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Grass Eating in Dogs

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No one knows why some dogs eat grass, although it has been suggested that this harkens back to days when wolves hunted in packs and fed on the stomach contents of grass-eaters like deer and elk.  Some dogs probably like the taste or texture of grass, and others tend to eat grass when they are nauseous and want to vomit.  However, it is a myth that dogs “need” grass in order to vomit (they can vomit okay on their own).


Grass eating is not usually dangerous per se, but such vegetation is indigestible and can cause digestive upset in some dogs.  In fact, many dogs vomit or get diarrhea after eating grass.  In rare instances, dogs that have eaten large amounts of grass or other vegetable matter can even develop an obstruction in the digestive tract, which is a serious condition.


It is a good idea to discourage grass eating if your dog tends to vomit or get diarrhea from it.  Pets should also be prevented from grazing on lawns that have been recently treated with insecticides or herbicides, because these products can sometimes be irritating or toxic.  Dogs should also be prevented from eating indoor or outdoor plants that may be toxic.  Your veterinarian or poison control center can provide you with lists of toxic plants in your area.

 

Q&A

Why do dogs eat grass?

No one really knows—they may just like the taste or texture.


Do dogs need to eat grass in order to vomit?

No, dogs can vomit just fine without it.


Is it okay if my dog eats grass?

Grass eating is usually not too dangerous, but pets should be discouraged from doing it if it causes digestive upset.  Pets should also be prevented from eating toxic plants or grass that has been recently treated with a pesticide.

Credit: Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS
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