Even dogs who usually don’t eat grass will head straight for the nearest patch when they’re feeling sick. They’ll gobble a few mouthfuls, retch, and then throw up, or at least try to. Veterinarians still aren’t sure if dogs eat grass because their stomachs are upset or if their stomachs get upset after they eat grass. However, many vets suspect it’s the former, because dogs who are energetic and perky seem to be able to eat grass without getting sick afterward. It seems likely that there’s something in grass that does stimulate the urge to vomit. The stomach has all kinds of neuro-receptors that respond to what dogs ingest. They react to acidity, chemical content, and textures. The texture of the grass has something like a tickle effect on the stomach, which may induce vomiting.
This tummy tickle may explain why healthy dogs can eat grass without getting sick. They take a mouthful, chew it thoroughly and swallow, then reach down for some more. Dogs who are sick, however, appear almost desperate for the grass. They don’t chew it carefully or savor the taste. They gobble it. Without the chewing, those prickly little stalks hit their stomachs all at once. This may be what stimulates the urge to throw it all back up – along with whatever was irritating their stomachs in the first place. They can’t stick their fingers down their throats or ask for syrup of ipecac like people can, so eating grass is something that works. And once dogs find something that works, they tend to stick with it.
Watch Out What Grass Your Dog Is Eating
Unless your dog is in the habit of regurgitating grass on the dining room floor, there’s no reason to worry about it. Dogs have been eating grass for thousands or tens of thousands of years, and there’s no evidence at all that it’s bad for them. That isn’t the case, however, when grass has been treated with insecticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. Most products say on the label whether they’re dangerous for pets. In any event, you should certainly keep dogs away from grass soon after chemicals have been applied. Most products break down fairly quickly, but they can be quite dangerous if your dog eats them while they’re fresh.
Serve Sparky Some Broccoli
It’s just a theory at this point, but some veterinarians believe that dogs eat grass because they’re not getting enough fiber in their diets. You may want to buy a higher-fiber food – pet foods for “seniors” generally have the most. These foods can be expensive, however, so you may want to look for other ways to supplement your dog’s diet. Most dogs don’t care for raw vegetables, but you can run some broccoli or green beans through the blender, adding chicken or beef broth for flavor. Or add a sprinkling of bran to their food.