Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? Lessons I’ve Learned…

IG and Hiking

Discomfort? Eating a lot in large amounts? Just like the taste?

Most vets I’ve asked about eating grass – say generally speaking it’s OK if our dogs eat a little but grass. Today on a hike, Walter couldn’t get enough of it so I thought I’d look at some articles to see what folks are saying across the board.

All my dogs eat grass and most of the time – they don’t vomit. Shermie is actually fairly selective with the grass he eats. He looks for wide blades that grow in patches of “wild grass” we find in wooded areas rather than “lawn” grass. A few articles talk about grass acting as a natural antacid. I think when Sherm’s stomach is upset he seeks this out. So much so, when I know he doesn’t feel good and he wakes me up in the middle of the night, it’s not necessarily to go outside and vomit or because he needs to poop. He just wants to eat grass for awhile.

We add cooked green beans to their Raw diet (Darwin’s is what we feed and the fresh food delivered every few weeks comes with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and veggies your dog needs) so I don’t think it’s something he seeks out because he’s not getting what he needs as far as diet and nutrition.  We already have roughage covered.

4-10-16 IG

According to an article written by a reputable veterinarian

When you have an upset stomach you go straight to the medicine cabinet or the pharmacy. But what does your dog do? A dog will seek out a natural remedy for a gassy or upset stomach, and grass, it seems, may do the trick. When the dogs eats the grass, the grass blade tickles the throat and stomach lining; this sensation, in turn, may cause the dog to vomit, especially if the grass is gulped down rather than chewed.

So if your dog vomits, don’t panic – the grass may tickle their stomach lining. But if your dog is eating large amounts of grass and this continues throughout the day, it is important to see your veterinarian.

So I’m going to assume it’s just my dogs telling me they need a natural antacid like Pepcid! Some dogs may indeed need additional roughage – so you can always try adding cooked green beans or sweet potatoes.

*An idea: Buy wheat berries or barley grass seeds, and grow these – make your own herb garden for your dogs! Set aside a spot for your dogs to enjoy! I’ll be working on this project this spring. 

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There are 28 Comments

  1. Our dogs eat grass and although they eat a balanced raw diet, I know that the grass is providing something more that they need. If it’s just a munch here and there, I don’t worry. It’s when they’ run directly to a patch of grass once let outside that I know that their tummy is upset.

    I up their digestive enzyme in their next meal or add raw goats milk to provide some relief. Olewo carrots work as well.

    The only thing I worry about is when we’re on a walk. We don’t use chemicals on our property, but I can’t control what they’re exposed to on various walks so I try to discourage grass eating in some places.

    • Thank you so much for posting this! Sherm really had me going for a while when his stomach was upset. Bolting for the door and then simply eating grass! I can tell now when he needs an actual Pepcid. Thank you for these suggestions. Raw goats milk is a great idea AND I’m reading about Green Tripe since I’m reviewing it this week and understand that may also work. I’m with you – I only let them nibble when its in areas that are “wild” and don’t look like they’ve been fertilized… ditto.

  2. nichole says:

    Great post about grass eating!

  3. Lindsay says:

    Wheat berries or barley eh? If I lived in a house and had a backyard, I’d be all over this. My boys occasionally eat grass and maybe half of the time, they’ll vomit. Baxter likes to otherwise munch on grass like a weirdo and that’s fine with me. 🙂

    • Thank you! I need to start a grassy garden that the dogs can eat in my backyard for sure! We have woodchips in the back at the moment as my guys like to DIG. 🙂 I think munching on grass is fine as well! I just stand there while people walk by me…. like yea, my dog is eating long blades of sweet grass!! lol!

  4. Kimberly says:

    I actually grow grass and herbs keit for my dogs so they can self medicate

  5. […] is actually fairly selective with the grass he eats. He looked for wide blades that grow in patches of “wild grass” we find in wooded areas rather […]

  6. Emma says:

    We have always eaten the fresh sweet grass, but normally we eat grass within 24 hours of rain coming. We have all done it at the same time and tend to toss it back up about at the same time and then we are done and move on. An older man years ago told Mom dogs eat grass before it rains and it has been true with all four of Mom’s dogs so far. We also eat it if we have a sick tummy, but the rain idea is 100% in all of our cases. Sometimes those old wives tales might be for real.

    • Hi! Ok – that’s also fascinating! And I must research why that occurs. I’m going to watch my guys closely as I tend to believe what wise men tell us! Agree with you 100%. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Mary says:

    Roxy eats grass all the time. I think she just likes it. She never throws up, and just nibbles it a bit. Torrey will occasionally eat a little. They both love the stems from spinach and leaf lettuce too.

    • Sounds like you’re doing such an awesome job with other types of greens in their diets too. I should start adding Spinach when we’re eating it! Thank you!

  8. Mine eat when their stomach is upset other times it’s because they can and they don’t vomit from it. You do want to be care full if they ingest a lot as it can cause a blockage, we had to go in surgically once to remove a bunch of grass.

  9. jan says:

    My dogs only vomit on brand new carpet. Now that it’s old they never vomit on it.

  10. Great explanation! And, yes, mine nibble on grass most everyday here and there. The only time I got concerned was when Molly REALLY was munching – as in acting like she was mowing the lawn. Turns out that was a sever gastrointestinal infection that required a vet. But, eating a boat load of grass every time outside was the first symptoms of it. She ate so much that even her stool sample was one big grass clump!

    • Thank you! I’ve had that happen too – and Shermie or Bruiser this will happen too, if they’re not monitored outside and then I find they vomit it up it’s typically something they need to see the vet for asap. So it’s really varied across the dogs and the impact it can have… It’s a dramatic change in behavior and then it’s obvious when I think I better start with an actual pepcid!

  11. Jan K says:

    Our dog Luke eats grass all of the time, he always has since he was a puppy. I’ve come to the conclusion he just likes it.
    If our beagle Cricket is eating it though, it’s because she has an upset stomach, and it usually comes back up. I always thought those that usually upchuck it were just trying to clear their bellies out….I never heard the antacid thing – interesting!

  12. The feature image was a dachshund, so I had to read more! Our dogs eat grass when they’re hungry (and it’s actually past dinnertime), or if they have a tummy upset.

  13. Jodi Stone says:

    Delilah eats grass too! She is very particular only going for the wide blade grass herself. It’s funny to watch her carefully choosing which grass she will eat. She is not a vomiter at all, so maybe the grass settles her stomach and she has no need to? It’s weird because she doesn’t eat it during the colder months, I heard the grass was sweet at this time of year, so maybe that also has something to do with it?

    • I also find it fascinating that the dogs know which types of grasses they want to eat to help their stomachs. I think the grass is sweeter this time of year too – and my guys rarely vomit the grass up… I’m so curious about all of it.

  14. Shadow usually only eats grass when her tummy is upset or a little gassy. If she just eats a little bit, I don’t worry about it. But if she eats a lot and then brings it back up, then I know there’s a storm brewing in there somewhere. (And usually it’s because the dog-daddy has been slipping her some people treats again despite my and the vet telling him it’s bad for her.)

    • My dogs do the exact same thing: in fact, they seek it out! They pull me to the wild grass that grows in the neighborhood! Sometimes my husband brings Shermie to work and he probably gets something he shouldn’t have off the floor – I know it! Thank you!

  15. My dogs eat grass first thing in the morning, but thankfully, it doesn’t seem to upset their stomachs. For the most part they love all vegetables (one doesn’t like spinach), so maybe they just think it is their first breakfast.