For many pet owners, catching your pooch snacking on your front lawn may cause confusion, annoyance, or concern. Many of us have heard the explanation that dogs eat grass when they feel unwell or have an upset tummy—but is that really true?
Research shows that most owners report their dog didn’t seem sick before grazing, and most dogs don’t throw up after. The reality is grass-eating is fairly common among dogs, and there are several possible reasons your pup might be doing a sheep impression:
- Digestion: Grass is high in fiber and some dogs may nibble to help keep things moving. If you suspect your pet isn’t getting enough fiber from his food, talk to your vet or kennel owner about switching brands or adding dog-friendly fruits and veggies into his diet.
- Worms: Some experts speculate that grass-eating can be a sign of intestinal worms. The easiest and fastest way to check your pet for parasites is to ask your vet to test a sample of her stool. Most worms are easy to treat once diagnosed, but a doctor’s visit for you may be in order to ensure Fido’s infection hasn’t spread to his people family.
- Boredom or stress: Like some humans, some dogs may be inclined to snack as a way to pass the time or deal with stress. Try distracting your pooch with a walk or a game of ball, or give him a safe chew toy to keep his mouth occupied.
- Because it tastes good: It’s possible your dog just likes the taste of her lawn salad. If it isn’t making her sick and isn’t ruining your yard, it may not be worth stopping her occasional snacking.
A note of caution: While grass itself is unlikely to harm your pet, many lawns are treated with fertilizers or pesticides that can be poisonous to animals. Don’t let your four-legged friend nibble on any green patches that might have been treated with chemicals.