Introduction to Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting
Any owner is primarily concerned with the wellbeing of their furry friends. While most of the time there is not too much to worry about, there are some dog habits that could be telltale signs that something is wrong. Being able to notice and interpret these signs can help you attend the need of your dogs in advance and prevent the more serious diseases from developing over time.
However, especially for first-time dog owners, it could be very confusing to see a beloved puppy eating grass and vomiting all the time. In this case, understanding what the triggers, reasons, and problems behind it could be can help you diagnose what is wrong in advance.
Let’s have a look at why dogs eat grass, what is the science behind it, and what we can do to make our furry friends feel better.
Know your dog’s habits
Every dog is different, and it is characterized by different personality traits. Understanding the normal habits of your puppy can help you notice if something is wrong in advance. In fact, for some dogs, it is completely normal to eat grass regularly, and their owners should not worry when this happens.
However, if you have been living with your dog for years and you have never seen him behave in this way, pay attention to what he is trying to tell you. If there is a sudden increase in grass-eating, you might want to reach out for help and speak to your vet.
However, in order for you to be aware of a change in behavior, you will need to pay attention to your dog’s habits since he is a puppy.
Understand the difference between nibbling and frantically eating grass
Even if your dog is accustomed to eating grass frequently, pay attention to the way they consume their food. A dog that has been nibbling on grass due to boredom or playfulness will have a completely different body language and attitude than a dog in distress.
If your dog is simply hungry or can’t find much to do in your garden will most likely sit and eat grass until something else catches his attention. This is not a behavior a dog owner should be worrying about. It is recommended that in this case, you provide stimulation, exercise or food to your puppy to make him feel more active. Taking him for a walk could help as well.
Alternatively, if your dog runs outside in your garden and starts eating grass frantically, it could mean that his stomach is upset and he feels anxious and unwell.
Why is my dog eating grass?
The reasons behind the habit of eating grass have not yet been fully examined. This is a common question for dog owners and lovers alike. However, the following reasons are the most common ones to be looking into if your dog starts eating grass.
Gastrointestinal problems or upset stomachs are the main reasons that could push a dog to eat grass frantically. While our furry friends can be great communicators when they are requesting food or playing times, they do struggle to let us know that there is something wrong with them.
Moreover, dogs are used to solving intestinal problems by themselves and often using natural solutions. In this case, they will probably run outside and start nibbling fast on grass. Usually, this behavior is followed by vomiting.
A dog that is eating grass and vomiting has been probably struggling with poor digestion for a few hours and was looking forward to getting rid of the food left in their stomachs.
If the vomiting happens once, there is not too much to worry about. If the habit continues for a few days or weeks, it is recommended to speak to your vet immediately.
They like nibbling on grass
Often dogs like to nibble on grass because they are fond of its taste. In this case, any owner should be aware that this is perfectly normal behavior for any dog. However, if you notice this insisting habit, you should be talking to your vet.
Some breeds of dogs are more prone to be affected by Pica, an eating disorder that pushes your dog to nibble on items that are not food. Often this is a sign of boredom and can be noticed in puppies or young dogs. In this case, stimulating your dog and schedule daily exercise with your puppy can be an easy and quick solution to the problem.
Ultimately, over 50% of dogs have been likely to be eating grass due to Pica or boredom.
Your dog’s diet might be the cause
The grass is full of nutrients and vitamins that your dog might be lacking. If your dog has been following a diet that has created a nutritional deficiency in your dog, he will be searching for essential compounds in other sources of food.
The grass is often the most accessible option for every dog. If this is the case, you might like to investigate the vitamins and compounds that your dog food claims to offer.
If necessary, change your dog food or switch to a diet that is high in nutrients and minerals. Implementing a well-balanced diet might be an easy and healthy solution to grass-eating habits.
However, be aware that sometimes dogs that have been subjected to a great diet turn to grass for some extra nutrients. This is entirely natural, and it is the equivalent of us humans adding green vegetables into our meals.
What is the science behind it?
Since this is one of the most asked questions by owners, scientists, and nutrition experts have been deepened their research to offer a scientific explanation of why dogs eat grass and vomit. However, different studies have reached different conclusions, and there are many aspects that need to be taken into consideration to understand this habit properly. Let’s have a look at the most influential factors to try to understand our furry friends better!
