Have you ever taken your dog out for a potty break and turned your back, only to find your pup chomping on a mouthful of grass? While you might worry about the vomit you’ll be cleaning off the carpet later, this behavior is not always cause for alarm. But why do they do it, and how do you know when it’s a problem?

Many people think that when dogs eat grass, they are trying to make themselves vomit.  They believe it’s an instinctual behavior that a dog engages in to rid themselves of something they shouldn’t have eaten, or that it’s an indication that their dog has an upset stomach or intestinal problem.

Some pet parents believe that grass contains some essential nutrient their dogs are missing and instinctively know they need.

Others speculate that grass offers much needed fiber that will aid in moving food through the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. They believe that grass may serve as a laxative to help with constipation.

There are several reasons that may explain why your dog eats grass.

 Dogs may eat grass because:

  • They like it
    We tend to believe that dogs are mainly meat eaters, but it’s normal for them to eat both meat and plants. Eating grass seems to be more common between April and August, and it’s possible that the weather and season may change its taste, texture, or smell
  • They’re bored
    If your dog isn’t getting enough mental stimulation then they may turn to behaviors such as eating grass, chewing, or digging
  • They need to vomit
    It’s a common belief that dogs eat grass either to make themselves sick or to help settle their stomachs. However, studies haven’t found a definite correlation between grass-eating and sickness

Although some dogs do vomit, it doesn’t always happen, and this research suggests that it’s actually more common for dogs not to be sick after eating grass.

  • They need fiber
    Some researchers have suggested that some dogs may eat grass to get more fiber into their diet. In one case study, a dog had regularly been eating grass and vomiting for seven years, but stopped this behavior when put on a high fiber diet. If you are thinking of changing your dog’s diet then always speak to your vet first
  • It helps get rid of parasites
    Other research has suggested that some dogs may regularly eat grass to help flush out parasites that may be in their intestines. The undigested grass could help to clean out the digestive tract by wrapping itself around any parasites and removing them as the grass passes out of the digestive tract.

Another far less worrisome answer is that they may just be straight-up curious about it! Dogs like to explore with their noses, their ears, eyes, paws and definitely their mouths too! They even may just like the taste and texture of it.

Eating grass isn’t going to kill them. In fact, wild dogs have been observed eating grass, and they seem to manage just fine. However, certain types of weeds or pesticides sprayed on the grass can be harmful, which brings me to my next point:

It’s probably best to keep your pets from eating grass.

Many grasses are treated with chemicals that are harmful to all creatures, including dogs. There’s also the possibility that your pet may ingest a parasite from the grass itself. Even if you think your dog is just eating the grass out of curiosity, try to lure them away using your preferred methods of training, such as giving treats or verbal direction. Providing them with more mental stimulation and physical exercise such as puzzle feeders, obedience games or taking them for longer or more stimulating walks may help end the grass eating war between you and your pup.