Cute golden retriever eating grass in a meadow

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Dogs are known for their curious and sometimes mischievous behaviors. One of those behaviors that we humans may find a bit odd is the act of eating grass. Some owners may brush off eating grass as the dog being bored or playful, but the fact is that dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons.

If you’ve seen your furry friend eating grass and asked yourself why they’re doing it, don’t fret. Eating grass doesn’t always mean there’s something wrong.

Read on for more information about why dogs eat grass, if it’s normal, and when to see a vet about the habit.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass When Sick?

Although it’s a common misconception that dogs only eat grass when they’re sick, studies have shown that grass PH helps neutralize the acid in a dog’s stomach, therefore lessening gas and pain.

Illnesses are one of the reasons your dog will eat grass, but it’s not the only reason. Sometimes they’ve gotten a hold of cat food, or some other substance that doesn’t sit well with their tummy. If this behavior is accompanied by lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms, a prompt trip to the vet is warranted.

Luckily, not all grass-eating is indicative of an illness.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Boredom – If your dog is bored they may eat grass. Think about whether your puppy has been stimulated by toys recently. Take into consideration their breed as well. Working dogs are motivated by having a job to do, so lack of activity can make them antsy. Look into ways to help your dog’s attention be focused on other things.

It tastes good – Grass tastes good to some dogs. The smell and texture may be appealing to them (like you and a delicious salad).

They need more fiber – If your dog’s diet is lacking in fiber, that may be why s/he is eating grass. To fulfill your dog’s need for fiber, refer to the AKC list of fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat. Some include pumpkin, apples, pears, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Of course these should be given in their natural state or cooked, but not with added sugar or salt.

Be aware of other foods that are not safe to eat as well.

They’re sick – As we mentioned above, some dogs may eat grass to help settle an upset stomach. If you find they’re eating grass and exhibiting other symptoms, don’t worry. Just make an appointment with your vet for some diagnostics.


Cute black and white dog lying in the grass

Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Grass?

In general, it’s ok to let your dog eat grass. The grass by itself will not hurt your dog. It’s the other environmental factors that you will need to watch out for.

Make sure there are no wild mushrooms around the area where your dog is enjoying their grass. You’ll also want to limit your dog’s munching to an area of your yard where you know no pesticides or herbicides have been sprayed, as these can be toxic to pets.

If you can limit the grass to places that no other animals frequent, that’s better still. There are certain illnesses from other dogs and/or wild animals that if your dog comes into contact with them, it will make them sick.

When Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

You know your dog and his/her habits the best. If there is a sudden increase in grass eating or anything amiss with your dog, then bringing them in for an evaluation is best.

Some things to look for are:

  • Lethargy – Any type of tiredness that is out of the ordinary for your dog requires a visit.
  • Vomiting – Vomiting once is probably ok, but if your dog has vomited a few times, then it’s best to bring them in.
  • Diarrhea – Again, if Fido has diarrhea once, you can chalk it up to something they ate that didn’t agree with them (like a human), but if your dog is having repeated episodes of diarrhea, they may need medical intervention.
  • Loss of Appetite – Anything that causes your pup to eat less warrants a visit to your local veterinarian.
  • Unusual Behavior – As we said, you know your dog best, but if they’re suddenly behaving differently, there may be something wrong.


Small dog eating grass

Eating Grass Can Be Normal But Keep An Eye Out

In most cases, your dog eating grass is nothing to worry about. If they’re lively and occasionally sample the greenery, allow them to explore while you keep a close eye on them.

Give them access to approved fresh fruits and vegetables to see if that curbs the behavior and be sure to include some stimulating outdoor toys for your pup too. If you find that they are still eating grass or exhibit some other symptoms, a visit with your dog’s doctor is a good idea.

Remember, your dog can’t speak words to you, but their actions can communicate with you very effectively. If you have any questions about your dog’s health or behavior, place a call to their vet.

At Westmonte Animal Clinic, we are well-versed in a wide variety of treatments to assist your dog in-house, from well visits to minor surgeries. Book an appointment today to see how we can help.