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Why is my dog eating grass?

It can be quite concerning to see our dogs chewing vigorously on a patch of long grass, especially at this time of year. We know they're not hungry so why are they doing it? 

 

We all 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, lungworms and toxins such as weedkillers 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 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 stomachs as well as parasites.  

  • Others argue it’s just dogs enjoying pulling out the long stems, seeing it as entertainment - they find their dog is more likely to eat grass when left alone for long periods in the garden.  

  • There is a theory that several dogs find the grass tasty, particularly in the spring months, when the new grass is fresh and full of simple sugars.  

  • Dogs 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 actual reason is likely a combination of all the above, and for most, grass-eating 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 by other signs such as refusal to eat, chronic vomiting, or weight loss, we would recommend investigating as there may be a gastrointestinal problem.  

 

We spoke about grass eating (both dogs and cats) in a previous blog if it would be helpful to read again. 

 

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?  

Eating grass is considered normal behaviour for dogs. They probably won't get much nutrition from it, but for an otherwise healthy dog that is regularly wormed, eating grass every now and again is unlikely to be something to worry about. However, dogs should never be allowed to eat grass that has been treated with fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides.  

 

There is also a risk that slugs or snails that have travelled over the grass could infect your dog with a lungworm!  


If they are eating grass excessively, is regularly sick, or is showing signs of other health issues, then you should always speak to your vet.  

 

How can I stop my dog from eating grass?  

Some dogs may eat grass simply because they are bored, so providing them with more mental stimulation and physical exercise could help. You could try giving them puzzle feeders, playing obedience games with them, or taking them for longer or more stimulating walks.  

 

If you are worried that your dog is eating too much grass, then it’s possible that your dog may have an underlying health issue or that you need to review their diet. Again, in these circumstances, it’s always best to do this with the help of your vet.  

 

When should I contact my vet if I think my dog is eating too much grass?  

Eating grass occasionally is normal for dogs, but you should contact your vet if your dog:  

 

  • Shows other signs, such as not eating the food you give them, more tired than usual, or having diarrhoea or constipation.  

  • Eats grass obsessively.  

  • Eats grass and then is being sick.  

 

If you're ever concerned about your dog’s health, then it’s always best to speak to your vet for advice, but feel free to ask one of our team members if you have any queries. 

 

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