Why is My Dog Eating Grass?

Madelene Hissom · Dec 2, 2021

Author: Janine DeVault

Have you noticed your dog chewing on grass when out for walks or grazing in the backyard? It’s very common for dogs to eat grass, but you might find yourself wondering why your pup is so fixated on this greenery. 

Below, we’ll discuss several possible reasons why your dog is eating grass. We’ll also cover when it’s time to be concerned and the potential benefits or risks of munching on this vegetation.

Why Do Dogs Eat grass?

There are several reasons that your dog might be inclined to eat grass, ranging from an instinctual impulse to feeling anxious.

Eating Grass Is an Instinct

Eating grass is believed to be a leftover instinct from the days when dogs used to be scavengers. In the wild, dogs would eat anything they could find, including grass and prey. These days, the closest our canine pets come to foraging is begging under the dinner table, but they may spend some time grazing in the backyard as well. 

A Nutritional Deficiency

Some experts assert that eating grass is a form of Pica, a condition in which dogs will eat nonfood items. Pica could be caused by a lack of sufficient nutrients in a dogs diet, but it can also be triggered by emotional issues such as separation anxiety and stress. Dogs with Pica caused by lack of nutrients will often eat dirt, rocks, or other items in an attempt to resolve the nutrient deficiency. 

Fiber is an important part of your dog’s diet as it aids food in passing through the digestive tract. Since grass is a fantastic source of fiber, some believe dogs will seek it out if their diet doesn’t contain sufficient roughage. Your dog may graze on grass in an attempt to relieve constipation. 

Your Dog Feels Anxious or Bored

Sometimes dogs eat grass when they are feeling anxious or bored. All kinds of scenarios could contribute to their anxiety, such as a new canine companion, unfamiliar surroundings, or being left alone for extended periods. Whatever the case, chewing on grass serves as an outlet for their anxious energy in the same way as chewing on toys, shoes, or your furniture.  

Bored dogs often chew on things in an attempt to amuse themselves, and grass is no exception. A dog may chew grass in the same way that a human might absent-mindedly snack when bored. 

With these points in mind, ensure your pup has access to plenty of mental stimulation, such as healthy chews, to help keep their mind occupied and provide an outlet for anxiety. Natural Farm bully sticks are a long-lasting chew that offers excellent entertainment for your pup. Filled Bones are a great mental stimulation for your furry friend as well as they love the challenge of getting every bit of the filling out. If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, make sure to read this article on how to overcome separation anxiety in dogs.

To Ease an Upset Stomach?

It is commonly said that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting when they are experiencing an upset stomach. Whether or not this is true is a popular point of debate. Studies have shown that only a tiny percentage of dogs seem to be experiencing upset stomachs before vomiting up grass. 

It’s entirely possible that many dogs just happen to eat grass and then vomit due to the grass they’ve eaten, not because they’ve been experiencing indigestion prior to eating the grass. 

Ultimately, whether or not grass truly helps relieve an upset stomach is still undetermined.

They Enjoy the Taste

In many cases, a dog’s tendency to eat grass can likely be chalked up to them simply enjoying the flavors. Grass may have a distinctive taste that is pleasing to your dog. 

Is Eating Grass Bad for Dogs?

Consuming grass isn’t bad for your dog at all, but it could be harmful if the grass has been sprayed with toxic pesticides. With this in mind, try to discourage your dog from eating grass in public gardens or areas that may have been treated with chemical pesticides.

Additionally, grass could lead to a loose stool or vomiting if consumed in large quantities. This isn’t dangerous as the issue will correct itself in time, but you should be aware that your dog may be prone to accidents if they have grazed extensively. 

The Bottom Line

There’s still a lot that is unknown about dogs and their propensity for eating grass. There are myriad reasons why your dog may graze on the greenery in your backyard, ranging from instinct to boredom, and typically there is no cause for concern. However, if you notice your dog has a consistently upset stomach or is frequently vomiting, contact your veterinarian for a checkup. There could be a larger health issue at play.