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Have you ever been walking your dog and looked down to see him or her reaching for grass? Or checked on them in the yard, just to see them chowing down on some blades? It may seem odd, but there are a few explanations and theories behind the behavior. Here are some reasons why dogs eat grass.
One of the most common beliefs is that dogs eat grass is to help with stomach issues. For instance, some dogs may eat grass to help calm their upset stomach. And in some cases, dogs may use grass to purge what's bothering them by vomiting. The blades can tickle their throat or stomach, causing a gagging reaction. Most dogs, however, don't vomit when they eat grass.
Pro Tip: If your dog eats grass and then throws it up, it doesn't mean the grass is toxic to them. In fact, most species of grass have benefits for dogs. Just make sure your dog isn't eating shamrocks (or three-leaf clovers), which can be toxic in excess.
A second potential reason that dogs eat grass is to supplement their diet with some extra nutrition. Grass has fiber and other vitamins that can be beneficial to your pup. Eating grass could indicate that your dog isn't getting enough nutrients in their diet. Some argue that there's no way a dog would know they were lacking nutrients in the first place, let alone correct the issue on their own. But sometimes our bodies tell us what we're missing or needing.
Pro Tip: If your dog is eating grass and you're concerned about his or her diet, talk with your vet. They may suggest a change in food or adding vitamins and supplements to your dog's diet.
Another common theory is simple but plausible: dogs eat grass because they like the taste. Dogs eat lots of things that seem unappetizing to humans, from bugs to fuzz to poop and beyond. Grass doesn't seem so weird compared to all the things dogs are willing or happy to put in their mouths.
Pro Tip: If your dog seems to eat grass because they enjoy it, make sure they don't overeat it. Too much of anything isn't usually a good thing.
One more thought is that dogs eat grass because they're bored and it's something to do. When dogs don't get enough physical exercise or mental stimulation, they become bored and can resort to destructive behaviors, like chewing or eating things (including grass!).
Pro Tip: Ways to keep your dog entertained include physical and mental activity (exercise, brain games, training, etc.), play time and more.
Learn more: Why It's Important to Play With Your Dog