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Is it OK and Why do they do it?

There are a number of reasons dogs eat grass.
Grass eating for dogs doesn’t usually result in vomiting and less than ¼ regurgitate afterwards.  According to pets.webmd.com less than 10% are unwell (or at least appear to be unwell) when eating grass and most vets view eating grass as normal canine behaviour.  So how do you know if there is an underlying reason?

The most likely reason is that the dog is seeking to include something in the diet to assist with the gut whether it be aiding digestion, increasing fibre, diversity of nutrition or as a response to intestinal worms. Wild dogs have been documented eating grass and nearly 80% of domestic dogs under observation eat grass or other plants at one time or another.

Whilst pups are more likely to chew grass out of exploration or boredom some some older dogs appear to enjoy the texture of a grassy snack even when their regular diet is changed.

If you are concerned with your dog eating grass, and your dog is well otherwise, the first port of call is to check whether he/she is getting sufficient exercise.  This is to eliminate the possibility they are just doing it out of boredom.  Check the data on local plants in your area that may be toxic to dogs and remember that herbicides and pesticides used on your garden or lawn may be ingested.

If you believe she/he is contently tired and occupied, the next consideration is your dog’s diet.  In some cases the increase of fibre into a dog’s diet has lead to eating less grass.  Speak to your veterinarian about ways to safely introduce more fibre to the feeding regime and whether you need to investigate further.
As a rule, eating grass is not harmful as long as it has not been poisoned.  Remember also, that dog’s are omnivores which means they will consume plant foods in addition to meat. They will sometimes scavenge through matter where fruit or vegetables are decaying and when eating prey they consume digesting plant matter from the gut of the carcass.  Have you noticed how dogs are usually picky when it comes to eating grass and usually go for young tender shoots instead of bigger blades?  Younger shoots are more easily digested.

We recommend a raw diet and feed our dogs with ‘The Complete Pet Company’ pet food, which gives them a varied and well-rounded diet. If adjusting a canine diet be sure to do your homework and alter it gradually.

Check the data on local plants in your area that may be toxic to dogs and remember that herbicides and pesticides used on your garden or lawn may be ingested.

Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)