Why Do Dogs And Cats Eat Grass

Posted by Dr Claire Jenkins on Jul 12, 2016 10:25:26 AM
Dr Claire Jenkins

Many dogs and cats eat grass. Why they do it is met with much speculation but actually little evidence. Popular theories include that they have a dietary deficiency (ie. fibre), that they are sick or nauseous and so they choose to eat grass to make themselves vomit, that they are bored, and that it’s normal and they quite simply like it.

Theories aside, there was a study looking at the characteristics of grass eating dogs back in 2008, by Dr Karen Sueda published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science. It found there to be no link between the very common grass eating to diet or sickness. It’s findings support that grass eating is mostly a normal behaviour of dogs.

Sometimes the grass eating does lead to vomiting, especially if they have eaten a lot, or are sensitive. Although we know it's mostly a normal behaviour, it can be associated with sickness, so it’s essential to be sure that your pet is free of intestinal worms and is on a balanced, nutritionally complete diet. If you are unsure about your mates general health it’s best to have them examined by your local veterinarian.

For the dogs the are absolutely obsessed with eating it and setting them free on a large patch of lawn is equivalent to placing a kid in a candy shop, you may need to help keep their habit in check. The use of a basket collar at times while outdoors can help with this.

Important take home points about grass eating cats and dogs are:

  • it’s a fairly normal behaviour- most dogs and cats consume some grass.
  • it’s not usually associated with any illness (although- it can be!)
  • they must be kept away from lawns treated with fertiliser or other chemicals and toxic plants.
  • If your cat or dog is regularly vomiting, they need to see your veterinarian for a full health check.

So to surmise my thoughts on why healthy dogs and cats eat grass, I’d say that it’s for no other reason than that they think it tastes good! (& who am I to judge?!)

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Topics: Behaviour, Diet, eating grass