Why do some dogs eat grass?

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Dogs love to munch on grass. Sometimes get concerned, because they’re wondering if their dog is doing it because she’s bored or hungry, but there’s really no need to worry.

The only exception is if you’re concerned that yours or your neighbors’ lawns are treated with pesticides, herbicides and chemicals—but then the solution is easy. Just buy her a little tray of grass of her own!

A word of caution: You do want to watch out for a sudden increase in grass eating, because it could be a sign of a more serious underlying illness that your dog is trying to self treat—but requires immediate veterinary assistance.

While no one knows for sure why dogs do this, there are strong suspicious that:

• It brings out their foraging instincts

Dogs aren’t strictly carnivores, like cats. They’re also not strict omnivores. In fact, dogs are usually called “obligate omnivores, “meaning they’ll eat both plants and animals.

When their ancestors lived in the wild they ate anything and everything, as long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirements. They frequently ate their entire prey, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals.

The modern dog, however, is now domesticated so they seek out plants as an alternative food source. Most commonly, that plant is grass, since that is what is closest at hand. Canines, though, have been known to also eat fruit, berries, and other vegetable matter.

• Upset stomach

Grass seems to be a good natural remedy, because it helps dogs throw up the offending substance; the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining and that sensation may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.

• Nutrition

Grass contains essential nutrients that a dog might crave. If you notice that your dog has been munching away on grass or houseplants, then you may want to introduce natural herbs or cooked vegetables into their diet—and you may even want to switch to a higher-nutrient dog food.

• Boredom

If you suspect boredom’s the reason she eats grass, make sure she’s getting enough exercise. Toss a Frisbee, or buy her a sturdy chew toy to keep her occupied.

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