Why do dogs eat grass?

Discover the answer to this common question.

Discover the answer to this common question.

Several explanations have been offered to explain why our domesticated and much-beloved dogs eat grass.

Eating Grass by Instinct

Some, when asked the question why dogs eat grass, say that they may eat grass because, in reality, it is a normal part of their ancestors’ diet. They ate all of an animal they caught?as is true of their current wild cousins such as wolves and fox. Since their prey may have eaten berries and other plant material, wolves and fox end up eating a lot of grasses and plants that were ingested by their prey.

Does Grass Make Dogs Vomit?

Many times, dogs will vomit after eating grass. And so, the big debate goes on…and on! Did they eat grass to make them vomit? Or did they vomit because they ate grass? It is a mystery, but it does seem that some dogs may eat vegetation when they have an upset stomach.

In support of this theory, in her book, “The Complete Herbal Handbook For The Dog And Cat,” author, herbalist and long-time dog breeder Juliette de Bairacli Levy writes: “I am always amazed at the way my Afghan Hounds have selected their medicinal plants, shrubs and trees, and know where to find them and how to use them. By use, I mean the amount to be eaten to serve its purpose. Mostly their use is as a laxative or to promote vomiting, and they know exactly how much to eat to achieve one or the other effect.”

Smart Dogs

Not one of us who is a real dog lover hesitates to rave about the intelligence of our particular four-legged friend. So who’s to say that a modern dog, stuck on a non-evaried diet of dry kibble and no-name canned meat, doesn’t have the innate intelligence to find what is lacking in his/her normal diet? Not only is a dog man’s (and woman’s) best friend – in many ways the dog is instinctively smarter that we (mere mortal humans) are.  How very humbling is that admission?


Taste Buds

Some people, in answer to the question of why do dogs eat grass, espouse the theory that they eat it because they just like it. When going for a walk, some dogs will search for a particular type of grass or plant material and then will eat it.

Why do Dogs Chew on Grass Without Eating it?

No doubt you’ve had to pull your dog’s nose out of something rotting or worse when out on a walk. The following theory covers situations where a dog chews upon but doesn’t actually eat the grass. The thought is that the dog uses its taste for things to analyze the flavor of the grass. In doing so it also may be looking for the territorial creatures that have been leaving their mark.

Caring for Your Dog

Remember also that for centuries and in many cultures, herbal remedies have been used successfully to treat many illnesses in animals – including intestinal worms, fleas, skin problems, mange, distemper, kidney and bladder trouble, arthritis, obesity and digestive problems, to name a few. Caring for our pets naturally may be the wave of the future that looks to the past for answers. One need only to look at the ads for natural pet food, canine dietary supplements, etc,  to realize how much we have become involved in our animals’ health and well being.

In conclusion, no matter how many answers there are to the question of why do dogs eat grass, rest assured that your dog’s ‘grass habit’ is normal behavior and you need not be concerned about it. Of course, if your dog is obsessively or excessively eating grass, you should talk to your vet.

A note of caution: Stomach upset or even worse problems can befall your dog after eating grass that has been treated with herbicides,  pesticides or fertilizer.