Every dog owner knows it: The four-legged friend stops in a green meadow and starts to nibble extensively on the fresh blades of grass. In this article, you will find out what is behind the appetite for greens and when you should worry about eating the grass.
My dog is eating grass: is this normal?
Most dogs eat grass – some more, some less. So if your four-legged friend likes to stop by the side of the path to nibble on green blades of grass, you should allow him that and never stop him. If you live in the city, you should make sure that the grass is not dirty or grows directly on a main road. Your dog should also not eat thick, spicy grasses: they could cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Why do dogs eat grass?
A dog eats grass regularly. This is one of its natural behavior patterns. Even the wolf supplemented his diet with a few fresh blades of grass – so it’s practically in the genes. However, this is also a learned behavior that puppies learn from their mothers from an early age. Eating grass does not usually cause any harm to your four-legged friend – on the contrary: grass contains fiber and stimulates digestion.
The reasons for the sometimes extensive nibbling of the juicy greens have not yet been scientifically clarified. However, there are many explanations and assumptions.
The most common include:
- lack of nutrients
- digestive problems
- triggering of nausea (cleansing of the gastrointestinal tract)
- Stress Relief (Skip Action)
- Ingestion of scents used to mark territory
What is certain is that many dogs seem to eat grass with a great appetite. So it can be assumed that they like it.
Often, however, one observes that the dog eats grass and vomits. The reason for this can be that the four-legged friend suffers from digestive problems or has swallowed hair. The dog usually feels better after vomiting.
My dog always eats grass: when does eating grass become a problem?
Dog owners usually notice quickly that eating grass is no longer normal behavior. In the following cases, you should monitor your dog closely and possibly consult a veterinarian:
- The dog frantically eats grass.
- The dog is eating grass and is restless.
- The dog eats grass and dirt.
- The dog eats grass and does not eat.
If this behavior lasts for several days or even weeks, there may be a deficiency or an illness behind it. If your dog has a fever, blood, or mucus in its stool, is unable to defecate, or is showing other symptoms, you should take it to the vet immediately.
My dog eats grass – the consequences and what helps against it
Since four-legged friends are carnivores, their digestive tract is not designed to break down plant-based food so much – in other words: the grass usually comes out the back completely undigested. This can have unpleasant consequences for the dog:
- Blades of grass and/or feces often get caught in the anus and the dog cannot manage to get rid of them.
- Sometimes the grass comes out in a bundle covered in slime.
- If the dog has eaten too much grass, diarrhea can also occur.
If your dog is not able to put down the blade of grass, dog owners are tempted to lend a hand themselves. However, you should be extremely careful when doing this: Sharp blades of grass can inflict small cuts on the intestines and anus when pulled out. This can be painful and lead to inflammation. Therefore pull the straw out very slowly and carefully. If you don’t succeed – which is rarely the case – a visit to the veterinarian is recommended.