymptomatic but other common symptoms include: bloated appearance, vomiting, diarrhoea, losing weight, always hungry (clearly this would always appear with certain breeds!!).
If you worm your dog routinely then this is unlikely to be your issue and we consider this an unusual reason for your dog eating grass.
Some dogs may eat grass out of boredom. Whilst this may be hard to hear for any dog owner, it should be taken seriously.
If your dog is eating grass a lot, then using some other form of distraction and stimulation could be an effective way to reduce or stop your dog eating grass.
Some ideas for making a dog walk interesting can be found here.
Some dogs just like grass! If your dog has a nibble on grass every now and then you shouldn’t concern yourself. In the same way some people like to have a nibble on rocket leaves, some dogs like grass, you may think it weird but just accept we are all different….
On a more serious note, you should be careful if any fertiliser or herbicides are used as these can be toxic. If unsure you should stop any incessant eating of grass. You should also be aware of any plants that can be poisonous for dogs, examples of which can be found here.
Be reassured the majority of dogs that eat grass have nothing to worry about, as with all habits look for other signs and symptoms that may suggest something more sinister is happening.