Does your dog eat grass? To what extent this is normal and when you should be concerned, we clarify in this post.
Dog eats grass: this is normal
If you notice “My dog eats grass” and find it strange, here is the reassurance: From time to time the dog eats grass, for example during a walk or while walking in the garden. This is not a problem in itself and is part of his normal behavior. Some dogs use it to get rid of boredom or to match a game. Puppies seem to see this from their mother and take over the behavior from her.
Why does my dog eat grass?
The assumptions about the reasons for eating grass in dogs are very diverse. Which includes:
- The fiber in the grass should support the dog’s digestion.
- Some dogs eat grass when they have digestive problems in order to vomit and thus separate themselves from harmful feed components. (Unlike cats, who eat grass regularly to vomit hair taken up when cleaning, this is not proven for dogs.)
- Dogs also eat grass to compensate for a lack of nutrients.
- Dogs with worms should tend to eat grass.
- and much more
Most of these assumptions are currently not scientifically proven. This has been tried again and again, but has not succeeded to a satisfactory degree. The exact reason why dogs eat grass is currently unknown. Some dogs just seem to like it, because even healthy dogs with a very balanced and high-quality diet show this behavior.
Dog eats grass: calming effect
Other suspected reasons for eating grass in dogs are the calming effects: For example, in stressful interactions with other dogs, nibbling on blades of grass can distract and relax. As already mentioned, boredom can also be bridged with it. Chewing and eating generally relaxes, which is why this can also be assumed for grass-eating.
Dog eats grass: when is it problematic?
Your dog eats and vomits grass in rough quantities? Do you have the feeling that he will soon be a herbivore? Often these tufts are swallowed completely without chewing. This should draw your attention. In addition to vomiting, digestion problems with diarrhea can then occur. In such cases, present your dog to a veterinarian. It is also helpful to keep a record of how often and in what situations the dog eats grass.
Even if you find blood in vomit or faeces, the faeces are covered with mucus or your dog no longer produces faeces (especially after eating grass in clumps), you should definitely go to the vet! These are indications of serious diseases such as inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract or an intestinal obstruction.
Caution: Only pull very carefully on blades of grass protruding from the anus. If they cannot be removed with a gentle pull, sharp-edged grasses can severely injure the mucous membrane of the rectum and anus! If this is the problem, you should go to the vet.
Dog eats grass: danger lungworm
Just as there are gastrointestinal parasites in dogs, there are worms that spend at least part of their lifespan in the dog’s lungs. These are called lung worms. During their development from the egg via the larva to the worm, these worms rely on a so-called “intermediate host”, in this case a snail. Very curious dogs, especially puppies, eat these snails and become infected with the parasites. An “indirect” way of infection is: The dog eats grass on which the (sometimes tiny) snails sit. The larvae from the snail migrate from the dog’s intestine to its lungs, where they develop into adult worms, which in turn lay eggs. The larvae hatching from this cause damage to the lung tissue. Dogs with lung worms suffer differently from e.g. Cough, decreased performance and fever, also nosebleeds occur.
Dog often eats grass: what can you do about it?
The veterinarian will of course examine the dog closely. If medically relevant findings are collected, the dog is treated accordingly, for example in the case of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract or metabolic disorders.
Perhaps he also tolerates the current food poorly or suffers from gastrointestinal parasites. Stress and / or boredom should also be included as factors and minimized if possible. Maybe your dog is currently unable to find its way in an unusual situation? Chronic pain or other physical problems can also cause stress, which in turn leads to behavioral deviations.
Dog eats grass: home remedies
Your dog eats a lot of grass and you want to do something? If your dog is doing well overall and you find the grass consumption just a bit too high, you can try a more frequent feed (two to three times a day instead of once) or healing earth feed.
Important: do not miss the above Warning signals that your dog is seriously ill!
Dog eats grass: what else should I watch out for?
Be careful in the following situations:
- Do not let your dog eat grass on the side of the road in the city or on big roads. This absorbs the pollutants from the car exhaust.
- Pesticides or fertilizers were particularly concentrated on the edge of fields. Therefore, do not “graze” on the edge of the field!
- Prevent your dog from eating sharp-edged grasses. These can damage the lining of the mouth and esophagus and lead to stomach pain. In addition, these grasses, if they protrude from the anus as described above, can also cause injuries there (for example, because the dog removes them with their teeth).
- And of course, no known poisonous plants should be consumed. These include evergreen plants such as boxwood and yew and many ornamental plants. These are not grasses, but you should always be careful what your dog eats outside!
Dog eats grass: conclusion
If your dog eats grass every now and then – let him have fun! If it gets out of hand and causes other problems, you should see a veterinarian.