Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

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by Caroline Griffith

Why is Your Dog Eating Grass?

Grass eating is a very common occurrence which almost every dog will do at some point.
Let’s start with the first question on every dog owner’s lips; is it safe for a dog to eat grass?

The simple answer is yes, although if the grass has been sprayed with gardening chemicals it may not be! Most dogs will choose grass that is out in nature, perhaps eating grass on their walks on from a more natural part of your garden.

Regurgitation

Some dogs can be seen doing this almost on a daily basis, other dogs will only eat grass now and again. Usually a dog will vomit the grass back up again, this is actually not ‘being sick’, in terms of nausea, it is a natural process called ‘regurgitation’. It is the same as a dog eating too much bone, regurgitating it and then often eating it again. The regurgitation simply makes the bone or grass easier for them to digest the second time round.

Dogs Know What They Need

Dogs choose grass based on how it feels to them, the vibrations or the scents from it. In most cases it is fresh greener grass that is eaten, with dogs specifically choosing one type or section. Dogs do have an innate way of knowing what is going to help them, and what will not. There is in fact a science behind this innate sense, known as Zoo pharmacognosy, or sometimes Botanical Self-Healing.

Like almost all animals, dogs have a gland next to their scent gland called a VNO (Vomeronasal Organ). This organ is literally able to detect frequencies, so if a plant such as grass is fresh and vibrant, or of a variety they sense will be of use them, they will be attracted to it and want to eat it. It might be that your dog senses something they need nutritionally or something about the grass that would to support their digestive process. Choosing all manner of healing herbs, plants, and even food types, is a very natural process stemming from their roots as wild animal.

Is There Any Nutrition for My Dog in Grass?

If a dog chooses grass for nutritional reasons, they are very likely to be gaining something called Chlorophyll from the grass. The pigment that makes grass green. Some grasses also contain potassium, a mineral which dogs instinctively know that they need and other types have Vitamin C, which again your dog can be attracted to.

The grass can also contain useful prebiotic fibre that can assist a dog in digestion process. Prebiotics are the food for the beneficial bacteria, the probiotics. Dogs will aim to balance their digestive flora given the chance to do so. Grass can help them do this.

Eating Grass – Does This Mean My Dog Feels Sick?

As mentioned already, the more vibrant and fresher the grass, the more your dog will be attracted to it as they can sense that grass better. As predominantly carnivorous animals, dogs do not have a great ability to digest the cellulose of plants, especially in their raw state. If your dog is attracted to eating grass for a nutritional reason, they are still likely to bring it back up due to an inability to actually digest it.

Occasionally dogs will eat grass if they do genuinely feel nausea, however this is actually a rare event. It simply appears they felt nauseous because the grass is ‘bought back up again’ afterwards. Believe it not they are not likely to actually be feeling sick and eating the grass because of that.

Supplementing Their Diet

If your dog is eating grass regularly, it may be worth considering some supplements to improve their digestive system. Initially we would recommend Prebiotics, perhaps adding them as food states to the dog’s meals. Classic prebiotic foods are Chicory root, Blueberries, Asparagus tips and Garlic (in safe doses 4kg dog would have roughly ½ clove daily).

The great thing about Garlic too is that it is a natural anti-biotic, both eliminating negative bacteria in the gut whilst feeding the beneficial types. If your dog is eating a lot of grass it may be worth adding a chopped dose of fresh garlic to their dinners for a few days, just to keep any bugs at bay.

A Raw Diet Will Help

Lastly, it is much more common for a dog fed processed food to eat grass.
Whilst there have been no supporting studies, this is likely to be due to the effect processed food has on the dog’s carnivorous gut system. The stagnation of the stomach and subsequent imbalance of small intestine bacteria.

A raw, real food provider we may be but genuinely grass eating could well be a sign that your dog would benefit from a switch to fresh, real food.

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