why does my dog eat grass and then throw up
Your dog begs to be let outside, immediately downs several mouthfuls of grassв and then promptly vomits it all up. Or maybe your dog is more of connoisseur, hunting for just the right blade to nosh on, with no side effects afterwards. Itвs a common behavior that baffles many dog owners. In fact, one survey found that grass is the most commonly eaten plant by dogs. But why do they do it? Hereвs the truth: weвre not 100 percent sure. Itвs likely thereвs not one simple answer. Different dogs may eat grass for different reasons. But understanding why
your dog does can help you address the behavior. Itвs tasty Your dog eats every last morsel he can find under your dinner table after a meal, so why stop there? As natural scavengers, canines are programmed to search for nutrition anywhere they can find it. Itвs possible that your dog finds the flavor or texture of grass yummy. Or it could be filling a nutritional need that his normal food isnвt, especially fiber. Prevention: Some people find that the behavior stops after they switch to a high-fiber dog food. If you think this might be the case for your pup, consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dogвs diet. Heвs bored In some cases, eating grass is just something to do to pass the time. Heвs got the backyard to himself, but not much to do there.
Are you providing regular exercise and mental challenges for your pup? Do you notice your dog eating more grass during times when you arenвt walking or playing with them as often? Prevention: Sometimes the solution can be as simple as providing a chew toy as an alternative or dedicating yourself to providing a consistent exercise routine. Stomach distress Some experts believe that grass is a form of self-medication. When your dog has tummy troubles, he turns to grass for relief. This is more likely if the behavior starts suddenly or if your dog is very anxious about needing to eat the grass, often extending his neck and making swallowing motions, and then vomiting afterwards. But most studies have found that this is actually quite rare в after eating grass and only 10 percent showed signs of illness beforehand. Prevention: In some cases, the stomach distress can be a sign of something more serious, like gastric reflux or inflammatory bowel disease, so itвs worth calling your veterinarian for advice. Still not sure? Relax. Many veterinarians consider grass eating a normal dog behavior. While dogs donвt gain anything of real nutritional value from grass, it also may not hurt them в as long as there are no dangerous fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides used on the grass itself.
You can help protect your grass eater by using only non-toxic products on your own lawn. When youвre out in public areas, keep an eye out for signs warning that chemicals have been used on the grass. You can also provide a safe alternative by growing a grass or herb garden specifically for him to snack on. If youвre afraid that your dog may be suffering from poisoning caused by lawn treatments, call the ASPCAвs 24/7 hotline at (888) 426-4435. What were some of the oddest things your dog has eaten unbeknownst to you? This has always been one of the most frequently asked questions among dog guardians. They see their dog eating grass or chewing on plants Б seemingly for no reason. Not surprisingly, sometimes gag or even the grass they have swallowed and then go right back to eating more grass! Other times the grass they swallow may pass in their stools undigested. Are they trying to make themselves vomit? Are they trying to make themselves pass something? Are they attempting to clear their intestinal tract of or? Why do dogs like grass? and material is called Б. Б Some people believe that dogs eat strange things to stimulate vomiting or, but this is undermined by the fact that most dogs do not act ill before eating grass. Besides, most dogs that eat grass donБt vomit at all.
IБve always been of the medical opinion that dogs eat grass and plants for one simple reason: they like the taste and texture Б much like many people eat celery or lettuce. In fact, some people eat weeds for that very reason. (Did you ever have nettles or dandelions as an ingredient in salad? ) Unfortunately, from a medical perspective, we can't be sure why dogs eat grass, and several other ideas have been put forward: Your dog may be bored Б and need Бsomething to do. Б Be sure to provide plenty of enrichment and activity and even appropriate chewing options, like chew toys. Your dog's diet may be missing something Б If you feed your dog home prepared, it is possible that they are missing a key nutrient; although, if you supplement the diet with approved vitamins, it becomes improbable that they are lacking anything found in grass. Make sure your veterinarian is aware of your dogБs diet and see if he thinks anything could be missing. Can eating grass hurt my dog? Dogs are truly omnivores; they can, and do, eat both meat and plant material. Wild or feral dogs, and dogs who hunt, often ingest the intestines of their prey along with the stomach contents Б including plant material. Occasionally grass, and particularly grass awns, can become lodged in the back of your dogБs throat or between his teeth.
If your dog wretches after eating grass or paws at his mouth, check for lodged grass as a potential cause. Again, grass is a normal component of a dogБs diet, but some grass seed has been treated with chemicals for various reasons and should certainly be avoided. Yard sprays, such as weed control or, can turn grass and plants. If you donБt know for sure that an area is chemical free, donБt let your dog graze. Remember too that while grass is not itself toxic, some common weeds and ornamental plants are! So long as grass is untreated, and you donБt allow it to become an obsessive, it will do no harm. What can I safely substitute for grass? Assuming, as I do, that dogs simply like the taste of grass, look for something cool, fresh and textured. I have seen pet owners use fresh carrots, peeled celery and even lettuce. Find out which your dog likes. There is no evidence that eating grass is usually anything more than a behavioral concern, but because of the potential medical ramifications caused by toxins on grass you should, ideally, try to discourage it. If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
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