Why does your dog carnivore sometimes mistake itself for an herbivore? Is he really purging himself by doing this? Can this behavior reveal a health problem in your pet? The answers to your questions are in our article on the subject…
Why does your dog eat grass?
Although the origins of this behavior in dogs are not yet known with precision, several hypotheses are currently put forward.
So a dog could eat grass:
As a descendant of the wolf, the dog can instinctively seek to reproduce the diet of its ancestor consisting of herbivorous prey whose gastric contents contained berries, plants … and grass. It is also in the stomach contents of small prey that wolves find fibers that participate in their digestive comfort.
Because he likes it
Although the sense of taste is not the most developed in the dog, the latter can nevertheless eat grass because he simply appreciates the taste.
Because he has a stomach ache
If your dog cannot digest his last meal, he may experience discomfort in his stomach which he will want to free himself from. For this, he will ingest a large amount of grass fairly quickly. This will irritate the lining of his stomach and make him vomit.
This behavior is nothing to worry about when it is occasional, but it should arouse your vigilance when it becomes frequent. Indeed, the abdominal pain causing this behavior may be a sign of a digestive illness or food intolerance that you will need to identify during a veterinary consultation.
Do not confuse vomiting and regurgitation. When a dog eats grass, she can “tickle” the back of her throat and cause it to regurgitate. It then “spits out” the grass itself and saliva. When the dog vomits, it expels the contents of its stomach as a result of abdominal contractions.
Because he has pica
When your dog constantly eats unusual and inedible materials such as sand, earth, pebbles, fabric, droppings, plastic or even … grass, it may be has an eating disorder called pica.
Pica can be the result of a behavioral disorder or a medical problem such as chronic digestive disorders or metabolic disorders.
In case of pica, it is therefore necessary to consult your veterinarian in order to quickly find the origin of the problem and to remedy it effectively.
Because he is not full
It is finally possible that a dog eats grass because it is hungry … and the grass rich in fibers would contribute to satiate it. In fact, dogs whose diet is rich in fermentable fibers are less likely to eat grass. We know that the fermentation of these fibers in the intestine during digestion could be the cause of a better feeling of satiety in these dogs.
If you think your dog is eating grass to satisfy his needs, you can enrich his diet with rich fermentables to try to stop his behavior. Fermentable fibers are found in particular in:
- fruits like apple, pear, plum, or banana,
- vegetables like carrots, broccoli or artichoke stock,
- legumes like lentils, peas or grain beans…
- wheat bran.
Grass absorption under surveillance
Even if the absorption of grass by a dog is not always worrying, it is necessary nevertheless to take care that the grass which your dog ingests is not treated with chemicals like fertilizers or pesticides which could harm his health.
On the other hand, you must ensure that your animal is dewormed regularly because it is on the grass that different parasites lay their eggs and that the dog can become infected.
My dog eats grass: when to consult?
Most of the time, ingesting grass is completely harmless in dogs and does not present anything to worry about.
It is nevertheless necessary to consult a veterinarian when the consumption of grass in dogs:
- seems excessive and / or systematic,
- is associated with symptoms that may remind you of a pica or digestive problems. Among these symptoms, frequent vomiting and / or whose aspect is worrying should in particular encourage you to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Does the grass help the dog to purge itself?
What is called a purge is a practice based on the use of plants and whose purpose is to rid the body of harmful elements that make it or that could make it sick. In dogs, these harmful elements can be intestinal parasites, so that purging is often equated with deworming.
According to a well-established idea, dogs could eat so eat grass to purge themselves, in other words to deworm naturally.
If it is true that the consumption of grass can accelerate the intestinal transit thanks to the fibers which it contains, it has in no case an anthelmintic action. On the contrary, it is often even through the consumption of grass that dogs become infected with the eggs of digestive worms that are present there.
The best way to deworm your pet is therefore to use veterinary deworming products whose effectiveness has been tested and proven.