Why Do Dogs Eat Grass + Should You Be Worried About It? A Vet Answers

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Playing Vet Explains Why Dogs Eat Grass—and How to Handle It

If your dog eats grass, he or she is certainly not the only one. In fact, Rach says her pup Bella does too! Dr. Courtney Campbell, veterinary surgeon and pup pro, breaks down why your dog might be going for grass.  

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? 

It could be a physical need, a psychological need or an instinctual action, he says. A smaller number of dogs may eat grass because of a gastrointestinal disturbance. And some dogs may actually need grass to help food pass through their intestines more easily. There are also some dogs that eat grass due to anxiety or boredom. So, the bottom line is if your dog is eating grass, there could be many explanations.  

Definitely consult with a vet if you find that your dog is consuming more grass lately.  

Before letting your dog eat grass, here are some things to consider:  

1) Parasites 

"Dogs can pick up parasites that live in the soil and in grass-like hookworms and roundworms," says Dr. Courtney. "Leptospirosis also can live in the grass if it is contaminated by infected urine. Therefore it is important that you and your vet work on a parasite prevention and vaccination program that works best for you and your dog."   

2) Plants 

When it comes to plants, there are some that can make your pet sick. As a pet parent, it’s important to know which plants can be dangerous and try to avoid using them in landscaping or planting them in a garden.    

"Azaleas, daffodils, Easter Lily and Sago palms are all examples of poisonous plants that can cause serious damage to their body if they eat or chew them," says Dr. Courtney. "Aloe, hydrangeas, bougainvillea, birds of paradise, gardenia, hibiscus, iris, pansy and peace lily are also all examples of plants that are toxic to pets." Not only will these toxic plants make your dog sick, but they can cause unpleasant upset stomach or oral chemical irritation if eaten or chewed.  

How to stop dogs from eating grass or plants 

"Use treats as a form of positive reinforcement to encourage behavior that you would like to see; in this case, the target behavior would be no grass eating. That means you need to bring treats along when you take your dog for a walk and accompany him on potty breaks," explains Dr. Courtney. "Or simply, [saying] 'no' or 'no grass' when they bend down to eat grass may help them stop, you can use affection instead of eating and it may be more effective in some dogs." 

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