Most dog owners have witnessed their pets eat grass at some point in their lives. This seemingly strange behaviour is explained by various scientific theories, although there is no definite answer to the question.
The most common explanation is that leafy greens and grass helps dogs clean their bodies. Dogs, just like humans, suffer from gastrointestinal problems, including upset stomach, nausea, bloating and diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria.
If your dog faces one of these problem, it might seek to frantically get out of the house, rush to the first greens it finds and devour entire plants. The greens irritate your dog’s stomach causing the animal to vomit and be relieved.
In a research published in 2008 in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, the scientists found that although grass consumption does not always lead to vomiting, dogs presenting symptoms of sickness before eating the greens are more likely to vomit, compared with those who don’t seem to face a problem beforehand.
Another theory suggests that dogs eat grass just because they like it. is that dogs eat grass just because they want it. In such cases, dogs seem to chase a particular type of plant, instead of devouring whatever they happen to find. Indeed, when they recognize their plant of choice, they chew it calmly. Under this scenario, your dog may be looking in the grass to fulfil some unmet nutritional needs, such as the need for fibber, digestive enzymes and metals.
A study published in 2007 in the journal Veterinary Medical Science reported that a dog stopped eating grass when its owners put it on a high-fibber diet. Dogs and wild dogs are known to eat vegetable matter and this knowledge shows that this behaviour is innate and absolutely normal for dogs.
A 2009 dog study in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour found that puppies were more likely to eat grass if their mothers did while nursing.