Written by Veterinary Dr Linda Simon
It can be quite concerning to see our dogs chowing down vigorously on a patch of grass, acting as if we rarely feed them at all. Owners worry not only about the effect the grass itself may have on the dog but also about the possibility of parasites such as intestinal worms and lungworm and toxins such as weed-killer and lawn feed. It is also possible for a grass blade to lodge in the throat, causing discomfort and local infection.
So, why do dogs eat grass? Well, there are various theories and no real consensus as of yet.
- Some believe it is a trait they have inherited from their ancestors, who are thought to have eaten grass to ‘purge’ themselves of indigestible material in their stomach as well as parasites.
- Others argue it is all fun and games and dogs enjoy pulling out the long stems, seeing it as entertainment to pass the time. They find their dog is more prone to grass-eating when left alone for long periods in their garden.
- There is a theory that a number of dogs find the grass tasty, particularly in the Spring and Summer months when the new grass is fresh and full of simple sugars.
- Those on low fibre diets may potentially eat grass to help bulk up their diet in a natural way.
- Another suggestion is that those with stomach and digestive issues will eat grass to help deal with the feeling of acid in their stomach and to throw up excess bile.
The true reason is likely a combination of all of the above and, for most, grass-eating is an occasional hobby that doesn’t cause any problems. It is important to ensure the grass has not been recently treated with any toxic products and that dogs are up to date with their parasite prevention.
If grass eating becomes excessive or is accompanied with other signs such as refusal to eat, chronic vomiting or weight loss we would need to look into things as there may be a gastrointestinal problem.
If your dog does have a sensitive stomach and you feel a change in food is worth a try, we recommend feeding a balanced and nutritious dog food such as Pooch & Mutt’s ‘Health and Digestion’. This complete dry kibble is made mainly from salmon and sweet potato; two ingredients which the majority of dogs will not be sensitive to and will be able to digest well. It is high in fibre to ensure good gut motility and is packed with beneficial ingredients such as parsley to reduce stool odour as well as prebiotics to aid gut health. Why not give it a try?
Shop at Pooch & Mutt