While taking your dog out to do their business on the lawn, you find them eating grass with great gusto. Your dog is well-fed and taken care of, so why are they chowing down with an enthusiasm that suggests they haven’t seen food in a week? If you’re a new dog owner, behaviours like this might freak you out. But don’t worry, the reason your dog is eating grass is most likely benign and harmless. Here’s why they might suddenly have a hankering for your lawn, and when it could be cause for concern. 

dog grass

They’re Bored or Anxious

If your dog is missing out on activity and play, they may pick up this habit to ease boredom and anxiety. Try adjusting your exercise regimen and being consistent with your daily morning walk. The Vancouver Animal Emergency & Referral Centre notes dogs that spend less time in the company of their owner engage in increased grazing behaviours. If your schedule is demanding, perhaps it’s time to invest in some new toys to keep your dog occupied and stimulated in your absence. VCA also suggests leaving your dog with a piece of your clothing, which may comfort them with your scent. 

They’re Wild at Heart

We may sometimes forget that our sweet furballs are descendants of wolves and wild dogs. Their ancestors obviously didn’t have bagged kibble and canned goodies available to them, so they hunted and grazed for food. Wild dogs would ingest healthy amounts of grass and other plant material via the stomach contents of the animals they hunted. The reason your dog is eating grass may be linked to an instinct to supplement their diet with greenery, as they no longer receive it through their prey. 

 They Need a Kibble Update

 If the need to graze appears suddenly and fervently, this could be an indication that your dog may be missing key nutrients. If your dog’s bowel movements are becoming irregular, paired with an increase in grass-eating, your pal may be wanting for some more fiber to regulate their digestion. Other studies point to a craving for chlorophyll as your dog’s motivation for grass consumption. Either way, feel free to consult your vet on their diet and see if your four-legged friend is in need of an upgrade or adjustment to meet potential nutrient deficits.

dog grass

They’re Self-Medicating – Or not?

 Although highly debated by experts, a common belief is that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting and cure an upset stomach. Many dog owners swear by this theory, but research shows that grass-eating is very common, while subsequent vomiting is not, which does not lend to the idea that dogs are intentionally trying to self-medicate. Nevertheless, the idea is popular enough to justify speculation, and the science is not conclusive. It’s been suggested that stomach bile can irritate your dog’s tummy, so a snack or meal first thing in the morning might help divert the abdominal pain and thus the grazing. 

 They Just Dig it

 Not to discount the hard work done on studying this odd behaviour, but if the grass munching is just an occasional hobby, it might simply be that your dog enjoys it! The grass is chilled, covered in dew, and full of flavour. The texture in their mouth and the physical act of chewing may just be fun and soothing.

 Still, Check-In with Your Vet

 If the behaviour starts suddenly, is enduring, is frequently followed by vomiting, or just worries you, consider speaking to your vet. Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in the grass can pose health risks to your dog, or they could pick up a parasite from feces in the dirt. As stated, your dog’s grass-eating is most likely totally innocuous, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

dog grass