We often see dogs munching the grass around them when they have a grumbly stomach or a digestive system upset. Do we know the real reason that dogs eat grass, though?
In a study carried out in 2008, 3000 dog guardians were surveyed, showing us the following results:
68% of guardians said their dogs regularly ate grass.
Only 8% saw signs of illness in their dogs before they ate grass.
22% of guardians reported vomiting after grass eating.
Generally, younger dogs ate more grass and showed more vomiting or illness afterwards.
As the study and survey show, not all dogs eat grass are poorly. Over 70% of wild wolves regularly eat plant matter based on findings in their poo.
Dogs might eat grass because they are trying to meet unmet digestive needs, missing nutrients, or even treat worms. In a world of kibble fed dogs, it might just be that they want something fresh. Many dogs who don’t usually eat grass will have a munch on shoots when they are young and new – so there’s always the chance they like the taste and feel of young grass. So, whilst we don’t fully know why they eat grass, it does seem for many dogs to be generally normal behaviour.
Our role is to oversee them for signs of illness and ensure they don’t eat treated grass, seeds or other things that can cause them issues.
Hart, Benjamin. (2008). Why do dogs and cats eat grass? Veterinary Medicine. 103. 648-649