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Even if it’s obvious that your cherished canine buddy is not a cow, you can get the wrong idea if you see them chewing grass. You might even be worried. Have they recently eaten? Bored? Sick? Will they become sick if they eat grass?
First, you should know that you are not the only one who is worried about your dog, especially if it has been eating grass and then throwing up.
The condition is known medically as pica and is defined by the ingestion of non-food items regularly. Pica can be an indication that your dog is suffering from some kind of nutritional shortage, but more often than not, it is only a symptom that your dog is bored, particularly when it is practiced by pups and younger dogs.
Pica is a frequent condition (it has been noticed in wild dogs as well, and it may be perfectly normal), and this type of pica does not typically result in a significant amount of health complications for the dog. The vast majority of vets regard it as a typical canine habit. The results of a limited study including 49 dog owners who made sure their pets had unrestricted access to grass and other plants indicated that 79% of the dogs had consumed plants at some point in their lives. According to the results of yet another survey on canines that consume plants, the grass is the most common plant consumed.
Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?
There is a wide range of potential explanations for why your dog is grazing on your yard.
Some people believe that when a dog isn’t feeling well, it can try to make themselves throw up by eating grass so that they might feel better. This theory is supported by the observation that some dogs do this. Others challenge this notion on the grounds that it has not been demonstrated that dogs are capable of making decisions as complex as choosing to soothe an upset stomach by eating grass.
There is evidence to show that the majority of dogs that eat grass are not sick prior to doing so, or at least they do not appear to be. According to the owners of the dogs, less than 10 percent of the dogs appear to be sick before they consume grass. Eating grass typically does not result in vomiting, as less than 25 percent of dogs that frequently graze throw up after eating grass.
Your dog may be eating grass to improve digestion, treat intestinal worms, or fulfill some unmet nutritional need, like the need for fiber. Other possible explanations include treating intestinal worms and parasites. According to the findings of one study that was published, a small poodle consumed grass and subsequently threw up on a daily basis for seven years. The owner of the dog claimed that after three days of feeding the dog a meal that was high in fiber, the dog had completely given up chewing grass. There is also the potential that your dog like the flavor or texture of grass for no other reason than that it is pleasant to him.
Is Eating Grass Bad for Dogs?
It is possible that your dog is trying to calm an upset stomach by eating grass, and some puppies do vomit shortly after eating grass. This could be an indication that your dog is trying to ease the discomfort. In spite of this, the results of a small study that was carried out by the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, showed that only about 22 percent of the dogs that were studied frequently vomited after eating grass, and only about 9 percent frequently showed signs of illness prior to eating grass. The findings of the study led the researchers to conclude that eating grass and other plants is a natural behavior of domestic dogs.
However, even seemingly harmless actions can occasionally have negative consequences. It’s possible that the grass in your yard has been treated with herbicides or pesticides that are harmful to dogs. Dogs that eat grass run the risk of ingesting intestinal parasites, such as roundworms and hookworms, that are left behind in animal feces. This risk increases if the dog eats raw grass. In either scenario, it is possible that your veterinarian will wish to examine your pet by analyzing blood samples or feces samples to look for signs of toxicity or parasites.
If you find that your dog is eating grass more frequently or more excessively than usual, you should be on the lookout for possible ailments that could be the underlying cause of the habit. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, bloody stools, lethargy, and lip licking.
Should I Stop My Dog from Eating Grass? If So, How?
If you think that your dog is eating grass because they are bored, it would be in your best interest to make sure that they get plenty of opportunities to run and play. Get them involved in some enjoyable pursuits. To keep them interested, you can either try tossing a Frisbee or playing another type of interactive game with them, or you can buy them a durable chew toy.
If you suspect that your dog’s pica behavior is brought on by a nutritional deficiency, upgrading to higher-quality dog food, particularly one that is rich in fiber, may be able to assist reduce the symptoms of the condition.
It is important to keep in mind that certain herbicides and pesticides that are used on lawns can be highly toxic, especially if they are consumed, even though the majority of experts say that grazing itself is not dangerous. In addition, several household and garden plants that are commonly used are poisonous, which may result in difficulties if your dog nibbles on the grass together with these plants. Check the website of the Animal Poison Control Center of ASPCA, which maintains a list of poisonous and non-toxic plants, to ensure that the plants in and surrounding the area where your dog is eating grass are safe for him to consume.