Pet Anxiety, Pet Health, Pets and Family

7 Reasons Why Your Dog May Eat Grass and Vomit

If you hang out with dogs you may have seen your furry friends eating grass. Many dog owners consider this an odd behavior but it is a common behavior among cats and normal dog behavior to eat grass now and then.

Unfortunately, the main cause of it is still a mystery but there is some research supporting some new theories and at the same time you should rule out any health or behavioral issue that may be the cause.

Some vets suggest that there are a few underlying conditions that may cause grass eating and some signs of illness or lack of nutrients associated with grass eating that pet parents should be alert to. Many dogs even vomit after eating grass which can be alarming for the dog’s owners and a reason to seek a vets’ care or assess your dog’s diet and any potential nutritional deficiency.

Top Reasons Dogs Eat Grass

Grass Eating as a Result of a Dog’s Behavioral Issues 

Just like puppy hiccups, a dog eating grass but not food can be due to a mental health issue. The following issues can be the reason for it:

Your Dog May Eat Grass When They Feel Alone and Bored

Certain behaviors manifest with dogs when they are alone for long periods or bored. During such times a behavior, like grass eating, may develop and you later become aware of it as it continues when you do spend time with your dog.

Brown and black house lying in grass and eating grass.
Dogs May Eat Grass for Many reasons including boredom

Some dog breeds need more love and affection and mental stimulation than others. When left alone, your dog may become depressed and adopt unusual behaviors.

Try spending additional interactive time with your dog learning a game or doing an activity to fend off boredom and increase mental stimulation.

Your Dog May Be Eating Grass To Seek Attention

Have you ever seen your dog eating grass constantly even if you are with it? Some dogs use this tactic for getting attention. Our dogs are extremely intelligent and if you did give them attention after they were eating grass they may continue this behavior to continue to obtain attention.

Provided your dog is eating grass that is free from toxic chemicals and this does not develop into a compulsive behavior or the result of other physical issues this is a non-concerning issue.

Your Dog May Eat Grass as a Result of Anxiety and Stress 

Like humans, dogs may experience anxiety and stress problems. Dogs may experience anxiety and stress if they change their place, notice the dominance of another pet, or come to a new owner. Separation anxiety is also extremely prevalent in dogs and cause for certain behaviors. When dogs experience anxiety and stress they may eat eat grass.

Dogs May Eat Grass Due to Instincts

Many vets argue that our dog’s are not actually carnivores but dogs actually need greens, like grass, and vegetables in their diet to satisfy nutritional needs as a result of the way they used to consume their food. Their dog ancestors used to eat any type of animal along with their stomach contents including ones who were grass eaters. That leads many animal nutritionists to believe that dogs not only are not carnivores but actually desire greens.

If a dog is eating grass because of its instincts, it should not be a cause of concern.

Dogs May Eat Grass Because They Love the Taste 

Did you notice that your dog eats grass every time you go for a walk? Some dogs simply love the taste of grass. They like its texture and perhaps any dew or moisture content on the grass.

If your dog is not vomiting after consuming the grass this is likely not an issue provided the grass they are eating does not contain pesticides or other chemicals.

Dog Eating Grass with an Upset Stomach 

Some vets also believe that dogs with an upset stomach from any number of issues including consuming bad food or an intestinal blockage or other issue with their digestive tract tend to eat more grass. The grass may look good to them in their current condition.

It is a common belief and generally, dogs vomit after eating the grass either because of the taste or texture. Thus, the grass is more likely to be the reason for vomiting but may provide your dog with relief.

You need to observe the number of times your dog vomits after eating grass. If your dog vomits vomits several times, it may signal a stomach problem that may be the result of digestive issues, intestinal worms, or other medical problem which may require veterinary attention.

Dog Eating Grass as a Dietary Response 

You may believe that your dog’s diet is well balanced and meets his nutritional need. However, a dogs desire to consume a lot of grass without associated illness may be cause to consider whether their regular diet is meeting their dog’s nutritional needs. Fiber contributes to the digestion process in dogs.

Sometimes, dogs don’t consume enough of a high-fiber diet to digest their food properly which may cause them to seek out grass.

However, if you make some changes in their diet like adding organic vegetables with peels on it may reduce your dog’s cravings for grass.

Dog Eating Grass Due to Intestinal Parasites 

Some vets opine that dogs eat grass when they have parasites in their intestines. In new research conducted at the University of California Davis. Dr. Hart, a veterinarian that has studied dog behavior for over 50 years studied 1,500 dogs that had eaten grass at least 10 times in the past year.