Dogs are omnivorous
Historically, our dog’s ancestors and wild canines such as coyotes tend to fulfill their basic requirements in the wild. This means that they would eat their prey entirely, including the plant-filled stomachs of herbivores. Moreover, they would also reach the number of nutrients and fibers needed by eating grass, berries, and other plants.
In fact, 11 to 47% of wolves have been found to eat grass when they are not able to source the needed nutrients from anywhere else. Similarly, dogs that have been fed packaged food consistently for years might be searching out for a more natural way of eating. This originates in their basic scavenger instincts.
Some studies reported that trying to eliminate this habit could create a behavior modification that could interfere and damage the natural instincts of your dog.
Why is My Dog Eating Grass And Vomiting all the time
Only a little research is being done
While a dog eating grass and vomiting is one of the most common issues every owner has to deal with, only a little research has been done. Therefore, owners and vets have to guess what the reasons behind these ongoing habits might be. While some studies link this attitude to primordial instincts, to a deficit in their diets, or to the need to fulfill scavenger impulses.
While some of the reasons could be completely related to physical needs, some others are related to psychological necessities. Some studies have found that bored or anxious dogs prefer to leave the constraining environment of a house to feel freer in gardens and open spaces.
If your dog has been spending time indoors and he has been fed purely packaged food, he might just feel the need to go back outdoors and nibble on grass.
It can help induce vomit
Eating grass itself has been shown not to be dangerous for dogs. In fact, a dog that eats grass and vomits is most likely to eliminate something harmful that he had previously swallowed. Therefore, it is not the grass itself that makes your dog sick. Only 25% of dogs have been proven to be sick after eating grass, while only 10% of them were ill beforehand.
Some studies have found that grass creates a tickling feeling in the back of your dog’s mouth and throat, thus inducing vomit. For dogs and puppies, this is a go-to home remedy for an upset stomach. If this happens from time to time and after your dog has eaten something different than usual, there is not too much to worry about. Your dog knows better than you how to make himself feel better.
However, if this happens continuously, you might want to investigate what the reasons could be. Check whether your dog’s diet does not supply enough nutrients for his needs or if there is an underlying medical condition. Sometimes just introducing a healthy dose of fibers can ease the situation.
Is eating grass dangerous for dogs?
While grass is definitely not the healthiest snack for your dog, it is not unsafe for a dog to nibble on it. However, there are some key factors that you should monitor before letting your dog free to nibble your garden.
The grass might not be all-natural
As we have seen the instinct of a dog to eat grass comes from wild canines and ancestors. However, at those times, the use of pesticides and chemicals was not as common as today. If your dog likes playing and nibbling the grass due to Pica or boredom, make sure that, while you are treating these conditions, you stop using chemicals on your grass altogether.
Failing to do this can lead to serious diseases and stomach problems. Ingesting higher-than-safe quantities of chemically treated grass and plants could poison your dog or create serious gastrointestinal problems.
Fertilizers and lawn care products can be used only if the manufacturer has specified that they are safe for pets. However, even in this case, it is recommended to bring your dog in areas where you are sure the grass has not been treated with chemicals.
Grass can cause inflammation in your dog’s stomach
While small quantities of grass are nibbled normally by dogs, if you notice your dog eating large gulps of grass faster than normal, you should be thinking about trying to stop him.
The grass can, in fact, cause inflammation in the stomach of your dog and create more serious digestion problems. Your dog is probably not used to digesting large quantities of grass, and this could be harmful to his health.
However, a dog that has been eating grass normally for years will have a higher level of tolerance compared to a dog that has following a normal diet.
If your dog has become eating grass to ease a gastrointestinal condition such as gastric reflux, pancreatitis, or inflammatory bowel disease, this habit can make the situation worse.
How can I stop my dog from eating grass?
If your dog has just started eating grass frantically and vomiting, you should observe your dog’s new habits and diet. Moreover, if you are aware that the grass has been treated with pesticides, fertilizers, and chemicals, you will need to find an immediate solution to avoid your dog feeding on potentially lethal grass.
Firstly you will need to analyze what the causes behind your dog’s habits might be. The solutions vary depending on whether the condition is created by physical or psychological reasons. Let’s have a look at the most common remedies for your dog grass-eating habits.
Take your dog to a vet
While this might be the most obvious solution, many owners fail to take their dog’s new habit seriously. If you have noticed any abnormal behavior in your pet, you will need first to eliminate the possibility of underlying medical problems. You vet will be able to examine your dog’s feces, blood, and urines and rule out the chances of a serious gastrointestinal disease.
