Why do dogs eat grass, indeed?
It's the question on almost everyone's mind. Dogs seem to love to eat grass, and some even make it part of their daily routine. Fortunately, most experts believe dogs that eat grass are not any worse for it. So why exactly do they gobble up that green stuff in your yard?
The Scavenger Inside
Unlike cats, dogs are not carnivores. However, that doesn't mean they are like your garden-variety omnivores, either. Dogs are opportunistic scavengers that have devoured anything – so long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirement – for tens of thousands of years.
The modern dog, on the other hand, is no longer like its ancestors, which frequently ate their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. It is believed that partly because of evolution and partly because of domestication dogs today seek out plants as an alternative food source. This is often grass because that is what is closest and most abundant, but wild canines are known to eat fruits, berries, and other vegetable matter, too.
So, that may clear up why dogs eat grass, but why dogs throw up after eating grass.
Better Than an Antacid
When you have an upset stomach you go straight to the medicine cabinet or the pharmacy. But what does your dog do? A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. When the dogs eats the grass, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation, in turn, may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.
Now, this doesn't mean your dog should be grazing on grass like a cow. Sure, they may nibble on the grass, chew on the grass for a while and may not even throw up (an unwell dog will tend to gulp the grass down in big bites and then throw up). If this is the case, your dog may find the texture of the grass palatable, or maybe because your dog needs to add a little roughage to their diet.
Whatever the reason may be, most experts see no danger in letting your dog eat grass. In fact, grass contains essential nutrients that a dog might crave, especially if they are on a commercial diet. If you notice that your dog has been munching away on grass or houseplants, then you may want to introduce natural herbs or cooked vegetables into their diet. Dogs aren't finicky like cats, but they're not too fond of raw veggies either. They're kind of like big furry kids that way.
So, when you think about it, grass munching isn’t that bad at all. However, pay attention if there is a sudden increase in grass eating; it could be a sign of a more serious underlying illness that your dog is trying to self treat, and that requires immediate veterinary assistance.
You may also want to buy a small tray of grass just for the dog, or start an herbal home garden. This will give your poor pooch an alternative to the outdoor grass and landscaping, the eating of which could lead to accidental ingestion of pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals that have been used to treat your (or your neighbor's) yard.