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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

 

When the Tummy's Grumblin'

A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. When ingested, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation, in turn, may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.

 

Although dogs don't typically graze on large amounts of grass like a cow, they may nibble on grass, chew on it for a while, and not throw up (an unwell dog will tend to gulp the grass down in big bites and then throw up). This may be because they find the texture of the grass palatable, or just because they need to add a little roughage to their diet.

 

Nutritional Necessity

Whatever the reason may be, most experts see no danger in letting your dog eat grass. In fact, grass contains essential nutrients that a dog might crave, especially if they're on a commercial diet. If you notice that your dog has been munching away on grass or houseplants, then you may want to introduce natural herbs or cooked vegetables into their diet. Dogs aren't finicky like cats, but they're not too fond of raw veggies either. They're kind of like big furry kids that way.

 

So, when you think about it, grass munching isn’t that bad at all. However, watch out for a sudden increase in grass eating; it could be a sign of a more serious underlying illness that your dog is trying to self treat, and that requires immediate veterinary assistance.

 

You may also want to buy a small tray of grass just for the dog, or start an herbal home garden. This will give your poor pooch an alternative to the outdoor grass and landscaping, the eating of which could lead to accidental ingestion of pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals that have been used to treat your (or your neighbor's) yard.

 

Image: PhotoCassidy / via Shutterstock

 

 

Comments  47

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  • Excessive grass eating
    07/11/2011 10:53pm

    I Have a Lab/Newfounland mix that regularly grazes on grass. Tonight he has been earing grass for over an hour and vomited once. He has been with me all day and has not been exposed to anything new new no change in diet. Any suggestions?

  • 02/15/2012 08:53am

    When dogs eat grass they do it because their stomach is upset and they are trying to cause themselves to throw up. a good thing for whateever is ailing them.

  • 05/01/2012 09:19pm

    So you ARE saying they do it to make them throw up because of their stomach?

  • 11/05/2012 03:08pm

    No, they eat grass because they are tired of eating dry or caned food. Dogs eat veggies. Try giving your dog a carrot. Most, not all, love carrots. Give them alot and they get orange poop. Grass can have stuff on it that makes them vomit. Pestisides and fertilizer. Dog bowls that are dirty can give dog food poisoning and vomit. Wash your bowl and give dog a carrot or lettuce. They love it.

  • 04/21/2013 01:56pm

    Anne, it doesn't necessarily mean the dogs is "tired" of eating canned or dry dog food. Like a human they could be feeling ill due to the preservatives or an ingredient(s) in the food. Pets can suffer from food allergies just like a human being. All living beings are susceptible to allergies or incapable of not being able to eat certain plants. For instance, many people know that chocolate is poisonous to pets, but are not aware that other foods like onions are just as dangerous! A knowledgeable veterinarian will tell you that even if you pick the onions off a hamburger and feed the hamburger to a dog, the minor trace amounts of onion juice left behind on the hamburger could cause a dog to feel sick or worse. People need to always remember that animals are always way more sensitive to smells and other things we humans take for granted. Most vets will also tell you that when a human does not give an animal a consistent diet, but instead gives the dog a wide variety of food items to eat, that too can cause a dog to have an upset stomach.

    Dogs stomachs are a lot like a human babies stomachs. A good and well-knowledgeable parent does not give a baby the same greasy, spicy, or other harsh foods that we adults eat. Instead we give babies a consistent bland diet, because their stomach are too sensitive and are susceptible to developing food sensitivities and allergies. For the same sensitive reasons, a good responsible pet owner will not make the mistake of thinking their dog's body is exactly the same as a human body or equal to a garbage disposal.

  • 06/27/2013 02:29pm

    I have 2 dogs that will eat ANYTHING I throw to them from Asparagus to Zucchini and one that goes crazy over sugar snap peas. Onions have never bothered either one of them nor does garlic. Though I am very careful not to let the cats have anything with either garlic or onion as I have been told that both can cause a bleeding disorder in cats.

