If you’ve noticed your dog snacking on grass, you probably want to know why and whether it’s okay. There are lots of reasons dogs eat grass, and for the most part, it’s not dangerous for them. However, frequent grass eating can indicate an underlying health condition you may need to investigate. Let’s consider the top three reasons dogs eat grass and how you can help break the habit.
1. Dogs Eat Grass Because of Nutritional Deficiencies
Grass can be a source of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, fiber, so frequent grass-eating could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency.
You can address nutrient deficiencies by switching to a high-fiber diet or by adding a fiber supplement such as psyllium husk powder into your dog’s food. You can also add a supplement with prebiotics and probiotics such as DoggyBiome S. boulardii + FOS Powder, which improves both gut health and immune functions. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are tiny soluble fibers that beneficial gut bacteria love to feed on, so this fosters a re-balancing of good bacteria in the gut.
2. Behavioral Reasons for Eating Grass
Some dogs eat grass if they’re bored, anxious, trying to get your attention, or because they just like the texture and taste. For example, a 2019 study showed younger dogs and neutered dogs are more prone to boredom and attention-seeking behavior and are also more likely to have pica (eating grass and other non-food items).
Here are some tips for enforcing alternative behaviors:
Reduce boredom with more play, mental stimulation, and exercise, especially with active breeds and younger dogs. Re-direct grass-eating with a toy or a walk.
Ignore attention-seeking behavior (if you think that’s the cause) and/or reward your dog when they respond to your commands to stop.
Avoid your dog’s favorite patches of grass for a few weeks.
3. Eating Grass and Gut Bacteria
Your dog’s gut microbiome is the community of intestinal bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other tiny organisms. The bacteria help with digestion, disease prevention, nutrient absorption, and key parts of your dog’s immune system function
Many things can impact dog gut health, and microbiome testing with a DoggyBiome Gut Health Test can help you identify bacterial imbalances in your dog’s gut microbiome. There are many ways to restore your dog’s gut health if an imbalance is present, including diet, probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics.
Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Vomit?
Some dogs do vomit after eating grass, but chances are the dog was already feeling unwell beforehand. If this happens often, it may be a sign of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or another serious health condition. Talk with your veterinarian to learn more.
Why Eating Grass Can Be Risky
Eating grass can put your dog at risk because:
Herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic chemicals are sometimes present on grass
Intestinal parasites like parvo or worms can be on grass
Plant eating is bad in general because the dog could eat something toxic.
Visit Doggybiome for tools, resources, articles, and products to help you support your dog’s optimal gut health.
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