Dog Eating Grass Frantically? Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Dog eating grass frantically

Dog eating grass frantically?  Why do dogs eat grass anyway?  Do they need this green plant to help with their digestion?  Are they just hungry?  Here’s a question I get all the time.  Why is my dog eating grass?  The answers may actually surprise you.

Hi my name is mike and I’ve been training dogs for years now.  I decided to start this website in order to help out new and existing dog owners alike.  Today we will be discussing the question, “Is your dog eating grass frantically?”.  Why are they doing this?  Do dogs just love grass?  Lets find out shall we?

>>New Dog or new dog owner?  Need some help?<<

Dog Eating Grass Frantically Explained

Is your dog eating grass frantically?  They may be doing this for a wide range of reasons.  Lets look at a bit of background first.  Dogs have been observed eating grass or plants in one form or another for hundreds of years.  Even wild dogs tend to eat plants and grass apparently.  This appears to be an instinctual behavior and there are many potential reasons as to why dogs do this in the first place.

First lets talk about Pica.  This is a term given to a disorder where pets eat things that aren’t food.  Grass and plants generally fall into this category.  This may be happening because your dog is bored.  It could also be occurring because your dog has some nutrient deficiencies.  Since we can’t directly ask them, it’s hard to say.  This behavior is also more commonly seen in younger dogs and puppies.

Why Is My Dog Eating Grass?

Lets dig a bit deeper into this issue.  We have identified that your dog may just be bored or seeking extra nutrients in plants but is that the whole story?

Many vets and dog owners have expressed the possibility that dogs eat grass to make themselves sick up and thus feel better afterwards.  Research tells us that this is largely not the case.  Some dogs will get sick after eating grass but most wont.  There are conflicting views on both sides of this.  The prevailing wisdom seems to be that dogs wouldn’t know to seek out grass as a medication for an upset stomach due to the way their minds work.  Others will say that it could just be an instinctual connection passed down through the genes.  In either case,  grazing on grass does not appear to be an effective remedy for an upset stomach.

Dog Eating Grass For Digestion

There is also some serious thought being given to the digestion issue in general.  Some Vets claim that dogs may be eating grass and other plants to help their digestion along.  It’s a way for them to add extra fiber that makes it easier for them to digest in general.  There is also some thought on whether or not grass can be helpful in dealing with things like intestinal worms or parasites.  The grass and other plant matter may bring some relief there as well.

Either way, Many dogs do seem to do this on a regular basis and we can probably infer that improved digestion is a possible benefit from it.  What about the root cause though?  Is there something that is making your dog feel sick enough that they feel the need to eat grass?  Are there other hidden issues that could be revealed?  Lets find out!

dog eating grass root causes

Dogs Eating Grass Root Causes

So now that we have looked into some of the possible reasons your why your dog may be eating grass, lets tap into some of the possible root causes.  All of these are observational suggestions based on what I have come across in my experiences.  I strongly advise connecting with a vet or dog nutritionist if you find your dog is having a serious issue here.

Change In Diet

Sometimes when dogs change their diet, they can start acting a little funny or run into digestive issues.  This will usually manifest itself as loose stools or general stomach upset.  Your dog may even flat out refuse to eat the new food.  All of these can be normal reactions to new food in the diet.  A great way to mitigate this issue is by replacing a dog’s food in steps.  Mix in bigger and bigger amounts of the new food over a week or two and see how your dog responds.  I’ve used this method myself many times and it helps to limit stomach upset.  This also gives your dog a chance to get used to the new food as well.

Your dog may also just be intolerant to some of the new ingredients in the newer diet.  If that is the case, it would be a good idea to switch back to the older food and consult your vet or dog nutritionist for next steps.  If food is changed too abruptly or it doesn’t agree with your dog, they may start seeking out grass and other plants to augment their diet.

Boredom

Surprisingly enough, dogs like to eat away their boredom just like their human caretakers.  Could this be a learned behavior?  Seriously though, when dogs get bored or feel like they are being ignored, they may try to eat whatever is in sight.  If they are outside, it could happen to be your freshly manicured lawn.  If this is the case, There are some things we can do to correct this action.

First off, give your pup some attention!  You showing your dog a bit more attention may be exactly what they need to stop eating out of boredom.  This will usually be more of a juvenile or puppy dog behavior.  They should grow out of it over time and learn to do other things to keep occupied.  You could also help remedy this by playing with them a bit or channeling that boredom into constructive things like chasing a bone or playing fetch.