  • 06/27/2013 10:50pm

    This comment has been flagged as inappropriate.

  • 06/27/2013 11:58pm

    You could have replied to Sandra's comment with a little more compassion. Not everyone is as intelligent or knowledgeable as you. Maybe no one ever told her the dangers of feeding certain foods to dogs. Regardless, you don't have to act so high and mighty, you don't impress EVERYONE with this kind of attitude. A kind word goes a long way.

  • 07/26/2013 03:52pm

    Your information and advice concerning dogs eating grass would be appealing to me had you not delivered it to Sandy with such a venomous attitude. Lighten up. We are interested in what you have to say, but why are you so critical of others who may not know all the answers.

  • 07/27/2013 09:36pm

    I give my 9yr old, 80lb lab a Snickers bar(large) every so often. I have been since she was a pup. She loves em. Vet says she's very healthy. btw, think about switching over to de-caf there, Sunshine

  • 09/20/2014 11:21am

    I was always told not to give dogs chocolate, because it will kill them. Guess it's jot true then? I have a boxer who is 6months and only eats dry food but loves to eat grass too. My grand kids love chocolate chip cookies and Chloe my boxer tries to get them. Always heard chocolate is bad for dogs. Anybody else ever heard this?thanks

  • 08/13/2013 11:39am

    Bad hair day, Tracy?

  • 08/24/2013 12:33pm

    Tracy, your comment to Sandra was further justification for those who prefer interacting with animals over humans. Your response was heartless. You may be book smart but your way of dealing with those of perceived less intelligence by name-calling and insults cancels the information you shared. I'm reporting your post as abusive and I hope others did too.

  • 10/01/2013 08:57am

    I came across this site whilst trying to find out why my dog eats grass. I was amazed to find this post from Tracy Lynne. It must be the most self-important, obnoxious, badly-argued and patronising comments I've read in a long time.

    Who starts a reply by saying "your comment is ridiculously void of intelligence"? Answer; only someone who is very under-confident about their own intelligence; otherwise why go to such lengths to try and belittle someone else's intelligence".

    From what I can see, this is a great site, with great articles. However, it would be an even better one without people like Tracey Lynne making offensive, badly written and unhelpful posts.

  • 03/08/2014 07:48am

    Tracy...you are not nice. :(

  • 08/14/2013 01:41pm

    Hi, I would just like to let you know that you should never give dogs onions or garlic, that is very very bad for them. Even if it may not seem to bother them, it is bad for them. Just be careful

  • 05/09/2013 12:33pm

    I home cook for my lab because she had chronic diarrhea on just about every commercial dog food out there for the first two years of her life. She loves her salad and spinach most of the time. I notice that she doesn't eat grass when she gets her salad and spinach daily dose too. Also, she doesn't throw up when she eats the grass. I personally think its the same with people...when our body is lacking something we crave it. For instance....we get thirsty because our body is lacking water...On the other hand, I'm sure there is a soothing aspect to it when she has an upset stomach because salad does have probiotics, which reduces gas.

  • 05/31/2013 01:10am

    Contrary to popular belief, thanks to the Pet Food Industry, dogs are not omnivores, they are carnivores. Feeding your dog veggies is not a good idea since they don't have the proper enzymes to break down carbs/starches. Dogs have an underdevelope caecum and can't ferment veggies to extract nutrients. That's why the dogs poop is orange when you feed him carrots, because he couldn't digest it and every piece of the carrot went right through his body and out. Cats and dogs nibble on herbs, leaves, and grass, for medicinal purposes. Not for food. Dogs, and other carnivores, like cats, do not have amaylase in their saliva like omnivores (such as humans) or herbivores. Amaylase is an enzyme that breaks down starches and carbs into cellulose for digestion. That's why when we eat a potato or carrot it taste sweet. Dogs, not having amaylase in their salvia, taste nothing when they eat a carrot or a potato. The only reason a dog eats it is because you're offering it to him and he's hungry.

