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Why does my dog eat grass?

You might have spotted your dog eat grass while out in the garden or maybe they’ve pulled you towards the edge of a path so they can munch on the luscious green blades as they walk? Many dog owners get worried when they see their pooch grazing on grass, especially as there are so many beliefs surrounding the behaviour.

But what does it mean when your dog decides to eat some greenery and when should it be a cause for concern?

Why do dogs eat grass?

It’s very common for dogs (and even cats!) to eat grass, and in the majority of cases it’s not a major cause for concern. There are a few different reasons, or theories, as to why they do it. Some owners believe that eating grass is a sign that their dog is trying to make up for nutrients missing in their diet, to relieve stomach upset or that it means that their pooch has worms.

The truth is, no one really knows why they do it. Many dogs just like the taste and texture of the greenery, some might want to relieve some boredom while others are trying to fulfil a natural omnivore instinct.

Is eating grass bad for dogs?

Eating grass isn’t necessarily harmful to dogs as long as it doesn’t become excessive, but there are some things to consider before letting your pooch munch on lawns or paths.

Certain pesticides and herbicides are often sprayed onto grass to help with its growth, but these can be harmful to our dogs so always be aware of the signs of accidental poisoning.

These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Drooling
  • Excessive drinking
  • Confusion
  • Distress
  • Dilation of pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors

Certain parasites can be passed on by slugs, snails and animal droppings so it’s important to ensure your dog is up to date on its pest treatment and protected from lungworm.

When should I seek veterinary advice?

You know your dog best and if you’re concerned about their health it’s always best to speak to a vet, especially if you notice a sudden change in their behaviour.

Contact your vet if:

  • your dog is eating grass but is put off their normal food
  • the grass eating becomes excessive or constant
  • your dog is eating grass and throws up or appears unwell
  • they seem lethargic

If you think your dog might be eating grass because they are bored, we can help provide you with ideas for better mental enrichment through indoor and outdoor play.

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