- 1 What Dog Licking Grass Means
- 2 Is Dogs Eating Grass Normal?
- 3 Should I Worry If My Dog Vomits After Eating Grass?
- 4 Video Corner
Did you just see your dog licking grass? How in the world can that taste good? Why would a dog want to eat grass in the first place? What if it hurts him or causes your pup to vomit?
Well do our best to answer all of these, and more!
What Dog Licking Grass Means
It’s more likely your dog is eating the grass, but why would a dog do that? We simply can’t be 100% positive, but there are some pretty good theories.
Is it Pica or Poor Nutrition?
Pica is the name for a disorder in humans where the person consumes things that aren’t edible, like marbles or even dangerous objects, like nails. Some people think dogs will eat things like grass in order to fulfil a nutritional deficit, or a pica like desire.
Have you ever seen your dog eat his own waste? According to the AKC, about 25% of dogs will do this, probably because their diets are lacking. This normally isn’t problematic, until your dog starts eating the waste of other animals.
How is your pup’s diet?
If you think your dog’s nutritional plan is lacking, consider enhancing it or speaking to your veterinarian about how. Just because your dog’s diet meets minimum nutritional standards doesn’t mean it is ideal!
Is it Instinctive?
Other biologists think dogs licking grass, or eating it, could be out of an instinctual drive. Scientifically, dogs fall under the order Carnivora, meaning they are carnivores. In truth, our domesticated dogs are closer to omnivores.
Dogs, and wolves before them, have adapted to thrive on a diet rich in animal meat. They would and will (in the wild) still consume plant products if nothing else is available. Even wild Grey wolves will scavenge when they have to.
Dogs still aren’t 100% carnivorous and aren’t exactly complete omnivores. Dogs are descendants of wolves, and biologists examining wolf stool samples found that an estimated 11-47% of wolves also eat grass.
Just because modern dogs don’t need to hunt for their meals doesn’t mean that the instinctual drive isn’t there.
Eating grass could be an instinctive drive especially for malnourished or undernourished dogs. This, sadly, seems to be nearly 40% of domesticated dogs in America. Or rather, an estimated 40% of dogs are eating poor diets.
Is it Stomach Upset?
It isn’t uncommon for a dog to vomit after eating grass. Biologists have theorized the animal’s eating grass behavior might help soothe an upset stomach, or rather be a means of inducing vomit.
The experts might disagree. Less than 25% of dogs are estimated to have become sick after eating grass. It’s far more likely we just see grass in our dog’s vomit, and assume he vomited because of the grass (but no one is sure).
Grass could work as cushioning in the stomach. Perhaps this is a natural instinctual drive to protect the internal organs from sharp objects animals would consume in the past.
Is Your Dog Licking Grass Because He Likes it?
Have you considered the simplest explanation there is? Perhaps your dog simply likes the taste of grass! He might just enjoy the texture of grass in his mouth, or like the taste after chewing it.
When you consider many dogs will eat their own waste, it isn’t hard to imagine they might enjoy chowing down on some grass once in a while!
- Dogs eating the waste of other animals, such as cats or farm animals, can pick up dangerous parasites or pathogens in contaminated faeces. Your dog is also at risk in places like dog parks, where owners don’t always clean up after their pets.
After all, many humans smoke sticks of tobacco combined with other chemicals that don’t offer any health benefits at all (the opposite in fact) and usually don’t taste good.
Is Dogs Eating Grass Normal?
Believe it or not, this is completely normal! Many dogs will do this, even though we still don’t know for sure why. Most owners will see their dogs do this at least once, and you might even see wild dogs eat grass (if you happen to observe wild dogs).
Many veterinarians will even consider it normal behaviour for your dog!
How Can You Stop Your Dog from Eating Grass?
Our grasses in our backyard don’t make the best snacks for our dogs, regardless of whether they like them or not. What if you’ve treated your yard with some type of insecticide or weed killer? What if you’ve sprayed another type of chemical?
Dogs also face the risk of ingesting intestinal parasites they might find on those grasses. This can mean, at the very least, GI upset and an eventual trip to the veterinarian.
You can actually train your dog to not eat grass, but it requires strict observation and consistency! Your dog might learn to avoid grass in exchange for a better option, like a treat reward.
You’ll have to be very vigilant, and bring treats when you walk your pup or go on those potty breaks.
You could also restrict your dog to certain areas of the yard. The training really isn’t that hard and can accompany potty training.
Make sure you restrict your dog from any areas of the yard treated with pesticides or other chemicals. They could track the chemicals in on their paw pads, lick their paws, and ingest the chemicals.
Should I Worry If My Dog Vomits After Eating Grass?
It’s natural for dogs to vomit occasionally. This is the body’s way of expelling irritants. You don’t need to worry if this happens once in a while. It usually won’t be a problem at all.
Frequent vomiting, like multiple times within 24 hours, or diarrhoea along with vomiting, is a problem. There are many pathogens that can cause this, and some are very dangerous.
Parvo, for example, will cause intense and continuous vomiting/diarrhoea in dogs not vaccinated, until the animal either recovers or lapses into hypovolemic shock and dies. If untreated, Parvo is nearly always fatal in puppies.
Frequent or repeated vomiting requires veterinary attention.