If you own a dog, you’ve probably seen it chew on plants from time to time. From grass to weeds and maybe even flowers, this behavior often confuses many a dog owner. After all, dogs are carnivores, right? Wouldn’t eating plant matter be bad for them?
Believe it or not, it’s usually not a big deal for your dog to eat grass. In some cases, it may even be beneficial for it. That said, there are some cases in which you don’t want your dog to eat grass, so you can’t always just brush it off as something harmless. Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything you need to know about all of this.
Dogs are Actually Omnivores
An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and meat. Contrary to what many people think, most animals are omnivores to some extent. While many animals, such as dogs, primarily eat meat, it’s not unnatural for them to eat plants occasionally as well. Even wild canines, such as wolves and coyotes, do this occasionally.
That’s because most animals need nutrients, vitamins, or minerals that cannot be acquired from just plants or just meat. This is the same reason that cows, often viewed as pure herbivores, occasionally eat things like snakes. That said, dogs cannot digest grass, so they aren’t getting nutrients from them, but there are other health reasons they may be chewing on it.
It sounds a little strange, but it’s quite normal for dogs to eat grass if they feel sick, particularly if they feel sick in their stomach. Because dogs can’t digest grass, they are quite likely to throw up if they eat enough of it. This sounds bad, but if there is something in the dog’s stomach that could be making them feel bad, throwing it up might help.
Of course, this doesn’t mean dogs only eat grass when they feel sick, so spend some time actually observing your dog to see if there are any other indications that it isn’t feeling well before you jump to this conclusion.
Boredom or Entertainment
While there are many physical reasons that dogs do things, sometimes they are just bored. Most anyone who owns a dog knows that they are quite prone to chewing on things, especially when they are trying to entertain themselves. It is possible that your dog is chewing on grass, leaves, and flowers just because it is bored.
This isn’t a concern in and of itself, but depending on the circumstances, you may have cause for alarm.
When is Eating Grass a Problem?
Generally speaking, there’s no real danger to a dog eating grass. While it cannot be digested, it is not as if the grass is toxic to them or anything like that. It certainly isn’t going to hurt them by merit of being grass. However, that reality changes drastically when the grass has been sprayed with pesticides, which may be the case in some areas.
Pesticides are very dangerous to consume and can even be fatal if ingested. Your dog probably isn’t going to know the difference between grass with pesticides on it and grass that does not have pesticide on it and will eat it all the same. It’s up to you as the owner to know whether or not grass in your area is sprayed with pesticide.
That said, there are some plants you wouldn’t want your dog eating, such as poison ivy. But since most people aren’t that well-versed in botany, the safest thing to do if you are worried about the plants in your area is just to make sure your dog doesn’t eat any of it, just to be safe.