Dogs are unique individuals. They have their own personalities, habits and particular tastes.
But the one odd thing that most dog owners have undoubtedly witnessed at some time or another is ...
... their dog eating grass.
You've likely seen your own dog do this too and wondered, "Why do dogs eat grass?"
We humans may find this behavior odd or even a cause for concern. Probably because we don’t tend stop and randomly start grazing while outside.
Is it a sign of illness? Is your dog bored? Is he missing something in his diet?
The truth is, it could be any or all of these things.
While science hasn’t completely pinned down the cause, these are some of the possible reasons why your dog eats grass.
Do Dogs Eat Grass When They're Sick?
Most dog owners believe that their dog eats grass to induce vomiting or to settle his stomach. But studies show this may not be the case.
Another theory is that grass-eating could be a way of purging intestinal parasites. This behavior has been noted in chimpanzees but not yet studied in dogs.
It's possible that there may be an element of self-medication when your dog eats grass.
But it is clear that we need more research into the "why"...
Does My Dog Eat Grass Because He's Missing Nutrients?
Depending on your dog's current diet, it's possible he's seeking nutrients. Canines in the wild are thought to consume plant material when they eat what’s in their prey’s stomach.
So, it isn’t a stretch to think domesticated dogs could have an innate desire to eat some grass. Grass and plants are also a form of fiber. Dogs may be craving fiber in their diet when they decide to munch on some grass.
It's also possible your dog is looking for a another ingredient found in grass ... chlorophyll.
Dr Deva Khalsa reminds us that chlorophyll is important for health.
Chlorophyll helps to:
- Fight infections
- Heal wounds
- Strengthen the immune system
- Detoxify systems like the liver and digestive systems
- Promote digestive health.
So, if your dog seems healthy otherwise ... it might just be time to add some more greens to his diet.
Is It Possible My Dog Eat Grass Because He Likes it?
The principle of Occam's razor encourages the simplest solution to a problem.
Could some dogs eat grass because they simply like the taste?
Dogs may eat grass because they enjoy eating grass. When you think about it, humans do all sorts of things because they enjoy them:
- Chewing gum
- Eating Pizza
- Playing Golf
- ... And the list could go on forever
So when your dog eats grass is it the same as your love of cheese? Does each type of grass offer its own kind of flavor and aroma ... Are dogs grass connoisseurs?
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Grass?
Okay ... so dogs eat grass. They may like grass or eat grass for a specific reason.
But is it safe for dogs to eat it?
Grass in itself should be fine for dogs to eat but ...
... a lot of grass may be treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These are toxic for dogs to eat. So play it safe and avoid grass when you don't know if it has been sprayed.
If your dog is trying to eat grass, try adding some chlorophyll-rich greens into his diet. Dr Khalsa suggests cutting up some ...
- Green beans
- Sugar peas
- Chinese cabbage
She recommends you sauté them lightly in butter or mulch them in the blender. Then add these greens to your dog’s meal.
You can also mix greens with something tasty like ...
- Apple pieces
The mixture can be put into hollowed marrow bones, toys … or even ice cube trays for a frozen treat.
You could also offer a tray of organic wheatgrass and see what your dog thinks of it.
Or find other pet-friendly grasses and grow an organic garden for your dog.
Trust Your Gut
If you suspect your dog’s grass-eating is because he is ill or he seems under the weather ... it's time to visit your holistic vet or homeopath.
They’ll help you get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Ultimately, your dog’s fondness for grass isn’t as strange as you think. But now you know there are some things you can do to help guide his behavior to even healthier alternatives.
Written By: Jessica Peralta
Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for over 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black domestic cat called Derby. It’s because of them that she decided to become a pet nutritionist and focus her journalistic career on the world of holistic animal care. She loves spending time with them and also learning about all the ways she can make them healthier, the natural way.