why dogs eat grass like this is a good question

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass Then Throw Up?


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Why do dogs eat grass and weeds and then throw up? Granted they don’t throw up all the time but this is often the case. Do dogs know something about carbs and fibre that we humans don’t or are they simply salad fanatics?

Since dogs across New Zealand seem wholeheartedly committed to keeping up with this foodie trend PD Insurance has decided to unpack the why, how and what.

If going green is your dog’s snack of choice, we look at the potential risks and benefits of dogs eating grass.

Does this mysterious habit mean anything?

Does a dog eating grass mean anything? After all dogs do eat a lot of weird things and not just grass. Could it be grass is just another dog fad we humans aren’t clued in on until we learn how to speak dog.

For example, dogs love not just to eat their own poop but sometimes other dogs’ poop too. Ewww! The list doesn’t end there either… we see plenty of claims for ingestion of socks, tennis balls, human medication and a bunch of other household items that would be better left uneaten.

Think (rather than say out loud) eating their own poop, eating other dog’s poop, eating homework (maybe not entirely true) and/or eating charcoal. Although the latter has become a human fad too. Did dogs get this from humans or was it the other way around?

Bow-wows tend to have a penchant for a lot of weird grub.

Although the eating poop part is pretty gross, could these unusual dietary habits simply be a rite of passage from pup to senior? If you think about it, kids tend to also eat a lot of unsavoury things. Luckily, poop is generally not one of them.

Child-care literature suggests trialling strange foods-that-aren’t-foods is an all-too necessary part of growing a healthy immune system. So, maybe dogs are just following suit?

Reasons why dogs eat grass and weeds 

Dogs became our carb-loving besties through thousands of years of dog-and-human coevolution. Our contemporary pup is allowed the occasional French fry, tortilla or slice of buttered toast. And this has been made possible by starch-processing genes dogs have developed over time, by eating human foods. 

This is different from wolves, whose gastrointestinal (GI) system is designed to eat mainly raw meat. So perhaps modern dogs are just doing we have conditioned them to do, ie: eat more fibre.

Studies suggest dogs may benefit from eating grass and accompanying weeds for these reasons:   

  • Fibre-rich diet
  • Improves digestion
  • Flushes out parasites such as intestinal worms
  • Enjoyment (vets and scientists believe some dogs like the taste!)
  • Entertainment (when bored, eats grass)
  • Flushing out harmful substances 

After all, a high-in-fibre diet is good for people. So, when pondering why dogs eat grass, we can consider that perhaps it’s good for pooch too. If you’re a cat parent then find out why cats eat grass too.

Why do dogs eat grass and then vomit

Sure, greens are good, but only if you keep them down. Although not all greens. You want to keep your dog away from poisonous plants and karaka berries, for instance. But moving back to grass…

Before we look into why dogs eat grass at all, why does eating grass lead to a dog throwing up?

Research shows that 79% of dogs eat grass and only 22% throw up afterwards. This suggests that while it can lead to vomiting, giving their tummies a clean via purging isn’t the only reason for dogs eating grass. Though it is one of them.

Interestingly, younger dogs have more interest in lawn-mowing-diets than older dogs. So perhaps it’s just a way of trying out new foods?

learn how karaka berries and dogs should never be combined

Signs of an underlying health condition

Why is my dog eating grass frantically, you might be asking? Hang on a minute – while dogs eating grass is a common behaviour and generally not associated with illness, watch out for any sudden increase in grass intake. It’s important to keep a lookout for this and accompanying physical changes.

A sudden change could point to an underlying illness such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. Signs to look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Excessive drooling or lip-licking
  • Decreased appetite
  • Changes to your dog’s fur

If your champion shows any of these symptoms and is also eating grass, he or she could be proactively trying to self-medicate. A situation like this requires a professional diagnosis by a vet.

It’s good to know that our dog insurance plans can cover pooch for accident and illness related vet visits as well as medications and hospitalisation for conditions that aren’t pre-existing.

Should I stop my dog from eating grass?

You see your dog eats grass and weeds along with it and you’re wondering whether there’s a healthier type for it to gnaw on than your garden variety green. Do you want to reduce your adorable BFF’s carb intake while still providing greens? Or maybe you live in an apartment with no immediate access to grass?

You can try growing wheatgrass for dogs (AKA pet grass).

It grows well as a porch plant and doubles as a fresh source of gluten-free fibre for a foraging snout. Plus, it packs health benefits like enzymes, vitamins and minerals, but be sure to use a chemical-free soil. 

So next time you step out for a wheatgrass smoothie, consider that a girl’s best friend might be wanting one too 😊. Watch this PD Pet Care vlog for more info on why dogs eat grass with Dr Cath Watson:

Grass eater or not, does my dog need pet insurance?

If you’re asking this question it can be good to remember that underlying GI diseases don’t always present symptoms right away. Left unchecked these can lead to more serious complications, which eventually require hospitalisation.

Planning ahead to cover vet visit costs can do more than save money, it can help put your mind at ease and keep your bestie safe. Dog insurance from PD covers pooch for a wide range of vet treatments, prescription medicine, hospitalisation and more. The grass can be greener on the other side!

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