The common belief is that if a dog is eating grass, their stomach must be upset. And sometimes dogs do vomit after eating vegetation. However, what about those dogs that just seem to “graze”? Recently, with the new spring grass, two of my shelties have become sheep – eating up the grass like candy with no vomiting. So, I decided to research why and went to the experts for the answers. Here’s what they said.
Fresh Spring Greens
Although dogs are meat-eaters first and foremost, apparently grazing, especially during the spring, is not unusual or something you should be too concerned with, especially if no vomiting is present.
Christina Chambreau, DVM, an internationally known homeopathic veterinarian, lecturer and author of Fleas BeGone, and Healthy Animal’s Journal and founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, explains that it’s totally normal if your dog is eating different weeds and not merely grass, especially if they do it at specific times of the year.
“In the spring, wolves definitely eat greens, and so do many of our dogs. Spring grass and greens are especially high in Selenium and Vitamin,” Dr. Chambreau says.
So if your dog is not vomiting, and its spring, he or she may just be enjoying the taste of fresh grass and getting some needed nutrients.
Another reason could be, as mentioned above, needed nutrients. If your dog’s food is not giving them all the nutrition they need, they may eat grass. There are a few theories on this, but no one answer on why.
“There is some data suggesting ingesting grass may be secondary to a lack of fiber in the diet,” explains Dr. Arvid Edward DVM, host of The Pet Doctors talk show.
Conversely, Dr. Chambreau says it has to do more with the quality of the food (fresh vs. processed).
“Healthier dogs are more likely to not eat grass. The healthier dogs are eating a fresh diet that does provide many nutrients not available in processed kibble and canned foods,” Dr. Chambreau says. “Specific nutrients are not missing when they eat grass, it is merely that their vital force is more balanced when they eat a fresh food diet (in most dogs), so they will have fewer odd symptoms.”
And, finally, there is some truth in the “urban myth” that dogs will eat grass when their stomach is upset. It is thought to induce vomiting, thus getting rid of whatever is bothering the dog’s stomach.
“Some dogs even seem to know to eat specific greens to make themselves vomit,” says Dr. Chambreau.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi, DVM,suggests two reasons for grass-induced vomiting. “These dogs are telling their owners that they have an upset stomach. I’ve seen two common causes these upset stomachs: lower quality food that is based on corn and contains byproducts, and stomach ulcers,” she says. “So, for the pet owner who sees their dog eating grass and vomiting, there is reason to go to the veterinarian to make sure there isn’t something more going on.”
About the Author
Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles.
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