  • 08/08/2013 07:53am

    Orange poop? lol :D
    Sounds like a great "red flag" !!!
    Does it matter if the carrots are cooked or not? I would love a visible warning before I take a step too far :)

  • 04/21/2013 01:32pm

    Cole, why is that so hard to believe? Remember our grandparents and farther relatives back used things like Caster Oil to cause vomiting when a child was sick. It was done in the hopes of riding the body of germs, so that the germs could not continue to multiply and therefore continue to reek havoc on a person's immune system. Also, take into account that human's are observers and followers. Since the time of our ancestors, the cave dwellers, we have watched and mimicked what other living creatures do for survival. How is a dog eating grass any different than a "health conscious" person that drinks or eats wheat grass, flax seed, wheat germ, barley, or other types of grains and grass varieties?

    I once tried drinking wheat grass from a health food store and I wanted to vomit!! After that taste experience, I don't blame any living being from wanting to do the same!!! Think of it this way, a dog cannot up and drive their self to a Rite-Aide or CVS store to purchase ipecac or other stomach relief remedies, so the alternative is to eat something that they know will not digest well and hopefully cause them to expel the germs or item that is making them feel awful.

  • 12/11/2012 12:32pm

    Not all dogs eat grass because the have upset stomaches. My German Shepherd at it ion a daily basis from spring through fall and also certain leaves. It has a sweet taste that they like. It didn't make my dog sick and my vet said it was not a problem and not to be concerned about it. She lived until she was almost 11 years old. My new Shepherd likes to root. Still trying to figure that one out.

  • 03/25/2013 04:15pm

    My dog eats a lot of grass right after he dines on the turds i did not see when cleaning the yard.This has been a disturbing thing to me as i kiss that dog on the face.At least the grass cleans his teeth of the yummy treats he just scored.I read up on why they eat crap and have found that it is in their genes to eat scat or droppings of poop to keep other animals from tracking them.I think my dog just likes the taste of turds.He eats them when he has a perfectly good dish of purina there for him to eat at will.He does eat his regular food though.The cat crap is the worst.There are several feral cats in my area and when they dump my dog thinks it is a thanks giving feast.I am worried about disease from the cats that have never seen a vet.The dogs like cat poop more than dog poop because there is a lot of protein still in the cat poop and the dogs know this will sustain them.Instinct and survival are one and the same with dogs as one leads to the other in the wild.I really got to get my pooch to gargle or something after meals.lol

  • 04/08/2013 03:08pm

    thanks for the great laugh this morning!!! I saw your post when trying to figure out why my dog eats grass. Good luck with the breath freshener for your dog!

  • 05/20/2013 12:46pm

    "Hello David

    I notice you give your dog purina and thought you might be interested to read some of the comments here:

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/beneful.html

    and

    http://news.msn.com/us/nestl%C3%A9-purinas-beneful-accused-of-poisoning-dogs

  • 05/20/2013 01:31pm

    Thanks for the education Amanda.I am switching to iams eukanuba dog food.I have had great results in the past and have found it hard to find lately.I will have to get assertive in my search for this product and just pay the price as nothing is too good for my dogs.Regards,Dave

  • 05/31/2013 12:50am

    Your dog eats turds because he needs probiotics. A diet of commercial pet food aka Purina is devoid of live enzymes that he needs for digestion.

  • 06/20/2013 02:02pm

    I read that if you give your dog pineapple, there's something in it that discourages a dog from then munching they're poop.

  • 05/22/2012 09:06am

    Not always. I have a Rottweiler that eats grass on a regular basis and does not vomit. I asked my vet about this and she said it is perfectly fine for her to do this. Sometimes a dog will eat grass if they have an upset stomach, but not always.

