Why dogs eat grass

During the last month, every time I took my five-year-old Golden Labrador, Romeo, for a walk, I had to be extra cautious. Romeo’s grass munching habit got me really worried. He would sniff around and start chewing or rather nibbling grass.
Apparently, it is a general tendency and nearly all dogs eat grass I was told by experts.


For belly problems: Dogs usually eat grass when they have an upset stomach. The grass blades tickle the throat and the stomach lining. This aids the dog in vomiting and your pet is relieved from the discomfort of indigestion or upset stomach.

Roughage need: Experts believe that the grass eating habit can also be related to the fact that canines need a little roughage in their daily diet. When this dietary need is not met, they chew a little grass.

Intestinal worms: Some pet parents feel their dogs eating grass is a sign that the pet has intestinal worms and take it as a sign of deworming. But Dr NB Shivaprakash says that this cannot be used a yardstick for deworming.

Unmet nutritional needs:There is a chance that your dog’s nutritional needs are not being met. You can also talk to your vet and ask him to chalk out a diet plan for your pet. Give him a well-balanced diet.

To kill boredom: In many cases, the dog will be nibbling grass out of sheer boredom. Make sure your pet is not ignored. Apart from their physical exercise, you need to cater to mental exercise as well.

Basic instinct: Before being domesticated, dogs used to spend their life out in the wild. It was during this time that they would eat wild berries and shrubs. After being domesticated, the kind of food dogs eat has changed, but the grass munching craving has not left them.

Compulsive behaviour: In rare cases, some dogs develop an obsessive compulsive disorder and keep nibbling grass. Only an expert will be able to tell you why... talk to your vet.

Dogs cannot digest grass. Once they eat grass, it comes in contact with the gastric acids of the stomach. Since the canine digestive system does not have the enzyme to digest grass, it is removed from the body with the excreta.

Dr Shivaprakash mentions that there is nothing to worry about if your pet is munching a little grass every now and then. “In most cases dogs will eat grass if they have indigestion or have licked an unwanted substance like shampoo etc,” he adds. But just in case you feel your pet is making it a habit, you need to consult your vet.

(With inputs from Dr NB Shivaprakash)

-Kritika Manchanda

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