Have you ever watched your dog eat blades of grass and wonder whether there’s anything wrong with them? Rest assured, it’s perfectly normal behaviour.
There can be lots of reasons why your dog likes eating grass which have nothing to do with hunger:
- Your dog is feeling unwell: The common belief if that dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up if they are feeling unwell.
- Teething: If you own a puppy, they may eat grass, sticks and various other garden paraphernalia to ease the pain from losing their puppy teeth
- Digestion: Grass has been thought to aid in digestion and help pass stools.
- Boredom: If your dog spends long stretches of time alone in the backyard, they may take to grass-eating to pass the time. If you have an anxious dog, they may also eat grass as a comfort mechanism (much like how humans chew their nails).
While eating grass is relatively harmless, it does not provide your dog with the best nutrition for them. It also exposes them to toxic chemicals and pesticides as well as intestinal parasites such as hookworms or roundworms from faecal residue from other dogs. So, how do you stop them from eating grass?
Here are a few ways to stop your dog from being lawnmowers:
- Cure boredom: Ensuring your dog is receiving enough exercise and stimulation by taking him for a daily walk and playing games such as fetch, frisbee or offering chew toys.
- Ensure your dog is receiving the right level of nutrition: Try to increase the amount of fibre in your dog’s diet by adding leafy greens to their meals.
- Positive reinforcement: When you notice your dog eating grass, redirect their attention with a toy or treat and praise them.
More often than not, this is a behavioural issue that can be trained out of your dog. It may take some time and patience, but with a modification to their diet and exercise regime, as well as positive reinforcement from you, they will quickly learn that eating grass is something they should not be doing.
If you are concerned about the volume of grass your dog is eating or if it is making them constantly ill, it is best to take your dog to a vet to ensure that there is nothing medically wrong with them.