We’ve all seen dogs eat grass before, right?
Folks often wonder whether their pup chewing on the green lawn is okay.
The answer is yes and no. :-)
All in all, it’s not bad for your dog to eat grass. HOWEVER, grass from many many years ago is not the same grass we have today. People use lots of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers today. These poisons can make your pup sick in any number of ways, including a possible increased risk for cancer because some chemicals contain cancer-causing agents like glyphosate.
My husband, Brad, has well over 30 years of experience in the landscaping industry, including knowledge of grass production and grass maintenance. He is very familiar with many of the chemical agents used on lawns to make them beautiful. Some of these agents include growth inhibitors, broad-spectrum biocides, pesticides, and other toxic ingredients.
Check labels or ask the landscaper about pet safety when maintaining your lawns. While visiting public places, dog parks, or other commercial locations, try not to let them eat the grass out of an abundance of caution. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Canines tend to munch on blades of grass because:
They like it. Some dogs enjoy consuming the chlorophyll-filled goodness. It’s also a great source of fiber and roughage, which helps digestion.
It’s hardwired. Canine ancestors were, and current-day wolves are scavengers. Meaning they’d eat whatever food they could find, including meat, bones, and vegetation. Also, some of the animals they ate were grass eaters, which means they’d eat the grass their prey ate.
It helps them feel better if they have an upset stomach. Sometimes a dog will eat a lot of grass quickly and then vomit soon after. Usually, the dog seems to feel much better afterward. This behavior has led many to believe that grass-eating can be a way dogs self-medicate.
Nutritional needs or pica. Eating grass to replenish missing nutrients is more rare, but it can happen in dogs who aren’t fed a well-balanced diet. Likewise, some dogs (and people, for that matter) develop a compulsion to eat items considered to be non-foods, like rocks, ashes, clay, or grass.
Generally speaking, if your pup eats “clean” grass every now and then, it’s not a cause for concern, and it’s a very natural thing for your dog to do. Making a big deal out of it in order to curb the behavior could actually cause them harm or anxiety because they are simply following instinct.
The problem with eating grass pops up because of the poisons often found in it. Consider researching the products used on your lawn and making changes as needed, so it’s a safe place for your dog to munch on the turf. When visiting commercial or public areas, encourage them not to eat the grass by redirecting their attention to another activity.
Our pets are beloved family members, and we want to keep them around, happy and healthy, for as long as possible!