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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

3 minutes
Keep in mind that wolves -- your dog's ancestors -- also occasionally eat grass and plants. Thus, dogs inherited this thousand-year-old behavior.
Last update: 16 August, 2018

Have you ever asked yourself why dogs eat grass? The first answers that may come to mind are “because they want to purge” or “they may have a stomach ache.” However, these are not the only reasons why dogs have this behavior. Read this article to learn all about it.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Surely you have seen it happen more than once while you were taking your dog out for a walk or you when you let him loose to roam around the backyard. Suddenly, your dog starts eating grass as if he were livestock. However, there is nothing to worry about, because this does not mean that something weird is happening to your dog. This habit does not change your pet’s essence, or anything of the sort.

Keep in mind that wolvesyour dog’s ancestors — also occasionally eat grass and plants. The same is true for other predators and felines. Thus, dogs inherited this thousand-ear-old behavior.

While people may not always know exactly why a dogs eat grass, there are several “hypotheses” about what causes dogs to act in this way:


1. To purge

This common assumption is actually correct! It’s common knowledge that when a pet has a stomach ache, eats too much, or ingests rotten food, his first reaction will be to eat grass in order to “purge”.

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Eating grass will ease the animal’s discomfort if i´s caused by gastric or intestinal problem. This is precisely why it is common to later see the same animal vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, although this is not always the case. In other occasions, the animal’s stools are not affected and instead they regurgitate a mass of saliva, grass, and other gross-looking elements.


2. To make changes to diet

Dogs don’t usually have many problems with what they eat, and can eat the same meal their entire lives without getting bored of it. However, the truth is that sometimes they want to experience a new flavor here and there. 

Dogs eat vegetables — and some fruits — because they consider them good foods and like how they taste. That being said, dogs don’t simply eat any type of grass that they find along the way, but instead choose the ones they like the most.

For example, they may consume tender shoots, taller grass, darker colored grasses, etc. Every dog has a particular taste!


3. To satisfy their hunger

Some people only feed their dogs in the mornings or in the evenings. The rest of the time, these dogs have an appetite. Since grass is what they have available, they take advantage of it! It is rich in fiber and provides a great satiating effect.

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This doesn’t mean that these dogs are on a diet, or anything like that. However, they know that grass will do the trick for filling their bellies until mealtime arrives.


4. To supplement their diet

Just as mentioned earlier, it is also common for dogs to eat grass in order to meet their dietary needs. You can give your dog the best food in the world, but if an animal believes he needs a certain nutrient, he will seek it out in nature.

Grass contains vitamins and minerals that a dog’s everyday food might not provide. Ask a trusted veterinarian about what type of dog food is best for your dog’s needs and breed (for example, Poodles have a different diet than Neapolitan Mastiffs). You can also complement your dog’s diet with “human” food, as long as it follows what the veterinarian has told you.

In conclusion, it is not a bad thing for dogs to eat grass during walks or while roaming in your backyard, no matter why they choose to do so. Remember, an animal’s instinct is wise and your pet knows what he is doing. So, don’t prohibit your dog from eating grass unless it’s a toxic plant or has been treated with pesticides.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.