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Why Dogs and Cats Eat Grass

dog eating grass 2 editedAs a loving and devoted pet owner, you probably take care in choosing nutritionally complete food and healthy pet treats. So, why do some pets feel the need to snack on grass? The answer isn’t the same for every animal.

Even if a pet’s diet is complete, cravings for certain things (like grass) can occur. If your pet is just taking a few nibbles of grass and no gastrointestinal upset is present, there is probably not much cause for concern (as long as your lawn isn’t treated with any harmful chemicals).

In other cases, pets have the behavioral drive to eat things that aren’t typically considered food. For some pets, this might be grass, but it can also be things like paper or plastic. Animals may do this simply because it feels good to chew on that item, or they may be suffering from a neurological disorder that is causing this behavior.

Lastly, if a pet is gulping down grass, this may be due to a natural instinct to induce vomiting because of an upset stomach. If your pet is eating a lot of grass, regularly experiencing stomach upset, or displaying changes in behavior, it’s time to contact a veterinarian.

Be prepared to answer a few questions when you visit the vet. Does your pet vomit after eating grass? Has your pet’s diet changed recently? Are there any patterns in your pet’s behavior?

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, a vet might run a variety of tests including blood work, a fecal exam, x-rays, and an abdominal ultrasound. For many pets, eating grass is a symptom of a minor illness or nothing at all. However, more serious conditions are sometimes to blame.

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • THOMAS M. CURRY March 25, 2014, 4:45 am

    My dog swims often —what flea and tick med is waterproof?

    • VetDepot March 25, 2014, 3:30 pm

      Hi Thomas. Many flea and tick preventatives, such as Frontline Plus and Advantage II, are waterproof. We advise that you consult with your pet’s veterinarian regarding the best product for your individual dog.

    • Miss Vicky June 24, 2014, 5:54 am

      The medication in the topical products gets absorbed into the skin so a couple of hours after application, its safe to swim or bathe after that.

  • Karon White March 25, 2014, 8:18 am

    Thank you for all the insight on our pets’ care. It’s just as important for us long-time pet owners as it is for new pet parents. Though I just have a small dog, I read about other kinds of pets and pass along the information. Please don’t stop giving us all the good advice. Thank you VetDepot 🙂

  • Private One March 25, 2014, 8:26 am

    Cats and dogs both will eat grass to remove fur balls from the back of their throat gotten from grooming.

    • NIna March 25, 2014, 5:55 pm

      Never heard this before — thanks for the input!

  • Cheryl Malone March 25, 2014, 11:05 am

    It has been my lifelong experience with countless breeds and personalities of dogs, big and small, that in Spring when the first rich green shoots start popping out of Winter’s brown coat the dogs start to nipple and taste. Not to worry about that, just don’t let them eat more than a little at a time or they will get an upset tummy.

  • BJ Conner March 26, 2014, 7:58 am

    During this very cold winter, with no grass available, my Standard Poodle vomited a large quantity of bad food (he had gotten into something outdoors when he got away from me), plus some blue fiber. When I caught him eating my blue shaggy rug I realized he was trying to induce vomiting this way – he has never destroyed anything previously. It worked! Good news for the dog – bad news for the rug. I was astounded by his ability to seek and find something that would make him feel better.

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