It is always good to let your pet sniff around, but one needs to be aware with these naughty babies and their mischief. Many pet parents might want to uncover the mystery – why do dogs eat grass? So here it is…
During the last month, every time I took my five-year-old Golden Labrador, Romeo, for a walk, I had to be extra cautious. And
the reason why I had to be alert was Romeo’s elevated grass munching habit which got me really worried. Here and there he would sniff around and start chewing or rather nibbling grass.
There is no particular breed who would eat more grass than the other. It is a general tendency and nearly all dogs eat grass.
Why dogs eat grass?
Here are few reasons why your dog eats grass.
For belly problems: Dogs usually eat grass when they have an upset stomach. The grass blades tickle the throat and the stomach lining. This aids the dog in vomiting and your pet is relieved from the discomfort of indigestion or upset stomach.
Roughage need: Experts believe that the grass eating habit can also be related to the fact that canines need a little roughage in their daily diet. When this dietary need is not met, they chew a little grass.
Intestinal worms: Some pet parents feel that their dogs eating grass is a sign that the pet has intestinal worms and take it as a sign of deworming. But Dr NB Shivaprakash says that this cannot be used a yardstick for deworming.
Unmet nutritional needs: There is a chance that your dog’s nutritional needs are not being met and that’s why the little one is nibbling away on grass. You can also talk to your vet and ask him to chalk out a diet plan for your pet. Give him well-balanced commercial diet.
Eating grass to kill boredom: In many cases the dog would just be nibbling on grass out of sheer boredom. And for this, you cannot blame the pet. Just because you are busy chasing deadlines doesn’t mean you ignore spending quality time with your pet. Play, run or just indulge in a chit-chat session…whatever you do, keep your pets engaged. Apart from their physical exercise, you need to cater to their mental exercise as well.
Basic instinct: Legend says that before being domesticated, dogs used to spend their life out in the wild. It was during this time that they used to eat wild berries and shrubs. Since then till now, the kind of food that dogs may have changed, but that grass munching craving has not totally left them. Every once in a while dogs get this craving that they fulfill by nibbling or licking grass.
Compulsive behaviour: In some rare cases it is also noted that some dogs develop an obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD as it is popularly known as and keep nibbling grass. Only an expert would be able to judge this, so you must talk to your vet about it.
The digestive system of dogs cannot digest grass. Once they eat grass, it comes in contact with the gastric acids of the stomach. Since the canine digestive system does not have the enzyme to digest grass, it is removed from the body with the excreta.
Dr Shivaprakash mentions that there is nothing to worry about if your pet is munching on little grass. “In most cases dogs would eat grass if they have indigestion or have licked an unwanted substance like shampoo etc,” he adds. But just in case you feel your pet is making it a habit, you need to consult your vet.
How boring life would be if our canine companions don’t add spice and happiness through their naughtiness! So while Rocky goes for a walk and Zeezoo plays in the park, let them munch the irresistible grass; but only in a limited amount.
(With inputs from Dr NB Shivaprakash, Westend Specialty Pet Care & Nursing Home, Bengaluru).