Secondly, give your dog a bit more exercise.  They may just need you to work them out a bit more.  I would advise at least 3 10-15 min walks a day.  On top of this, some play time and training time are great ways to keep your dog active and avoid that boredom.

Lastly, show your dog how to entertain themselves.  Get them some bones or toys.  Show them how to play with them and train them to do so.  This will help your dog to adjust based on the current circumstances.  If you are busy, they should still feel like they have things to do.

PICA

I did briefly discuss Pica earlier but I wanted to dive a bit more into it here.  First off, what is Pica?  Pica is defined as the ingestion of nonnutritive substances for a period of 1 month or longer.  This may be a fairly benign thing when we talk about dogs and grass but it could also be life threatening if they eat plants too.  Some plants are toxic and can cause serious harm or even death when they are eaten.

What’s the best way to deal with this?  Definitely reach out to your local vet.  They will be able to discuss the situation with you in greater detail and determine the right treatment options for you and your pet.  I want to stress that grass eating doesn’t seem to be dangerous in and of itself.  The problem could come if your dog starts practicing that behavior with other inedible objects like say wood or metal shards.

preventative measures for dog eating grass

Preventive Measures For Dog Eating Grass

So now that we have gone a bit deeper into some of the root causes of why your dog may be eating grass, lets talk about some of the things you could do to help prevent these actions in the future.

High Fiber Diet For Dogs

One of the things your dog could be lacking in their diet is fiber.  This may be why they go out seeking grass to help with their digestion in the first place.  I would suggest adding some dietary fiber to their dog food diet and see where that gets you.

Talking to your vet is always a good idea when it comes to changing up your dog’s diet.  They will be able to give you some good information on how your dog should be eating and what you can do to change it.  Your vet may also point you to a dog nutritionist.  These people specialize in dog diets and optimizing your dog’s health in general.  Talking to one of them would be of great benefit if you have further questions as well.

Dog Training

If you think your dog is eating grass because they are bored or just acting out, training might be just the thing for them.  A quality training program can provide the foundation for a well behaved and well adjusted dog.  The earlier you start your dog down this path, the better.  Puppies generally are the easiest to train as they can be a bit more flexible or have not established any long term behavior patterns of their own yet.  With that being said, it is still no problem to train an older dog but it may take some time to unlearn bad behaviors and get them onto your program.

With dog training specifically you could always use a trainer if you wanted but the majority of the day to day work and reinforcement would be up to you.  I would suggest taking a look at this guide here.  It’s a home dog training manual that cuts out both the expense and hassle of finding a competent dog trainer.  Your dog will also be more responsive to you in the long run.  You already have an established bond with them that can be utilized to great effect when it comes to training in general.

Vet Visit

Your dog may be having issues because there is something wrong as well.  They could have an intestinal parasite or be suffering from Pica as explained above.  If either of these are the case, It’s a good idea to get them to the vet.  A vet will be able to more accurately diagnose what could be going on and help you come up with some actionable information.

Owning a dog with health conditions can be stressful at times but when treated properly, many of them can go on to live completely normal and happy lives.  The proper vet can help you sort out this information and work with you and your dog to get the help needed.  They may suggest things like behavioral therapy for your dog.  There may also be a pharmaceutical solution depending on the root problem.  The important thing here is to work with your vet and develop a plan.  They are there to help after all and no one wants to see their pet suffer needlessly if there is a treatable solution out there.

Dog Eating Grass Frantically Summarized

We have covered quite a bit of information here.  We were able to answer the original, “Dog eating grass frantically?” question.  We were also able to look into some of the root causes as to why this may have been happening in the first place.

There are conditions out there like Pica which can be life threatening to your dog if not addressed early on.  With treatment, you and your pup should be able to work through the issue and see a positive outcome for all involved.

There could also be issues with diet.  Maybe your dog is not getting enough fiber or they just don’t agree with the food they are eating.  A vet or dog nutritionist could help sort this out with you in an effective manner.

It’s possible that a parasite or intestinal worm may be involved as well.  Once again, your vet is a great resource for this and should be able to help you navigate through the problem to a positive outcome.

Bottom line, dogs eat grass from time to time.  It seems to be part of their instinctual makeup.  If you see your dog eating grass every once and a while, I would probably just let it be.  If you think it’s becoming an issue or notice other warning signs, contact your vet and explore the problem more thoroughly.

 

References

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/914765

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_behavior

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