Why do Dogs Eat Grass?

 |  Feb 27th 2009  |   0 Contributions

Clients often ask me why their pet eats grass. "Eating grass" is the most popular search term on the Vet Blog. Clearly, people want to know the cause of grass eating.

Sadly, nobody knows why dogs eat grass. Plenty of theories are out there, but none of them has been proved conclusively.

Some dogs (a minority) eat grass regularly. These individuals graze frequently when they have the opportunity. They may like the taste of grass, or they may enjoy the act of chewing plant matter. Whatever their motivation, the activity is generally harmless as long as no chemicals have been applied to the lawn.

For most dogs, eating grass is correlated with gastrointestinal upset. Many dogs will eat grass before vomiting or having diarrhea. This has lead some people to conclude that dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

I am very skeptical about that. Although throwing up often relieves nausea, the act of vomiting is unpleasant. In my experience, dogs do not purposefully engage in activities that are unpleasant, regardless of whether the activity in question makes them feel better in the long run. Let's face it: dogs are generally short sighted.

I consider it more likely that dogs eat grass because they feel sick, and then they throw up the grass because they were going to throw up anyway.

But this does nothing to answer the original question. Why do so many dogs crave grass when they are nauseated? I'd be curious to find out what the readers think.

Photo: Sakura chows down. If only she could tell us why.


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