Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Updated: August 19, 2020
Published: April 27, 2020
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Reviewed and updated on April 27, 2020 by Dr. Alison Gerken, DVM (Clinical Behavior Resident)

Dogs love to munch away on grass, and some even make it part of their daily routine. While experts agree that it may be normal behavior, there are underlying medical conditions that can lead to grass ingestion in dogs.

So why exactly do dogs like to eat grass? And when should you be worried?

Grass-Eating Is Typically Harmless

Whatever the reason may be, most experts see no danger in letting your dog eat grass. 

In fact, in a study, researchers found that wild canids and felids also eat grass, with leaves and grass being found in a range of 2-74% of the droppings and stomach contents of wolves and cougars. 

It may be a natural behavior that was inherited from wild canids to increase the passage of intestinal parasites. In another study, researchers found that younger dogs were more likely to eat grass than older dogs, which may be because they are more susceptible to intestinal parasites.

Grass-Eating Can Be a Sign of Gastrointestinal Upset

A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. If you notice that your dog has been eating grass, give your vet a call to discuss whether you should bring your dog in.

When To Take Your Dog to the Vet

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.

Other signs to look out for include:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Decreased appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Excessive drooling

  • Lip-licking

  • Changes to your dog’s fur

Typically, some dogs have underlying GI disease with no other signs, which is why veterinarians will recommend at least an anti-nausea medication trial for dogs who ingest non-food materials, including grass.

Featured Image: iStock.com/Andrei Kravtsov