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When a dog nibbles at a few blades of grass, it may seem a little unusual at first glance. After all, we don’t associate “dog” with “herbivore”. In truth, this behaviour is embedded in our animals’ genes. Wolves can be seen in the wild nibbling on grasses and herbs over and over again. A puppy learns from its mother that eating grass is something quite normal. Eating a few blades of grass therefore is basically very natural for our dogs and – with a few exceptions – also harmless.
In fact, science has not yet come up with a solution to this question. What is certain is that most dogs eat grass from time to time. However, the reason for this behaviour has not yet been clearly proven. There are a wide range of theories. On the one hand, it could be that dogs want to give their digestive system a helping hand with the dietary fibres contained in the grasses. A desire for additional vitamins or bitter substances is just as probable.
Another possibility is that they see the grass as a gastrointestinal tract cleanser. Leaves of grass can wrap around foreign bodies and be helpful in getting rid of them. Grass comes out of the anus practically undigested and so cleans the entire intestine. Unlike cats, dogs don't actually eat grass specifically to throw up, but it's quite possible that this happens. Some of our furry friends seem to pick at blades of grass purely out of boredom or to relieve stress. Some dogs eat grass regularly, others like to do it at a particular time of year. In general, lush sweet grasses seem to be preferred.
You should make sure that your dog does not eat contaminated grass. Lawns along busy roads are not the cleanest. You should also stop your dog from eating the grass at the edge of farmers’ fields, as these fields are often sprayed with fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides. Poisonous plants must also be avoided, of course. In spring, crocuses, lilies of the valley and daffodils can be particularly dangerous.
If your dog sporadically chews on a few blades of grass, this is no cause for alarm. However, if your furry friend becomes a grass-eating machine, please consult your trusted vet.
You should also seek veterinary support if: