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Why do dogs eat grass and how do I stop my dog from eating grass?

Whatever the reason your dog eats grass, it isn't the best snack for him. While the grass itself isn't harmful, the herbicides and pesticides found on it can be toxic. 

When pulling grass up from the ground, your dog can ingest intestinal parasites such as hookworms or roundworms, which contaminate the grass from other dogs' feces.

Dogs that respond to treats can be trained to stop eating grass in exchange for a better option. This means you should bring treats with you when you go for a walk with your dog and accompany him during breaks. Whenever the dog bends over to eat grass, distract him by asking him to walk in a different direction or offering verbal corrections and offering a treat while running.

Dogs motivated by affection can be trained using the same method as above, simply substituting positive verbal reinforcement and petting as a reward. Dogs that respond to verbal commands may need a simple command to break up the grassy snack and divert their attention.

Small dog running on grass

Why do dogs eat grass?

A common belief is that dogs eat grass to relieve an upset stomach. Some dogs consume weed urgently and then vomit shortly afterwards. But researches show that most herbivorous dogs don't get sick beforehand and don't throw up afterward.

However, there may be another digestive need that is met by grazing. Dogs need fiber in their diet, and grass is a good source of fiber. A lack of food affects a dog's ability to digest food and pass stool, so grass can actually help its body functions run more smoothly.


If your grazing dog is showing signs of stomach upset, he may have a medical problem. See your veterinarian to rule out serious medical problems and receive appropriate treatment.

Is Eating grass a Psychological Need?

While most dogs enjoy being outdoors, some get bored when they're alone and have to do something to pass the time. The nibbling weed that is readily available helps fill up the hours. Dogs crave human interaction and may try to get their owners' attention through inappropriate acts like eating grass when they feel neglected. In addition, anxious dogs eat grass as a comfort mechanism, just as nervous people bite their nails. Whether dogs are bored, lonely, or fearful, it is often found that the consumption of weed increases as the time in contact with the owner decreases.

Small puppy sitting on grass

Photo: Shutterstock >>>

Is Eating Weed An Instinct?

The dog's ancestors balanced their diet by eating whatever they hunted, including meat, bones, internal organs, and stomach contents of their prey. Eating a whole animal was a fairly balanced diet, especially if the prey's stomachs contained grass and plants that provided the dog's fiber needs.

Dogs are not true carnivores, but neither are they exactly omnivores. Dogs in the wild will eat anything that helps meet their basic nutritional needs. Modern dogs don't have to hunt for food, but that doesn't mean they've lost their natural instinct to eat. Some dogs, even those enjoying their commercial dog foods, will eat grass because of their parentage and the need to be scavengers.

For these dogs, eating grass is a behavioral problem that may not be a problem at all. Don't worry if the occasional grazing doesn't make your dog sick and systematic parasite prevention is in place (intestinal parasites can also be eaten with grass). In fact, behavior change can harm natural instincts and do more harm than good.


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