You notice your pup lying down in your yard chewing on the grass and wonder why. The common belief for this unusual routine is associated with a canine version of pica. This is a behavioral pattern centered around the consumption of strange items that are not food. While pica is considered an eating disorder in humans, this type of behavior is sometimes an indicator of a deficiency in your pet's diet.
Related: Can Dogs Eat Asparagus?
So if there is a diet deficiency, what is your dog missing? The prevailing theory has to do with the amount of fiber your pup is getting. Grass is rich in fiber, so if your dog isn't getting enough of it from normal food intake, the blades of your lawn might be the next best thing. Fiber is a vital component for good health as it promotes digestion and assists in the passing of gas and stool.
There are other possibilities as to what makes your dog want to chew on grass. Much like humans, dogs get bored, they get anxious, and like us, they turn to certain habits to resolve these feelings.. Dogs are chewers by nature and when they have no other compelling stimuli to fill the time, many pups will enjoy chewing on grass to while away the day.
A dog may also chew as a way to ease anxiety, though the object they choose for working out that anxiety may not always be the best option. Dogs often target shoes, clothes, and other items around the house for chewing away the anxiety. If your pup targets your well-manicured lawn, this could be a big reason why.
Speaking of your well-manicured lawn, if your dog is chewing on it despite repeated corrections not to do so, this may be your dog's way of trying to get some attention. A dog that feels neglected may turn to negative behaviors that are sure to get noticed.
Let's face it, your dog lives a pampered life compared to his or her ancestors. As dogs grew more domesticated, their bodies and dietary requirements changed. Your pup's forefathers survived in the wild by hunting, gaining the dietary benefit of the prey and its diet. Sometimes the animal that was consumed had a diet of plants. Therefore, your pup may be chewing on grass as part of some type of instinctive behavior dictated by genetic makeup and a need to hunt.
Does grass taste good?
Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Many dogs find grass tasty and will chew on it simply because they enjoy the flavor. The taste along with the physical texture of blades of grass in the mouth are pleasing to pups.
Is it unsafe for dogs?
Not really, though you do want to be careful about your dog ingesting parasites that can be found in other animals' stool. These parasitic organisms can target the intestines. Be careful not to let your pup chew on grass that's been treated with any pesticides or herbicides as these are toxic and they can cause significant health problems to dogs.
How can I stop my dog from eating grass?
If you want to stop your pet from eating grass, there are ways to train them from doing so. Most dogs respond favorably to treats, so when your pet starts to chew on the grass offer a verbal correction and reward with a treat when the correction is obeyed. Breaking your pup's grass habit is done in the same manner as weaning them off any other bad habit that you wish to stop.
Looking for more insight on your pup’s behavior? Check out the Two Tails Blog