Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Is it safe?

All dogs munch on the grass at one time or another.  Young dogs are especially notorious turf eaters.  Pet parents should not worry too much about grass eating as long as the lawn has not been chemically treated.  You should consider all lawn fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides to be dangerous for pets, even the so-called “Pet Safe” products.


However, if your pooch habitually eats grass―whether he or she vomits or not―you should consult your vet about it.  There could be an underlying problem causing your dog to be a frequent grazer.


This article will briefly discuss why dogs eat grass and whether or not it is safe.  I’ll list some of the underlying reasons why research experts and practicing vets think dogs do this.  Believe it or not, “why does my dog eat grass?” is the most frequently asked question vets get from dog parents.

Anxiety Triggers

Just like some people, some dogs will suffer from anxiety attacks.  In fact, lots of dogs lose control when they are left alone.  Understanding the triggers that can make your dog anxious is crucial.

But, the main point of this post is to address one primary reason for grass eating.  That is canine anxiety―which is often overlooked as a cause of a dog’s grass eating.  Please read on to learn more about this seemingly odd grass-eating behavior.

Why Dogs Eat Grass―Some Theories

  • To settle their gaseous stomach―this is an unproven assumption, but grass blades can induce vomiting by stimulating the esophageal and stomach linings.
  • Maybe it’s hereditary―after all, wild dogs have been observed eating grass.
  • Dogs are omnivores―dogs on all-meat diets may just like an occasional taste of grass as a flavor change or for roughage…Salad bar, anyone?
  • Boredom―it’s possible that dogs just nibble grass because they are bored.
  • Nutritional deficiency―this has been suggested by some vets but it’s never actually been proven. The fact is that even dogs fed a complete balanced ration like to occasionally munch grass.

Is Grass Eating Safe?


Yes, as long as you know the grass has not been treated with anything.  Occasional grass eating is not an abnormal dog behavior to worry about.


However, if your dog frequently eats grass you should consult your vet immediately.  There could well be an underlying nutritional, disease or behavioral reason that’s causing your dog to chronically eat grass.   And, if your dog shows sudden or acute symptoms―like acting oddly, body chills, or whimpering a lot―then take the dog to the vet right away.  It’s possible he or she has eaten something poisonous or swallowed pieces of a shoe, toy, or another object.  Your vet will recognize the symptoms upon examination and be able to help the dog if there is time.

Canine Anxiety


Just like people, dogs can develop anxieties.  And, like some people who compulsively quell their fears with binge behaviors, some upset or nervous dogs may do the same by binge grass eating and sudden vomiting.  A dog’s anxiety may be caused by a myriad of things.


Some of the common causes are:

  • Loud noises like gunfire, fireworks or thunder
  • Being left alone in the house or car
  • New pets or people coming into their home
  • Strange vet clinic sights, sounds, and smells
  • Or, a sudden habitat or dietary change


As a pet parent, it’s up to you to correctly recognize and manage these dog anxieties when they appear.  You can only do this by having lots of loving patience and understanding.  You must be willing to work with your dog.  This may mean making some personal lifestyle changes and/or consulting a good dog trainer or dog walker to help you.  The absolute worst thing you can do is give up on the dog just because it fears something.

In Conclusion


I’ve listed some of the common theories as to why dogs may eat grass.  As a rule, dog parents shouldn’t be alarmed if their best bud munches on the untreated lawn.  Normally speaking, occasional grass eating by dogs is a fairly common and harmless thing.


However, chronic habitual or sudden nervous grass eating is not common―your dog needs to go to the vet. There could be an underlying problem causing your dog to consume a lot of grass.  Only your vet can properly determine the true cause of this behavior and treat the dog accordingly.  If the vet determines there is no immediate physical problem, then he or she may suggest some dog feeding, training or activity guidelines.


I hope this brief article about grass eating has been helpful to you.  As always, thanks for visiting our Love and Kisses Pet Sitting blog, and be sure to share us with your friends! I

If you have a cat that is eating grass you may want to check out Why do Cats eat grass



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