Why do dogs eat grass?

It’s not uncommon for owners to find their dog eating grass, and you may be wondering what causes this behaviour. There are a number of reasons why your dog may be eating grass – it is actually a natural behaviour in dogs – and reassuringly, it is not usually the sign of a health issue.

Do dogs eat grass to vomit?

There is a common belief that dogs eat grass intentionally if they’re feeling under the weather or to make themselves sick.  However, a recent scientific study identified that only around 22% of dogs frequently vomit after eating grass and only 9% were reported to appear ill beforehand. And so, although some dogs do vomit, it does suggest that it is highly unlikely that dogs are using grass as a way to induce vomiting.

4 possible reasons why your dog is eating grass

And so, why are dogs eating grass?

1. They like it

It’s very likely that dogs are eating grass simply because they like the taste of it, particularly during the spring and summer months where grass is fresher and greener.

2. They’re bored

Your dog may be turning to digging up and eating grass for more psychological reason – perhaps because they’re not getting enough mental stimulation or are bored. Trying a few enrichment activities, such as food puzzles or indoor games such as hide and seek may help. Your dog may also benefit from a more strenuous walk somewhere new or more socialisation with other dogs, perhaps at a doggie day care.


3. They need fibre

Like humans, dogs need fibre in their diets to help digest their food more easily. If your dog isn’t getting enough fibre, they may be turning to grass (a great source of fibre). Try introducing more fibrous food, such as natural dry dog food, and see if this alters your dog’s behaviour.


4. They’re self-soothing

Alongside getting more fibre, your dog may be for other self-soothing reasons such as helping to settle their own stomach if they’re feeling a little under the weather.

For more on why your dog may be eating grass, view this video from vet Dr James Greenwood.

Is it bad for dogs to eat grass?

Eating grass is a common and normal behaviour amongst dogs and shouldn’t be anything that you need to feel worried about. However, it is important that your dog avoids eating grass that has been treated with pesticides. You should also talk to your vet about making sure your dog is safely protected from lungworm if there’s a risk that slugs or snails have travelled on the grass.  

What you should do if your dog eats grass

In most cases, you don’t have to do anything about your dog eating grass. If you think it may be a sign of boredom, you can try some different, more engaging form of enrichment.

When to contact your vet

Seek advice from your vet if you’re concerned about any of the following:

  • Grass consumption is becoming excessive
  • Your dog keeps eating grass and vomiting afterwards
  • Your dog is eating grass but no normal food

Why is my dog eating grass?

Dr James Greenwood shares more on why your dog may be eating grass and what to look out for.

Learn More

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