If your dog is only eating grass, you should consider yourself lucky. While it isn't surprising that a dog can eat all kinds of vile disgusting things, it may be fascinating to learn why it does this. To understand these behaviors, we need to go back thousands of years, long before dogs were domesticated, when they roamed the countryside in packs to hunt their food.
Wild dogs ate their food on the run. They hunted all kinds of animals, and ate the whole of the animal, except for parts of the carcass like the skin. They ate the major organs, the muscles and even the bones, all to get the nutrients they needed to be healthy and strong. They didn't have the easy life of most dogs today. Most of the prey they subsisted on were herbivores. While a dog's digestive system is strong, it requires vegetable matter to help digest meat proteins, especially those in raw meat. Dogs ate the vital organs first followed by the stomach and intestines which were full of partially digested vegetable matter.
Even though dogs have been domesticated for centuries, their digestive processes remain the same as they were in the beginnig. You need to carefully review what your dog is eating to ensure it is getting a well-balanced diet. Without a proper balance of nutrients, a dog will develop all kinds of health problems, just like its human master. Your dog can be fed vegetables, but they need to be cooked so they can be properly digested. Feeding them dark greens, like broccoli, can help curb their desire to eat grass.
However, just because your dog gets its vegetables, it may not stop it from eating grass. Here are some important tips that you need to know when it comes to dogs and grass.
First off, even biologists and veterinarians aren't completely sure why dogs eat grass. There are a lot of theories, but the jury is still out. Take a look at some of the latest theories online, as well as dozens of suggestions for breaking the animal of the habit.
Whatever the reason, if your dog won't stop eating grass, you should make sure it is not eating manicured lawns containing harmful fertilizers and pesticides. You can control this in a few different ways. One, you can consider planting "dog-friendly" grass, which doesn't have any added chemicals. Then you can be sure that your dog has regular access to this special grass patch. Don't walk your dog on grass that is newly manicured or recently treated with chemicals. Usually such substances break down within a few days, after which time the grass is safe.
Sometimes a dog will eat grass to facilitate throwing up. If your pet does this on a regular basis, it may be a sign that it has a more serious problem. Have your vet check the pup, just to be sure there's nothing seriously wrong. Most vets say that eating a certain amount of grass isn't harmful for your dog, and can actually help its digestive system.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals web site: " Pica (Eating Things That Aren't Food)."
American Animal Hospital Association: "Is it OK for my dog to eat grass?" Sueda, KLC, et al, "Characterisation of plant eating in dogs," Applied Animal Behavior Science, May 2008; 11(1-2):120-132
American Animal Hospital Association: "Dogs and Grass Eating"
ASPCA Web site, " Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008" Unattributed
Kang BT, et al, "A high fiber diet responsive case in a poodle dog with long-term plant eating behavior," J Vet Med Sci, July 2007; 69(7): pp 779-782.