It’s no surprise that livestock animals like cows, sheep, and goats love gnawing on grass. Grazing is what they do, because their stomachs are able to digest all of the cellulose in grass. But unlike these animals, which are in the ruminant family of mammals, dogs are omnivores, related to meat-eating hunters like wolves. Yet, if you own a dog, you may have seen Fido snacking on grass while out in your backyard or on a walk. Is your dog not getting enough food? Could he be sick? Or is it totally normal dog behavior?
Though dogs eating grass might seem unusual, it’s actually a fairly common habit that many dog owners have noticed. Nor is it as strange as you might think. Though we think of canines as historically carnivorous, they actually evolved as omnivores that would eat whatever was available, including vegetation. Wild dogs, past and present, have been known to eat plants. So, no, simply eating grass won’t harm your pet. That is, unless the grass has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals, in which case you probably want to keep your pooch away from the grass altogether. Otherwise, this habit is probably nothing to worry about. On the other hand, these are the 12 things your dog should never, ever eat.
Aside from the fact that eating vegetation is in their DNA, different dogs might eat grass for different reasons. The name for the habit of eating something other than food is pica. While pica can be a cause for concern in humans, it’s usually nothing more than a sign of boredom in dogs, according to WebMD Pets. Or, Pet Health Network reports, your pup could simply like the taste or texture of grass, like a human munching on a celery stick.
However, there’s still a chance the habit may not be totally benign, especially if it’s frequent and your dog seems to be eating a lot of grass at a time. This could be a sign that she’s not getting enough fiber, and it might be time to switch to a dog food with higher fiber content. Also be on the lookout for any other signs that your dog isn’t feeling well. If your pet suddenly starts eating grass and then vomiting afterward, a vet visit might be in order, especially if it happens multiple times. Here are more signs your “healthy” dog may be sick.
Whatever the case, make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and playtime. Something as simple as a game of fetch might be all it takes to banish his boredom and get his mind off grass. Next, check out these 30 things your dog wishes you knew.