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I have always been told that dogs eat grass because they have upset stomachs. My dogs, however, eat grass every single time they go outside. I constantly need to remind them that grass is not for eating.

Are they just hungry? Do they always have an upset stomach? Or do they have some nutritional deficiency?

  • 2
    There's two ways of telling whether a dog has an upset stomach or not. By what comes out the front and what comes out the back. You should have a fair idea of what a normal stool looks like for your dog. Unless there's an indication there that the grass negatively affects him, you should be fine. If you're worried though, ask a vet. – ThomasH Oct 9 '13 at 23:44
  • Dogs will eat grass to make themselves vomit. They are incapable of digesting grass. If a dog is eating grass and vomiting regularly, the dog needs to see a vet. It is doubtful a little nibble of grass when he goes out will harm him. It depends on if he is truly eating it, he may not be swallowing it. – In loving memory of Dyani Oct 13 '13 at 10:35
  • @user87 that is a VERY good point. I was worried my little Dachshund puppy was always eating grass, until I really paid attention. She'll take a blade of grass, or a dandelion bud in her mount and carry it, then a few minutes later spits it out or drops it. She almost never actually swallows anything except her food. (I actually asked a question about her habit.) – CGCampbell Jul 1 '14 at 13:33
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I have also been told by various sources eating grass helps dogs with digestive issues. If the dogs are doing it every single time as you state yours are, they may have picked it up as a habit.

According to "A Vet's Take On Why Dogs Eat Grass" (Modern Dog Magazine), the following possibilities exist:

  • dogs cannot digest grass, so there is no nutritional value
  • dogs consume grass to aid them in vomiting (see article for details)
  • dogs chew out of a developed obsessive-compulsive habit
  • some just snack when they find a particularly succulent blade of grass
  • for reasons of past evolution
  • out of hunger or unbalanced nutrition
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    +1 Unfortunately, dogs can develop all sorts of neurotic behaviour. Unless it's affecting their digestion though, the shouldn't be any need to address it. – ThomasH Oct 9 '13 at 23:36
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Well, first, you don't need to stop them from eating the grass unless you've been chemically treating it. Dogs are not pure carnivores, unlike cats, and so they do want and need some other dietary sources in their food, such as plants. As hunter/scavengers, canines will get a lot of other food sources from their prey, which are usually herbivores, but domesticated canines are likely looking for alternate sources beyond their regular food and your grass is an easy one for them to get to.

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    +1 for the advice but, if I remember correctly (can't look it up easily on the phone), they eat grass for fibre and not because they get any nutrients out of it. When my dog eats grass, you'll sometimes see it coming out the other end completely undigested. There's a reason cows have so many stomachs ... – ThomasH Oct 9 '13 at 23:40
  • Pet.MD (which I linked) suggests that there are nutrients to be had in the grass. – John Cavan Oct 10 '13 at 1:10
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    Apologies, I didn't click through on the link as I was on the phone and assumed the link was about dogs being omnivores rather than why they eat grass specifically. LiveScience cites inducing vomiting and adding roughage as the main reasons but agrees that nutrients might be had, though it does include fibre among those nutrients :) – ThomasH Oct 10 '13 at 8:34
  • @Skippy - I didn't say they were omnivores, because they're not like us. However, they do look for other nutrients that could otherwise be present in their prey that are not necessarily available in dig foods. That's why I have a citation in my answer. – John Cavan Oct 13 '13 at 13:29
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As far as I know, dogs don't eat grass in a huge amount. While you are taking him out for a stroll, you might observe him eating grass. There can be two reasons. Generally, they just like eating grass (no kidding!!). I read somewhere it helps them getting some fibre.

Second reason might be he wants to vomit if he suffers from indigestion. Although, it does not mean the dog is certainly ill. Just like human, they throw up if there meal had been heavy. That's why they eat grass. The reason behind there eating grass can be any of them.

  • Our dog does this all the time. When we see him eating grass (beyond just a quick snack), we keep him outside until he vomits (and he always does) – psubsee2003 Oct 10 '13 at 0:57
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    It happens here too, our dog gets nervous, can't rest and just paces around looking unhappy. I'll take him out for a walk and he'll be eating grass like he's never seen other food. And eventually he throws up and is back to normal again :) – Esa Paulasto Dec 10 '13 at 6:34

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