The other day, my youngest daughter asked the veterinarian if our dog had her eyes. She lovingly put their heads together and looked up at the vet, making sure not to blink. The doctor laughed and told me of all the common questions he gets in his day, this wasn’t one of them.
His reaction begged the question. “What do people always ask you?”
He said that the biggest worries most pet owners have is about their pets eating poop and eating the grass. I blushed. We were bringing Boone in for that exact reason.
I was about halfway done with the lawn when I looked behind me to see our dog going to town on a pile of grass. He looked like he was enjoying his salad, but a little while later he was puking it all out. Being the worried pet owner that I am, we took him to the vet to make sure he didn’t poison himself.
The vet assured me that he did not poison himself, and that for the most part, grass by itself (no pesticides or toxic chemicals) is safe for dogs to eat. Our dog just happened to eat a ton of it and his stomach couldn’t handle the intake.
But I had to ask, why do they even do it in the first place?
There are theories, but it turns out that there really isn’t a solid reason why our dogs eat grass. Some vets say that they eat it out of boredom, others that they are hungry, and still others say that they just like the taste.
What vets mostly agree on, however, is that it’s not true that they do it specifically to make themselves vomit.
It’s pretty doubtful that dogs naturally know that eating grass will make themselves throw up. It’s more of an after effect than a dog culture remedy.
The main consensus though is that grass is not terrible for dogs.
In fact, the fiber and nutrients in the average lawn grass can help with your dog’s digestion and health, as researched by Whole Dog Journal. As the study suggests, because dogs’ ancestors were accustomed to feeding on animals that were herbivores, they naturally got a good dose of nutrients from whatever their meal had eaten.
These days, though, because most brands don’t pack their dog food with wild game meat, the average household dog misses out on some of these nutrients and seeks them out in grass.
Especially if you have your dog on the suggested two-meals-a-day plan, they might get hungry enough to try eating anything.
Another common theory about your dog’s eating habits is that dogs like the smell of grass and think it will taste the same. We understand the intoxicating scent of a freshly mowed lawn, now imagine how that aroma smells to a dog! You really can’t blame a pup for at least trying to get a new taste in their mouths.
If your dog has a habit of eating your grass to the point of nausea though, most vets agree that changing up their usual brand of dog food for one that is packed with a complex formula. If your dog has all the nutrition it needs from what you’re feeding it, then it won’t search something out that does have it.
Weeding through the flood of information on this subject, we can tell you pretty clearly that your dog will be ok with the occasional snacking. The only surefire way to know if grass is bad for your dog is if it is overeating and making himself sick. Other than that, you are pretty safe with letting him chew on a few mouthfuls.