Dr. Hart found that very few – about 9% – appeared to be ill before eating grass. And less than one in four vomited afterward.

He believes that dogs eating grass is a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors. “We know that wolves and cougars eat grass. That’s because they carry intestinal parasites. That’s just part and parcel of being in nature. Wild animals don’t have anything like the medicines we have for controlling worms. But by eating grass on a regular basis, they can prevent a buildup by purging their systems of these parasites.” says Hart

Your dog may eat grass because they have parasites or as a preventative measure against parasites.

Learn more about dog worms and your dog and family health and how you can easily test for worms.

Grey and white dog shaggy dog sitting in the grass and eating grass.
Dr. Hart’s studies indicated that younger dogs tend to eat more grass than older dogs

Dog May Eat Grass for a Nutritional Deficiency

Dogs may also eat grass as a result of a nutritional deficiency namely magnesium from chlorophyll and important blood building characteristics.

What is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in just about all plants and algae. It’s an extremely important compound in photosynthesis, for it actually allows plants to absorb energy from light.

The Benefits of Chlorophyll for Dogs

When our dogs eat chlorophyll, they’re actually helping to build the health of their blood. That’s because the chlorophyll will help replenish their red blood cells.

Chlorophyll helps to cleanse all the cells of the body, fight infection, heal wounds, build the immune system and detoxify all systems, particularly the liver and the digestive system. It also promotes digestive health –  which is why many dogs with acute digestive problems tend to go for the grass.

Our dogs can also benefit from chlorophyll’s double action in both treating and preventing doggie bad breath. Chlorophyll can eliminate odors in the mouth. It also improves digestion, the most likely cause of bad breath in dogs with healthy teeth and gums.

Chlorophyll can increase oxygen utilization within your dog’s body. It also breaks down calcium oxalate stones in the bladder. Importantly, chlorophyll reduces the ability of carcinogens to bind with DNA in the liver and other organs.

Dogs have the right idea when they eat grass, but the sad truth is they do this because they have no other source of fresh green plants. Wild dogs and cats get their chlorophyll from the intestines of their prey. They also have a plethora of healthy wild plants to nibble on.

Most domestic dogs can’t open the fridge and take out the spinach, broccoli, asparagus, peas, kale, parsley and beans that are rich in digestible chlorophyll. The grass they choose as a last resort comes out looking just the way it looked when it went in.

When You Should Consult With Your Vet 

Many dogs eat grass and as Dr. Hart indicated in his study it may not be for any nutritional or health issue but in fact a preventative measure due to a dog’s ancestry.

However, you may want to make a visit to your vet if your dog has eaten grass treated with pesticides or herbicides or any other toxic chemicals. These harsh chemicals are poisonous your dog.

consult vet
Eating grass in and of itself should not be cause to consult your vet

Many articles have noted that grass eating may be associated with Pica, a condition where dogs compulsively eat non-food items, like garbage, and other issues. Given Dr. Hart’s research this does not seem reasonable and eating grass is a normal behavior and part of a dogs ancestry.

Also notice any physical changes in your dog’s health to decide if the behavior is due to physical or emotional change.

Conclusion – Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass & Vomit 

All in all, a dog eating grass and dirt can make any pet owner concerned. Do not panic. Eating grass may be absolutely normal behavior. Give some time and observe the potential causes of grass eating to determine if there is actually a health issue that is the cause or the grass eating is normal behavior.

If there is a stomach bug, it is always a good idea to try to resolve the underlying cause first. However, if your canine companion looks fit and healthy, observe its emotional well-being. See if the dog looks bored, has depression, potentially has worms or is experiencing any obsessive behaviors or simply wants more time from you.

Some dogs simply love this green plant and don’t get any health issues. So, observe your dog’s behavior, determine the cause and take action.

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Dog Eating Grass FAQs

Is it ok for my dog to eat grass?

It is okay for your dog to eat grass just pay attention for other issues that could be indicative of their desire to eat grass such as parasites, a nutritional need, boredom or an emotional issue. If your dog does eat grass just be certain the grass is not treated with pesticides or herbicides.

Why does my dog throw up white foam and grass after eating it?

Dogs maybe eating grass due to a stomach issues and the vomiting or throwing up after is a response to that need. Vomiting white foam means that your dog had air or gases only to throw up and when it is mixed with grass it is because it is the last item your dog did eat.

Do dogs eat grass because they are sick?

Dogs eat grass for various reasons including illness, stress, anxiety, behavior, nutritional deficiency or ancestral driver so it may not just be because they are sick.

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