Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Explore the many reasons your pup prefers a mouthful of lawn over a bowl of tasty food.

If you’re like many dog owners, you may have spent countless hours researching and purchasing the ideal food for your dog. Even after all that work to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for your pup, your four-legged family may still have a habit of heading out to the backyard to chow down on plain-old grass.

Actually, it's quite common for dogs to snack on grass. There are times when it can be a cause for concern, but, usually, it’s just your dog’s natural instincts kicking in. 

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Why is My Dog Eating Grass?

According to a study analyzed by researchers at UC Davis, 68% of dogs eat grass on a regular basis. Since your dog can’t explain why they do it, you will need to take some clues from other behaviors to pinpoint the reason.

It’s possible that your dog simply eats grass because they like it! Grass isn’t particularly appetizing to humans, but your dog might find the taste of grass refreshing and, dare we say, delicious. It can also be an entertaining activity for dogs that are prone to boredom.

Your dog might also be eating grass for a deep, instinctual reason. Grass does contain high amounts of fiber, which is important for digestion. Some pet experts guess that dogs eat grass because it helps them to digest their food.

Most of what we know about why dogs eat grass comes down to guesswork. Speculating on it can be fascinating, but there isn’t a lot of hard data available to draw from.

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Is It Safe For My Dog To Eat Grass?

Okay, so humans don’t totally understand a lot about why certain dogs just love to eat grass. But at least you can rest assured that your dog isn’t going to hurt themselves by eating it.

As a general rule, it is safe for most dogs to eat grass. If your dog is prone to digestive issues or has a special diet, you may want to pay special attention to when their grass-eating urge strikes and if it is making symptoms worse.

After your dog ingests grass, you may notice:

  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Constipation
  • Increased bowel movements

These symptoms are considered to be within the realm of “normal” when they happen occasionally. If eating grass regularly triggers these symptoms, though, that’s another story, and you should talk to your dog’s vet. Symptoms of indigestion and stomach upset should not be happening to your pup every day, and could be an indicator that there is something else at play. Other things to watch out for are weight loss and a loss of energy—if you notice either of those happening to your dog as a result of eating grass and getting sick afterward, call the vet.

If eating grass gets your dog sick, try to keep your dog away from the backyard immediately after eating to prevent them from eating your lawn for dessert.

If your dog has a habit of eating grass and other plants, read up on common plants that can sometimes be toxic for dogs so that you can make sure your backyard is a safe place.

Also, you should be extra-careful to keep them away from your lawn immediately after seeding, fertilizing, or apply a weed removal product to your lawn. Remember, too, that while BarkYard products contain ingredients that are safe for your pets to be around when they are used as directed, they are not meant to be eaten by your dog!

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