You spotted your furry friend grazing fresh green grass more and more often and now you are concerned that something might be wrong with him. You know that dogs are natural carnivores and that grass isn’t something their digestive system requires. Well, we will explain the possible causes why pica might happen.
While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.
Why is my dog eating grass: Pica
‘Pica’ is the technical term used for situations when dogs eat something that is not considered a natural food for them. Rest assured that most dog owners encounter the same problem throughout their dog’s lives, so you are not alone. Wild dogs and dog-like species can also be spotted feeding on grass so this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a hidden health issue with your dog, but it’s always better to check with your vet.
Upset Digestive Systems
One theory suggests that dogs with upset digestive system start eating grass to provoke vomiting and alleviate their discomfort. This might be true in cases when the dog actually vomits after consuming fresh grass, but in most cases, the dogs don’t throw up so this can’t be considered to be entirely true.
Maybe you heard that dog’s having intestinal worms eat grass as a form of natural treatment? Some say that grass can actually help the dog reduce the population of inner parasites, but due to lack of scientific data, this theory remains doubtful.
Fiber for Digestion
Okay, so how about the things that probably can make the dog eat grass? Well, a confined study suggests that dogs fed a low-fiber diet need tend to eat grass more than others. There are few cases when severe cases of pica were treated with change of diet and it all worked out fine. This is supported by the fact that dogs do need a bit of herbivore nutrition to support their metabolic requirements. Grass most likely will improve the dog’s digestion by supporting some of the ‘positive bacteria’ inside the guts and by providing enough potassium in the body.
Other Underlying Causes for Eating Grass
The best possible solution is to make a veterinary appointment where a veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination of the dog and run a couple more tests. Some diseases that can be connected to eating grass are pancreatitis, diabetes, acute and chronic gastritis, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), bloating, hepatitis etc. If the vet finds the underlying cause for eating grass, proper treatment will probably end the dog’s hunger for green.
In the absence of any clinical evidence that there is some health issue with the dog, there are only three explanations about this habit. Maybe the dog is simply bored and finds eating grass as an amusing and self-fulfilling activity. Also, if you always react when your dog reaches for the grass, one might suspect that the dog is doing this just to get your attention because he is aware of your upcoming reactions. Other than that, the only reason why dogs eat grass is that they like the taste of, the consistency and texture. If all is well, then there is no space for panic.
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