Why Do Dogs Eat Grass and Then Vomit?

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Even though you feed your dog with nourishing food filled with the essential nutrients they need, there are days where they will eat grass and pet parents find this behavior weird. In this article, we will discuss and explain the reasons to why do dogs eat grass and then vomit. 

A survey found out that 79% out of 49 dog owners reported that their dog had eaten grass regularly. As this tells us, your dog consuming grass is not the issue, but frequent vomiting can point out a condition that requires veterinary help. We will tackle that in a little while.

Dog eating grass

Veterinarians have a specific term for when dogs eat non-food items– a pica. It is a medical condition in dogs that gives them craving and satisfaction in eating things that are not classified as food, such as paper, diaper, fabrics and the most common, grass growing in your yard. Pica is usually associated with digestive issues. 

4 Reasons Why Your Dog Eats Grass

There are several reasons why dogs graze on grass, and it can be surprising. According to veterinarians and animal behavior specialists, here are some of the reasons why dogs eat grass.

1. Dogs Find Grass Tasty

Even before dogs were domesticated, they had been scavenging omnivores, animals that eat both meat and plants. As scavengers, it’s already in a dog’s brain to search for maximum nutrition anywhere available. 

Veterinarians believe that dogs find the flavor and texture of grass delicious and could be filling the nutrients they need that their regular food is not providing, such as fiber.

Dog sitting on a grass

2. Dogs Could Be Bored

Every day, a dog focuses on his pet parent’s activities, seeing them leave their home and excitedly waiting for their return. Even though most dogs love being outside, they still get bored being alone and need to do something else to pass the time. Grazing grass is one of these activities. 

A bored dog nibbling on grass

They treat grass as chew toys that they find entertaining. Dogs craving for human interaction may try to get attention by inappropriate actions such as eating grass if they are feeling neglected.

Additionally, anxious dogs graze on the grass to make them feel comfortable, similar to the way humans chew on their fingernails when feeling nervous.

To prevent them from eating more grass, you can provide them with a chew toy as an alternative, or you can give them more time for walking or playing.

3. Stomach Distress

Other veterinarians agree that eating grass is a way to self-medicate. Whenever your puppy has a stomachache, they eat grass for relief. This is more prominent if the behavior starts unexpectedly or if your furbaby is feeling anxious about wanting to eat grass.

A dog sitting on grass

However, veterinarians also believe that feeding on grass has some benefits to a dog’s diet. The grass is a good source of fiber that can improve and ease in digesting food and a more relaxed passing of the stool. This benefit can help their bodily functions process more efficiently.

4. It’s Already in Their Instinct 

Your dog’s ancestors, dogs running in the wilds have balanced their diets by eating anything that they can hunt; this includes meat, bones, and animals. However, consuming only protein is not enough to sustain them with the daily nutrition they need; thus, they need to eat fruits and vegetables, including grass.

Modern dogs do not need to hunt for food; we already provide them with it. But deep down in their instinct, they still need to scavenge pica. Our pet dogs love the dog food we give them, but they will even eat grass as they tend to reconnect with their instinct.

Genius Dog 300 x 600 - Animated

Is it Ok For Dogs To Eat Grass?

The majority of veterinarians consider feeding on the grass a normal dog behavior. Even though dogs do not get enough nutrients from grass, eating them doesn’t hurt. 

A dog standing on a grass

We have to be mindful that it is essential to be more observant, and are aware of the kind of grass your doggy is eating.

Do not let them graze on anything that has been treated with chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Always check your garden products to ensure that they are safe for your pets.

Why Do Dogs Vomit When Eating Grass?

As pet parents, we get immediate concern when we see our dog vomiting. We do not want them to feel uneasy and uncomfortable, and as we all know, vomiting can cause a lot of health risks.

But before we tackle the reasons why dogs vomit when eating grass, let’s first differentiate the most common misconception, the difference between vomiting and regurgitation.

What’s the Difference between Vomiting and Regurgitation?

Dogs vomit to release the contents of their stomach and small intestine forcefully; this includes food, water, and anything they have consumed, including grass.

Before vomiting, they will exhibit signs of nausea, which we will know by excessive drooling, retching, and abnormal contractions in the abdomen.

Unlike vomiting, regurgitation is more of a passive motion that releases undigested food and fluids. The signs of regurgitation are coughing and difficulty in breathing.

Regurgitated waste is usually undigested, therefore still more substantial compared to that released by vomiting.

Why Does My Dog Vomit?

Even though veterinarians agree that dogs eating grass are normal behavior, there will still be cases wherein they vomit after ingesting grass.

Commonly, these are caused by consuming chemical pesticides and fertilizers used in the grass. However, keep in mind that this can also be caused by your dog having tummy problems before eating grass.

