Why dogs eat grass – is it a concern?

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If you are a dog Owner then you have noticed your dog nibbling on blades of grass, sometimes insisting on going out just to do so. No one knows the definitive reason why a dog feels the need to eat grass but it is thought to be a safe habit for your pet.

All dogs enjoy grazing in the yard and there are some purposes for this behaviour. Dogs need a combination of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water in a nutritionally-balanced diet. Maybe there is something lacking in the diet that only your dog can understand. A reason dogs eat grass is to make themselves sick! It is their own natural instincts to use the grass to binge & purge the build-up of bile in their stomachs. The gallbladder produces bile which is excreted into the stomach to aid in the digestion of fats. On an empty stomach, bile can cause acidity that triggers your dog to eat grass in order to vomit up whatever is making him feel ill. Moments after your dog vomits up the bile and grass combo, don’t be surprised if he is now feeling fine and ready for his regular meal, as though nothing has happened.

This is natural for your dog though you would not want this to be a frequent behaviour. Feeding your dog smaller meals more often can help his stomach to ward off that sick bile feeling or give him a small treat just prior to bedtime so the stomach is not empty throughout the night. Another option is a high-fiber diet formula to feed your dog, since fiber stays in the stomach longer, alleviating the empty stomach problem.

Sometimes your dog may lack in certain nutrients attained from the grass that is deficient in his diet. As a result, rather than vomiting, the grass will pass right through his system without any ill-effects on his health. If your dog insists on eating grass, just be cautious enough to keep the “grazing” to your own yard as you know how safe the area is for him. Keep your yard as “organic” as possible, keeping your pet away from fertilizers, weed killers and insecticides which could prove to be fatal for your dog. Be aware of letting your dog eat grass from other yards, as well, while on walks as you may not know of the dangers that lurk on their lawns.

Add a source of greens to your dog’s daily diet (or a quality green supplement) which may help to decrease the need for him to graze in the grass. Speak with your veterinarian or a knowledgeable pet store staff for specific information on good dietary supplements to meet your dog’s dietary needs.

No matter what the reason for the interest in “greens” and the grass habit, it is nothing to be concerned about. Just be aware of the grass that your dog does eat, how often and that he refrain from lawns treated with fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides for his own health and well-being.

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