  • 11/05/2012 11:37am

    I have a Rottweiler as well and we call her our Moo-Cow - she is constantly eating grass. Our vet has not found anything physically wrong with her and we have tried different things with her diet. She continues to eat grass and rarely vomits. Good to know that someone else has a Rottweiler with a similar habit!

  • 06/20/2013 02:07pm

    I'm taking my dog to the vet asap, She keeps puking up everything, I thought at first she was doing it bc she ate too fast so I gave her smaller amounts more frequently, it seemed to work, but at the end of the day, it all came up. I heard you can give a dog antacids like pepto, or tums, any advice?

  • 11/05/2012 03:03pm

    Dogs eat plants. Try a carrot if you don't beleive me. Dogs also get food poisoning from dirty dishes, especially if the food is a higher grade and caked on the bowl to dry. Have you washed your dogs dish with soap and water, lately? Are you familiar with the 24 hour flu and slight case of food poisoning? My three chi's love salad. When they can't get it, they eat my plants. Some plants are toxic. Plants, especially grass, can have fertilizer or pestisides on them that cause the dog to vomit. The dog may already feel sick and need to vomit. My dog had a case of the 24 hour flu due to a dirty dog dish and food that did not have as many perservatives in it. I had switched to a good brand without persevatives. The cheap stuff has perservatives and that is not good for your dogs liver and kidneys. My little girl (dog) vomited all night. All three did after licking dirty bowls. I was about to run to the 24 hour vet, but decided to one last thing. I gave her milk the next morning. She wouldn't touch it but my boy, who vomited the night before than stopped, drank it all. I gave them lettece. She gobbled it all up and did not vomit. Later I tried cheese and she was ok. I washed all the bowls and threw away the unused portion. I opened a fresh can. My dogs are fine.

  • eat soil
    06/08/2012 08:11am

    Our 12 year's Cairn terrier sometimes eager to eat soil.especially when he has gassy state or upset stomach.
    What does that means?
    He has liver failure,and remove gall bladder 2years ago.
    and now he is under medication with choleretic drug.

  • vomoting & bloody poop
    07/11/2012 05:38pm

    "my dog its grass and then vomites it up next day. The last two days he has had blood in his stool. Straining to poop and it looks like water. My question is, is he constipated or should I be really worried about his health? Rosco is 5yrs old in human yrs."

  • 04/11/2013 04:35pm

    As this is a real old post to reply to i am curious to see if you did take your dog into the vet for a check up.I hope so and i hope your dog is ok.

  • re:vomiting &bloody poop
    09/02/2012 07:02pm

    Anytime your dog is passing blood you should immediately get her treatment. My baby was doing the same thing as was diagnosed with pancreatitis & an irritated colon. She required iv fluids, antibiotics, and some other meds. This at midnite, but she is worth all the inconvenience. She is 11. I had another dog who had some similar symptoms and she had lymphoma, so you can never really know. You have to take her to the vet and talk to them about different concerns you have. You have to know your dog, like you know your own body and how it works normally. They can't tell us what is wrong so it is up to the owner to know what is wrong.

  • 10/08/2012 10:36am

    Our dog has just vomited some blood and has had dark black stool. We researched that if the stool is dark blood the problem is in the upper digestive system because the blood has been digested. If it is red it could be from the lower digestive system, colon, rectum. The causes we found are undetermined by vets and most likely dietary. we have decided to alkalize her diet, put silver colloid in her water and treat her with colour therapy.
    here is a site with lots of articles but I find the pressure to see/pay for a vet is a little much.http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/digestive/c_dg_melena#.UHLk7xhhg7A

  • You got it all wrong.
    09/05/2012 04:34pm

    Dogs eat grass to cure themselves. They would particularly eat dog grass (Agropyron repens) because of its curative properties.

    They also eat it to induce vomiting. They are trying to get out of their system something they ate that is causing them pain.

  • Green Tripe!
    09/19/2012 03:12pm

    You were almost there when you commented that, "The modern dog, partly because of evolution and domestication, is no longer like its ancestors, which frequently ate their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals."

