Dogs have many charming and endearing traits. They bark at the mailman, jump on your guests, and sniff just about everything.
While many of these habits are to be expected, you may find it odd to see your pup chomping on some grass in the backyard. Can dogs eat grass? Is this a dangerous habit, or is it something that these furry creatures just do?
Today, we’re going to explore this topic further and get some answers about the leafy meals your pup’s been making for himself.
In reality, there’s no definitive, proven reason as to why dogs eat grass. However, there are a few opinions on the topic that offer some interesting and quite possible perspectives.
Your Dog Has an Upset Stomach
One of the most popular beliefs surrounding dogs eating grass is due to digestive upset. A dog’s stomach cannot digest grass, so when they eat it, the only way to get rid of it is to throw it up. So, it’s widely believed that dogs eat grass purposefully to make themselves throw up.
A dog might do this so that he can rid his body of the toxins that are making him feel ill. In most cases, this behavior is nothing to worry about. Your dog is simply taking care of himself.
Of course, if you see this behavior coupled with other concerning symptoms such as lethargy or diarrhea, you should contact your vet immediately.
Your Dog is Low on Chlorophyll
It is a little-known fact that chlorophyll is a very critical component of your dog’s red blood cells. This green pigment, which is found in plants like grass, helps replenish red blood cells and facilitates the movement of oxygen throughout the body.
If your dog is low on chlorophyll, he might try to replenish himself by snacking on some leafy greens from the backyard.
Chlorophyll can also help in other areas, such as protect cells from cancer, fight infections, heal wounds, and heal the digestive tract. So, if you see your dog eating grass, you may want to speak to your vet to ensure there isn’t something more serious going on.
Your Dog is Following Natural Instincts
Many experts believe that eating grass is very normal and natural behavior for dogs. Wild dogs, including wolves and coyotes, often eat grass.
Therefore, it wouldn’t be completely out of the question for your dog to tap into its wild roots and satisfy his chewing and biting urges with grass, leaves, twigs, and more.
Is Grass Harmful or Dangerous to Dogs?
On its own, the grass is not a substance that will harm your dog. Like we mentioned above, chewing, biting, and even ingesting grass is completely normal behavior for this type of animal and its ancestors, so it’s not a huge concern.
However, you should be aware of what is on your grass. If you treat your grass with any chemicals or pesticides, you certainly do not want your dog eating it.
Additionally, some plants are naturally toxic for dogs, so be sure they aren’t chewing on any of the following:
- African Violet
- Aloe Vera
There are many more plants that can be harmful or toxic to your dog, so be sure to check out a full list here.
How to Stop a Dog from Eating Grass
If your dog seems to be chewing up your yard a little too much for your comfort, there are a couple of things you can try to minimize this action.
Change Their Diet
As we talked about earlier, your dog may be eating grass to fulfill a nutritional deficiency in their diet. This could be a sign that your dog isn’t getting enough vegetables.
You can try switching their food entirely, but many owners don’t enjoy going through this process – especially because introducing new food can cause other problems. Instead, try adding some steamed veggies to their everyday intake of food.
You can steam vegetables like broccoli, celery, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach for your dog. Add them in with their normal meals, or serve them up as a fun treat.
Entertain Them Elsewhere
It’s very common for a dog to chew on things – anything – simply because they’re bored. If your dog is chewing on grass or plants, you can try to distract this destructive behavior by giving them a toy or a bone to chew on instead.
Natural materials or nylon bones are usually the best options, and many toys and bones today are designed to clean your dog’s teeth and relieve pain from teething. Some dog owners even try CBD to calm their dog’s stress levels.
Use a Natural Repellent
If you’re concerned that your dog is going to ruin your yard or plants, you can try using a natural home scent to keep them away. These scents won’t harm your dog, but they will keep them uninterested.
Try one of the following:
- Black/Cayenne Pepper
- Coffee Grounds
- Lemon Juice & Vinegar
Dogs typically do not like these scents, so they’ll stay away from them.
Ways to Settle Your Dog’s Stomach
If your dog has an upset stomach, it could be for several reasons. He may have eaten something he shouldn’t have, or he could be experiencing bacterial imbalances in his tummy. Either way, there are a few things you can do to help:
- Let your dog fast for 12 to 24 hours to empty its system
- Feed your dog ice cubes to keep them hydrated
- Give your dog 100% canned pumpkin to help digestion
Of course, you should always monitor your dog’s symptoms and contact your vet if you notice them getting worse.
What Can Dogs Not Eat?
While grass isn’t going to make your dog sick, there are many other foods and substances that will. Check out this list of some of the most toxic foods for dogs:
- Human Vitamins
- Macadamia Nuts
If your dogs get into anything on the list above, you must contact your vet immediately.