A dog standing on grass

You should take into consideration your dog’s behavior before eating grass. If you notice that they eat grass frequently, it could be a sign of digestion problems. This digestion issue may root from your dog having an acid stomach. 

The acid stomach is painful for your furbaby and requires immediate attention. Acid gets collected inside their stomach and can reach up to their esophagus. As time goes by, the acid in the stomach can irritate and dissolve away organ tissues in the throat, which can cause sores and ulcers. 

Ulcers in dogs can cause tremendous pain as they can bleed in a dog’s throat and will make swallowing and breathing difficult. Other symptoms of the acid stomach include the following:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Puking of bile
  • Vomiting of undigested food shortly after a mealtime
  • Loud gurgling noises or frequent gulping
  • Licking of the lips
  • Panting a few hours after a mealtime
  • Abnormal licking (walls, floor, dog, etc.)

Dogs eating grass regularly often vomit yellowish foamy bile. Bile is an acidic substance that can irritate your dog’s stomach lining. It is produced by the liver and is transported into the small intestines to assist in digesting fats and proteins. 

However, bile can also end up in the stomach, which can irritate, more painfully if your dog is hungry. When dogs eat grass and then vomit bile afterward, get in touch with your veterinarian immediately for diagnosis.  

When the puking happens, take note of the signs and determine the reasons behind your dog’s grass-eating behavior.

Try listening to your dog’s stomach after they eat grass or dog food. If you hear a rumbling noise, bring them to the veterinarian immediately. Other signs to look for are loose stool, diarrhea, and bad breath.

Vet checking for ticks on a dog

Once administered by your veterinarian, they will run laboratory tests such as blood panels and urinalysis. These tests will be able to tell valuable information regarding their condition.

Keep in mind that acid stomach can also be a symptom of riskier diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), kidney or liver disease, and seizure activity.

What are the Remedies for Acid Stomach?

If ever your veterinarian determines that your dog has an acid stomach, it is vital to know what kind of remedies they are going to recommend.

It should be all-natural, which contains natural components that can support your dog’s digestive tract. Get to know the usual remedies and supplements recommended by veterinarians to cure acid stomach.

Keep in mind that these remedies require assistance from your veterinarian, so ask them first before using these remedies.

Power Probiotic

This power supplement is an all-natural, multi-strain probiotic scientifically proven to help your dog’s digestive tract.

Power Probiotic can help in subduing your pet’s tummies and restore your dog’s digestion activities. This supplement is easy to use as the tasteless powder inside this capsule can be opened and mixed into your pet’s food.

This supplement can provide more benefits such as improved immune function, better digestion, removal of tear stains, and much better stool formation.

Check out the best dog probiotics.

Gastro ULC Acid Relief Formula

This herbal and amino acid dietary supplement will ensure relief from stomach acid pain quickly. It is an all-natural remedy that will provide healing properties to your dog’s lining stomach while giving soothing protection of coating to relieve your dog’s heartburn.

This supplement also contains anti-inflammatory licorice root that can ease stomach acid and help in restoring the stomach lining. According to veterinarian reviews, this supplement can also help in preventing your dogs from eating grass.

Soothing Digestive Relief Formula

A dietary supplement that is an efficient remedy for treating inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. It will help your pet in relieving upset stomach, diarrhea, and gassy tummies.

This remedy can give a comforting effect due to the relief from pain and indigestion. It is made up of a mixture of herbs and plant enzymes that is proven to soothe and calm the digestive tract. 

K9 Digestive Enzymes

This remedy can help in maintaining the normal function of your dog’s digestion. We discussed that acid stomach is caused by poor food digestion.

Therefore, it is crucial to administer a digestive enzyme that helps in increasing the absorption of fats and proteins. This remedy also helps in keeping the stomach free from intruding parasites and yeasts.

How To Stop a Dog From Eating Grass

If it still bothers you that your dog is feeding on grass, you can use these tips to help them in avoiding this behavior.

  • We have tackled earlier that your dog may be grazing on grass due to nutritional deficiency that is causing their upset stomach. It is recommended to make adjustments to their food intake and eating habits. Reach out to your veterinarian for the suggested changes that can be made.
  • Treat your dog with some steamed vegetables. Instead of them feeding on grass, you can increase your dog’s fiber intake by giving them steamed vegetables as an alternative. Not only are these healthier, but this is also tastier as well. Such vegetables you can feed to your fur baby are:
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Peppers
    • Green beans
    • Spinach
    • Celery
    • Zucchini
    • Squash
    • Sweet potatoes
Vegetables dogs can eat
  • If they refuse to eat vegetables, why not give them other plants that will not provide them with any stomach problems. You can plant greens that are safe for your dog to eat. The following are easy to grow and will aid in your dog’s dietary requirements as well:
    • Burdock herb
    • