If you own a dog, you may have noticed that your dog sometimes eats grass. This odd behavior, which doesn’t have any benefit to your dog since dogs can’t digest grass, can be confusing to dog owners. It’s led to a variety of myths that you might hear as you research this topic or talk about it with other dog owners. We’re here to debunk some of these myths and help you understand how to keep your dog safe if they like to eat grass.
Myth 1: Dogs eat grass to make themselves vomit.
This myth comes from the fact that dogs often vomit immediately after eating grass. This happens because dog teeth are not very good at chewing through grass, which means that when the dog swallows, it’s often long pieces of unchewed grass. This triggers the dog’s gag reflex, resulting in regurgitation, which dogs have evolved to do fairly easily. However, there’s no indication that dogs understand what “vomiting” entails, and no indication they eat grass for this purpose.
Myth 2: Dogs eat grass because of a parasitic infection.
In a similar vein to the first myth, many dog owners worry that a dog would only choose to eat food with no nutritional value if they’re not receiving enough nutrition from their regular dog food. This might happen with a parasitic infection. When dogs eat grass, however, they’re doing it because they enjoy the way it feels, smells, and moves in the breeze. If your dog is trying to devour everything in sight, there may be a problem with their nutrition. If they’re chomping excitedly at grass, they’re just enjoying themselves.
Myth 3: Dogs that eat grass have pica
Pica is a behavioral disorder that results in a compulsion for a dog to eat non-food items, which may include wood, stones, and even grass. However, just like a dog tearing up a book doesn’t mean they have pica, a dog biting at some grass doesn’t mean they have pica. You can often differentiate pica from normal grass eating by seeing whether your dog seems driven to eat grass instead of nutritional foods.
How to manage dogs that eat grass in Brooklyn
If you’re hoping to make it safer for your dog to eat grass, start by making sure the grass isn’t treated with any chemicals, including pesticides. While grass is safe for dogs to eat, any chemicals on that grass will not be as safe.
You should also know how to identify some common poisonous plants that you may encounter in Brooklyn. These plants may include oleander, English ivy, mistletoe, cyclamen, and the castor oil plant. Be aware of what these plants look like so you can keep pets away from them and only let them eat grass.
The truth about dogs eating grass
If you’re concerned for your dog’s health, whether your dog is eating lots of grass, regurgitating food, or just seems to be trying to eat everything in sight, it’s always a good idea to contact a Brooklyn veterinarian. If nothing is wrong, the veterinarian can tell you and ease your mind. If the veterinarian has reason to be concerned, you can check out the problem as early as possible. Talk to a veterinarian to get the last word on whether or not your dog can keep biting at that grass.