Many people want to know why their dog eats grass. Truth be told, there are many reasons that dogs eat grass. Some dogs just like to eat it, others are lacking a nutrient from their diet, and others may not be feeling well. Fortunately, most veterinarians believe this isn’t something you should worry too much about, as long as there are no dangerous fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass itself. Understanding why your dog does it can help you address the behavior.
Grass contains nutrients that a dog might crave, especially if your dog is on a lower quality diet. If you notice that your dog has been eating a lot of grass or even houseplants, then you may want to introduce vegetables to his meals. As natural scavengers, dogs search for nutrition anywhere they can find it. He could be filling a nutritional need that his normal food isn’t giving him, like fiber.
It is possible that your dog finds the flavor or texture of grass satisfying. In some cases, eating grass is just something to do to pass the time. He’s got the backyard to himself, but not much to do there. Make sure you are providing regular exercise and mental stimulation for your dog.
Although it isn’t all that bad, watch out for a sudden increase in grass eating. It could be a sign of a more serious illness that your dog is trying to self-treat, due to a natural instinct to induce vomiting because of an upset stomach. If your dog is eating a lot of grass, then regularly experiencing stomach upset or vomiting, you should contact your veterinarian.
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your vet might run a variety of tests including blood work, a fecal exam, x-rays, and an abdominal ultrasound. For many dogs, eating grass is a symptom of a minor illness or nothing at all. However, more serious conditions are sometimes to blame.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery county and northern Chester County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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