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Can Dogs Eat Grass? Veterinarians Get to the Bottom of Grass-Eating in Pups


As all pet owners know, dogs can exhibit some pretty strange habits. One of the more common—yet still weird—behaviors that most dogs do at one point or another is eating grass.

What causes a dog to eat grass? Can they eat grass, you know, safely? And when should you consult a veterinarian about grass-eating in dogs? For answers to all these pet-related questions and more, Parade looked to Dr. Gary Richter, veterinarian and founder of Ultimate Pet Nutrition, and Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM and veterinary consultant for, for their professional insight.

"Nibbling on grass can be normal behavior for dogs," Dr. Richter explains. "In the springtime when the grass is at its greenest and most fresh, it can be appealing for some pups."

Innocent enough—especially for younger puppies. But for some dogs, there can be a bit more to it, specifically if you're noticing grass-eating that is frequent and/or accompanied by other symptoms.

Keep reading for more information on why dogs eat grass, whether they can eat grass, and more.

Can Dogs Eat Grass?

If you're the pet paw-rent to a four-legged fur baby then you know all too well that, at times, dogs have been known to snack on some grass. While it can be alarming for some new pet owners or may stir up some questions—is this okay? is it healthy? is it normal? is something wrong with my dog?—the reasons why dogs may eat grass can range from downright innocent to something more concerning.

"Your dog simply might just like the taste of grass," Dr. Richter explains. "Or your dog might simply be experiencing boredom. They might turn to eat grass because there’s just not that much more to do when they are visiting the same yard every day, and it could be a sign that your pet needs more exercise."

Related: The Strange Reasons Why Dogs Sometimes Eat Poop

Dr. Ochoa adds, "My dog loves to eat a small patch of grass in our backyard. She just loves the taste of this grass."

But what is it about grass that's so appealing?

"Dogs are attracted to very fragrant, loud smells," Dr. Richter explains. "Sometimes they may choose to try grass that has been freshly cut because the fragrance is stronger."

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For the most part, dogs can eat grass without any cause for concern. They could just be attracted to it, like the taste of it, or be bored. All of these reasons for grass-eating in dogs are pretty benign and aren't worth overthinking.

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Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Grass-eating in dogs may be a sign of a stomachache or other gastrointestinal issues that might warrant a vet visit. For the most part, though, many dogs may chomp on some grass as a way to help self-soothe their own GI symptoms, so a trip to the vet might not be necessary.

"If your dog has GI issues, they will commonly eat grass to calm their stomach or even make themselves vomit," Dr. Ochoa explains. "If your dog is eating grass this can be due to your dog having an upset stomach. Eating grass will commonly cause your dog to vomit. The grass is also high in fiber and can help your dog with digestion."

But even though it can sometimes help with doggie digestion—after all, grass has about 33 calories per 100 grams, 2.2 grams of protein, and 4.6 grams of fiber—it's important to monitor your dog while outside. If your dog is frequently eating grass and particularly in large quantities, you should consult a veterinarian.

"Owners should start being concerned if their dog eats large clumps or chunks of grass and then immediately throws up," Dr. Richter adds. "If this is a continuing behavior owners should seek veterinary care right away."

When to Contact a Veterinarian

"Sometimes a symptom of eating grass can mean your pet has a nutritional imbalance or intestinal upset. It’s important to be aware of the amount of grass your pet is consuming and look out for symptoms of other underlining health issues," Dr. Richter explains. "If your dog continuously eats large quantities of grass, this may begin to be cause for concern," Dr. Richter says. "If your dog is one of the ones eating large qualities, it could be due to different issues such GI upset or some sort of nutritional imbalances related to their food. If your dog is a compulsive grass eater, you should talk to your vet about it."

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According to Dr. Ochoa, other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, decreased appetite or not eating, and diarrhea. In the case of these other symptoms, it's best to consult your veterinarian.

Something else to consider—especially during the warmer months—is recent lawn treatments. These can be extremely toxic to animals, especially if ingested, so it's important that you keep your dog away from any grass that has recently been fertilized or sprayed.

"Some people will have their yards sprayed for pests and bugs. This can be toxic if your dog eats it," Dr. Ochoa says. "It is always best to try to prevent your dog from eating grass if you do spray for parasites."

Next up, can dogs eat ham?

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