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Why do dogs eat grass?

Have you ever wondered why your dog eats grass? I’m a dog walker and some of the dogs I walk eat grass on every walk, while others never do, so I decided to find out why.

Years ago I was told that if they eat something that makes them feel sick, or if they feel unwell, they will eat grass to induce vomiting which makes them feel better. But this is only true of a few dogs as 80% of the dogs I walk eat grass and only about one-quarter vomit afterwards. So I tried to find the facts behind why dogs eat grass. What I discovered is there are a number of theories:

They are omnivores – they eat meat and plant-based food so instinctively include plants in their diet

They like the taste or texture – they just enjoy the taste of grass

To cause vomiting – despite a lack of evidence that eating grass is a treatment for a sick dog, it seems that dogs do eat grass to relieve themselves of an upset tummy. The grass is usually eaten quickly, without being chewed much and tickles their throat and stomach lining which results in vomiting

They need more fibre – grass contains fibre which may be missing from their diet

They are bored – if they eat grass when locked up in the yard on their own it could be a distraction

Eating grass isn’t necessarily a problem unless it’s happening all the time. Be aware that herbicides and pesticides sprayed on the grass may be toxic to the dog.

References and further reading:

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