You may have recently noticed your dog eating grass whenever they're outside. If this hasn’t happened before you may be panicking, don’t be alarmed, most dogs do. No one knows exactly why this is happening, but there are a few assumptions. It can be a bit distressing, and you want him to stop, but there are ways it can happen. You may need to put some work in, just like if you were training him to do any other command.
Below is all the information you need about your dog eating grass and what you can do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
There’s no one answer for why your dog is eating grass. One of the assumptions that many people make is that it helps them throw up when they have an upset stomach. What people think is that your dog will eat the grass very quickly so they can vomit straight after. However, let’s put that myth to rest. It’s actually been found that less than 25% of dogs throw up after eating grass. Similarly, studies have found that only 10% of dogs show signs of illness prior to eating grass. Therefore, it’s probably not the reason for his newly acquired taste.
Another reason your dog may be eating grass is that he’s doing it to fulfill a digestive need. Grass is full of roughage, and dogs need it in their diet for sources of fiber. If this isn’t met, your dog may not digest food or pass stool properly. Therefore, eating grass may be to meet a natural instinct for getting the nutrients he needs.
The reason your dog is eating grass also may not be physical at all; it could be psychological. If you’re not around and your dog starts to get bored, chewing on grass may be a quick option to help the time pass. Similarly, dogs need human attention, so if you’re not giving him enough, he may try to get it by conducting inappropriate actions such as eating grass.
Safety and Concerns
You may be wondering if eating grass is actually good for your dog and whether you should be concerned. Most of the time, it isn’t harmful, and your pup will be fine. However, there are some things that can cause concern. For example, if you spray a lot of herbicides and pesticides on your grass, this can be toxic for your dogs. Similarly, as your pup plucks the grass from the ground, he may ingest an intestinal parasite such as hookworms and roundworms. This can be very dangerous. A good way to prevent these things is by not spraying chemicals on your lawn and ensuring no other dogs do their business there - as this is where the parasites come from.
How Do I Stop My Dog Eating Grass?
If you think the cause for your dog eating grass is due to one of the psychological reasons or if he’s naturally anxious, there are some ways to lead him away from the lawn. You can provide him with a new toy or a piece of clothing that has your scent on it. This will provide comfort and distraction from going outside. Similarly, you can give him a food-containing puzzle toy that will relieve boredom and keep him entertained for a while. Walks and playtime are also always advised.
Your dog also may be eating grass for a reason you cannot figure out. Therefore you’ll need to train him out of the bad habit. Just like with other training methods, you can provide him with a treat each time you see him reaching for the grass. Every time you take him for a walk where you know, there will be grass or just out for a potty break, also ensure you have treats on you. There’s also the option of using verbal reinforcement to tell him to stop, and once he has, you can reward him with a treat.
You now have all the information you need to put your mind to rest and get your dog to stop eating grass. As mentioned, there isn’t much cause for concern, but there are ways it can be prevented. Remember to be patient with your dog, as he isn’t going to learn on the first try. Before you know it, you’ll have a dog who heads towards his food bowl rather than the backyard when he’s hungry.