As a veterinarian, I often get asked why dogs eat grass. There is no one definitive answer to this question, as there are a number of potential reasons why dogs might engage in this behaviour. However, based on my experience and research, there are a few common explanations that I would like to share with you.

  1. Nausea or Stomach Issues: One of the most commonly cited reasons for dogs eating grass is that they are feeling nauseous or experiencing some other kind of stomach discomfort. Dogs might eat grass in order to induce vomiting, which can help relieve any digestive issues they are having. This is especially true if the dog has recently eaten something that they shouldn't have, such as spoiled food or foreign objects.

  2. Nutritional Deficiencies: Another potential reason why dogs eat grass is that they are seeking out essential vitamins and minerals that they might be missing in their diet. Dogs are omnivores, meaning that they are naturally inclined to seek out a varied diet that includes both animal and plant-based foods. Eating grass can help them get the nutrients they need, especially if they are on a diet that is lacking in certain vitamins and minerals.

  3. Boredom or Anxiety: Some dogs may eat grass simply because they are bored or anxious. Eating grass can be a form of self-soothing behaviour that helps dogs calm down and distract themselves from any stress or anxiety they might be feeling. This can be especially true if the dog is spending long periods of time alone or is otherwise not getting enough stimulation and interaction.

  4. Natural Instinct: Finally, some dogs might simply be engaging in grass-eating behaviour as a result of their natural instincts. Dogs are descendants of wolves, who were hunters and scavengers in the wild. Eating plants was a natural part of their diet, and this instinct may still be present in some dogs today. Eating grass can therefore be a form of instinctual behaviour that helps dogs fulfil their innate needs and desires.

In conclusion, while the reasons why dogs eat grass can vary, the behaviour is generally considered to be harmless. However, if you suspect that your dog is eating grass as a result of a medical issue, such as an upset stomach or a nutritional deficiency, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. Your vet can help determine the underlying cause of the behaviour and recommend appropriate treatment or dietary changes to help your dog feel better.

16th Feb 2014 Vet Warehouse NZ

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