New Iberia dog owners might have wondered why their canine companion seems so keen on eating grass. Is it dangerous? Today, our All Creatures Veterinary Hospital vets share information on grass-eating habits in dogs.
Why do dogs eat grass?
The main reason that dogs eat grass is that they need roughage in their diets, just like we do. Grass is a good and readily accessible source of fiber.
Just like in humans, a lack of roughage in the diet can hinder a dog's ability to digest food effectively and pass stool, so eating grass may actually be an effort to help their bodies function more smoothly.
However, if your dog is showing signs of stomach upset in addition to eating grass, there may be something more serious going on. Visit your vet so that they can rule out any medical issues, or provide treatment.
For some dogs, anxiety or boredom is expressed through behaviors like eating grass.
Although most dogs have no problem keeping themselves occupied when outside, some will eventually get bored when alone and might nibble on grass to pass the time.
Anxious dogs may eat grass as a sort of mindless comfort, much in the same way some people chew their fingernails. Many people notice that their dogs eat more grass when they're feeling bored, lonely, or anxious.
If you think your dog is eating grass for psychological reasons, there are several possible solutions.
For dogs with separation anxiety, an old t-shirt or blanket with your familiar scent could comfort your pet while you are away from them.
Bored dogs can also be cheered up or entertained by a puzzle toy, more frequent walkks and play sessions if they enjoy being active, or, for more social dogs, doggie daycare or visits to the dog park may be in order.
Can my dog eat grass, then?
Unless your dog is obsessively eating grass or showing signs of stomach upset, and they are consistently protected by vet-approved parasite protection, eating grass is perfectly safe, and nothing to worry about.
Finally, it's imperative that you make sure there are no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass that your dog eats. This could be dangerous for your pooch.
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.