However, if this is the case, you would have been able to find out about it in advance and start the treatment at the illness’s early stages. This will give you the best chances to have a completely healthy pet sooner.
Stimulate your dog
If you have ruled out the possibility of underlying medical conditions by speaking to your vet, the most likely reason for your dog to eat grass is boredom.
This is a psychological condition deriving from a lack of stimulation and exercise. While many owners are happy to let their dogs out in the garden, some other pets need a higher level of attention.
In this case, it is recommended to schedule in a daily or regular time that you are going to be spending with your dog. You don’t necessarily have to take him out for a walk and often is enough to play together for an hour or two. This will tire your dog out and make him happier. This is an easy solution for continuous grass nibbling rather than frantic grass eating.
Your dog might be suffering from Pica
As we have seen, this is an eating disorder that pushes dogs to eat and chew objects that are not food. Since grass falls into this classification, you will notice your Pica-affected dog nibbling in your garden often. In this case, speak to your vet to have a better understanding of the available solutions.
Practice the “heel” command
When you see your trained dog eating on chemically treated grass, use the “heel” command to bring him back next to your feet. This stops the problem momentarily and especially if the problem is caused by boredom or Pica rather than gastrointestinal problems.
However, this is a great way to improve the training of your dog and stop him from eating potentially harmful grass. If you need help with your dog’s training, and you have not been able to see positive results after months of training, reaching out for professional help can be a great solution. Professional trainers’ guidelines are often personalized to you and your dog’s needs and can help you strengthen your bond.
Why is my dog eating grass and vomiting all the time?
If your dog has been overall healthy and he has been sick once or twice, there is often not much to worry about. However, there are conditions that could induce your dog to eat grass to vomit. These underlying conditions can be serious and lead to harmful diseases.
Intestinal parasites such as worms or bugs can create ongoing conditions that range from simply uncomfortable to lethal diseases. The main signs that could give you an indication of your dog having contracted one of these parasites are:
- Weight loss
- Alterations in his appetite
- Poor appearance
- Vomiting (compulsive)
- Diarrhea (often with blood in it)
Treatments change depending on what parasite your dog has contracted, but an oral medication will need follow-ups. These conditions need to be treated instantly and by a certified vet.
Pancreatitis is a condition of the pancreas. This happens when this organ becomes inflamed. In some cases, this condition can come and go within a few days if treated properly. In some others, it can turn into a long-term condition. The telltale signs that your dog has contracted pancreatitis are:
- Loss of appetite
- Belly or stomach pain
- Fever or low body temperature
- General unwellness
Your vet will need to perform a blood test and ultrasound to ensure that this is the condition your dog needs treatment for. While initially, it is not incredibly serious, it could turn into a lifelong condition that is not treated promptly.
Bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus complex, is one of the most serious conditions that could affect our furry friends. It occurs when your dog’s stomach fills with gas and often develops into a twisted stomach.
The pressure builds in a dog’s stomach preventing the oxygen from reaching limbs and organs. Dogs that anxious, nervous, poorly fed, and not active are most likely to suffer from this condition as they become older. This can lead to a surgical emergency, but a balanced diet and daily exercise can help you prevent this condition.
Should I get professional help?
As we have seen, dogs eating grass and vomiting all the time can have contracted this habit due to physical or psychological conditions.
Bringing your dog to a vet can help you rule out the possibility of underlying serious medical conditions. So you can focus on the psychological and nutritional factors that could have contributed towards your dog’s new habit of eating grass.
If you have changed the lifestyle and diet of your dog and switched a healthier and nutritional way of living without results, you should be thinking about reaching out for professional help.
Expert dog trainers and behaviorists will be able to analyze your specific case and find out what the best solution for both you and your dog might be. They will also be able to suggest step-by-step guides to help you housetrain your dog properly.
Moreover, if your dog has eaten grass and vomited once, but he seemed healthy, happy, and satisfied after being sick, this probably means that he has taken care of the gastrointestinal issue he was struggling with. In this case, there will be no need to seek out professional help, has your dog has found a working solution!
Your dog eating grass and vomiting all the time should not be considered a serious condition and should not concern you much if this has only happened once. This can be normal in dogs following their instincts. Also, often, dogs affected by Pica or boredom can turn to your garden for constant snacks. Speaking to your vet in these situations can help you.
Are you a dog owner? Have you figured out why your dog is eating grass and vomiting? Let us know by leaving a comment below!