    What's MOST important are that the partially-digested grasses found in the prey's stomach contain active enzymes! Not only do these natural, gastric juices and enzymes help the herbivore break their foods down, they also aid the wolf's digestive system to help him break down and utilitize the rest of his meal.

    Kibbles and canned food is cooked, so the enzymes are lost. Sure, many spray pre and pro-biotics onto the food at the end of the process, but it's not nearly as beneficial as them consuming the natural real deal. Highly processed foods are very taxing on your dog's system, the ingredients being void of nearly all their natural moisture, so it's not uncommon for a dog to have some tummy upset. They have the right idea to seek out grass from the yard, but won't find the benefits of those enzymes.

    This is why it's especially great to add Green Tripe to your dog's diet! You'll notice a big difference in their teeth and breath as well as their digestive system. Remember that it's the partially-digested contents of a cow's stomach so it's bound to be a little smelly. Perhaps this is why dogs love it so much! Guaranteed if you add tripe to their diet you'll see a large decrease in their yard-mowing!

  • 03/19/2013 12:26am

    Great input, but i may not agree with you on the evolution thing that you said in here. Dogs donot or lack the cellulases and hence they eat grass just to egest anything that might have got in to there body through food or something and they just eat and chew grass to egest the foreign substance from the body. Infact when they chew up grasses, they make the sensation to there tongue and nearby glands to make the puking action so as to egest the unwanted substance from there stomach. Adding tripe may be a good suggestion by you.

  • Grass as a pain relief???
    09/21/2012 12:33pm

    Is it possible that dogs eat grass as a form of pain relief ? I have a 10 yr old collie cross who unfortunately suffers with arthritis in his back leg joints. I have noticed that during long walks or too many throws of the ball he stops and nibbles on grass and never sick.

  • 09/24/2012 01:52pm

    I typed a bit about green tripe in the comment above this one...it could be that he pushes himself a bit more than he should in his older age and has digestive upset. I'd try adding green tripe to his meals. It should get him more excited about dinner time and aid in his digestion. If you're already adding a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement then you're doing him a huge favor with those joints!

  • 11/02/2012 04:03am

    Our dogs just seem to lik grass. we also have a chive plant our Lab goes crazy pulling the little blades off We can always tell when she's been at the chives by her "chive" breath.

  • grass from a hillside
    11/18/2012 04:30pm

    My dog likes grass to and not because she feels sick. However I don't letter eat yard grass because of the possibility of fertilizers and stuff.. Fortuantely i live where there are hillsides that get water/rain and there are some very green grass/weeds. I personally think that's better but then I'm no vet.

  • 02/06/2013 05:51am


    That's actually a way to get rid of their irritating bowel movement and to puke out. Actually there reverse peristalsis is not automated and needs arousal. So they try to chew the grass out and puke in turn.

  • Dog eating grass
    02/26/2013 08:53am

    My lab mix eats grass every morning and then throws up. He then comes in and eats his normal breakfast and is just fine. Why would he do this every morning?

  • Healthy Food
    05/05/2013 01:43pm

    People don't know how important healthy food are. You can easily avoid these kinds of diseases with healthy food. I have 12 years old Golden Terrier and I always prepare him homemade food. His trainer told me that dogs can live 27 years! Please don't give them commercial food. There are lots of healthy homemade food recipes which I prepare for my little Atom.Please prepare them healthy food.
    http://www.makeusknow.com/categories/animals&pets/what-can-dogs-eat-vs-what-should-dogs-eat.html

  • 05/29/2013 08:20pm

    My dog eats grass. Lots of it. Everyday and he never throws it up. He dives into it and rips it to shreds. He gets mouthfuls and eat them happily.

  • 06/21/2013 12:20am

    Dog eating grass is mostly associated with there puking habits. Sometimes when the dog engulfs any foreign substance which may cause irritation in there bowel movement, they occasionally do that to get rid of that.


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