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Everyone has heard that some dogs eat grass to induce vomiting to help settle their stomach, but does a little nibble mean your dog is sick? Not necessarily.  And what if your dog is chowing down constantly?  Is that cause for alarm? Well, there are actually lots of reasons a dog may eat grass and not all reasons are necessarily concerning.  Let’s talk about it!

Not Feeling Well

Some dogs will in fact eat grass if they aren’t feeling well to help settle their stomach.  It’s just instinct to help induce vomiting and if it works for them and only happens every once in a while, it is a perfectly safe was for them to self-regulate.


Just like humans, dogs can get bored and will find creative ways to entertain themselves. Since they can’t exactly turn on Netflix or scroll through Instagram, they turn to eating grass to keep themselves busy. You could stop the behavior with a combination of positive reward training, an exercise regime, and quality time outside with your dog throwing a ball.

Behavioral issues

If your pup seems perfectly healthy but can’t seem to shake their grass-eating habit (for example, you notice they always make a beeline for the same grassy patch or only eat certain blades along the fence), it may be caused by behavioral issues, such as anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Eating grass can serve as a coping mechanism that helps stressed or anxious dogs calm down, similar to repetitive licking and chewing. Providing plenty of physical contact and talking to them during this time can also be beneficial. And, like their human counterparts, exercise can help relieve stress by producing positive endorphins.

It just tastes good

It’s possible that some dogs just really love the taste of grass and want to chow down on an all-you-can-eat lawn buffet. Before the days of kibble and canned food, our pup’s ancestors consumed grass and other plants by way of their prey (that’s what their prey ate and when eating their prey, they also ate the prey’s stomach contents). So, your dog could just be tapping into their wild instincts. Using high value treats during your walk can help in discouraging your furry pal from eating grass!

Nutritional Imbalance

Sometimes pica (aka eating non-food items) is caused by diet deficiencies. Some theories claim that eating grass fulfills an unmet nutritional need for fiber or other nutrients. So, if your dog isn’t getting enough of these things in their dog food, for example, they could be craving grass to help with digestion. Or if you’re not feeding your dog enough, they could be eating grass because they are still hungry after meals. If you think your dog might be eating grass because of nutritional problems, talk to your vet to see if they recommend changes to your dog’s diet or supplements. One supplement that we have found to be extremely helpful is Chippin’s Veggie Dailies.

So, is it bad for my dog to eat grass?

Eating a few blades of grass in your backyard won’t hurt your pup. However, letting your dog ingest too much grass can cause constipation, vomiting, diarrhea or an intestinal obstruction necessitating surgery. Even though most dogs won’t eat so much that this will become an issue, there are a few times when you should be extra vigilant and redirect this behavior. Grass in public areas can contain diseases that can remain in the grass for weeks and still be infectious. You also want to keep your dog away from grass that has been treated with toxic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals. Even grass from your own yard could be a potential danger if it has been treated. Beware of plants in your yard that are poisonous to dogs. Check the ASPCA for a list of toxic yard plants and make sure your pup doesn’t try to eat them.

So go ahead, enjoy your backyard, the park and going on walks with your pup without too much worry if they are nibbling here and there.  But don’t leave them unattended for too long and be watchful of their behavior so you can step in, redirect and seek veterinary help if needed. 

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