If you become worried watching your dog eat grass you’re not alone but rest assured this is completely normal dog behavior. It’s called Pica and it occurs when humans, or dogs, eat things that aren’t food, and it occurs for a variety of reasons. No one knows why, but everyone has a theory, including us.
REASON #1— Your Dog Might Have an Upset Stomach
A dog’s stomach is not designed to break down the fiber within the grass itself—therefore grass has no nutritional value. The common thought among dog owners and veterinarians is that dogs eat grass because they are ill and they need to vomit.
REASON #2—A Lack of Nutrients in Your Dogs’ Diet
Some believe that dogs eat grass because they are hungry or that they lack certain nutrients in their diet. If your dog eats food prepared at home it’s best to consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog is receiving the proper nutrition he or she needs.
REASON #3— Dog DNA
Eating grass is something our dogs’ ancestors did in order to survive. Before dogs were domesticated they foraged for food among the grass and leaves, eating whatever it is they were able to find, including mice, rabbits and even deer. Dog’s also needed precise hunting skills in order to feed their young and to survive as a pack. They obtained these skills by eating grass in order to conceal their scent allowing them to hide from prey.
REASON #4—Unwanted Worms and Parasites
Dogs’ today are protected from worms and other parasites but in the past they weren’t. It’s thought that animals that eat grass have a purpose in doing so. They eat the grass and then vomit, ridding their bodies of unwanted pests.
When your dog has the backyard all to himself he might be bored and eat grass in order to pass the time. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise and that he has a sturdy chew toy to chew on.
Dogs eat grass for a variety of reasons and most veterinarians consider this to be a normal, healthy part of a dogs’ life. While there is no nutritional value in grass it won’t hurt your dog to eat it unless of course, it’s sprayed with fertilizer or a pest control solution. Be sure to use non-toxic products on your lawn and be careful when out for a walk. Always look for signs that say chemicals have been used on the grass.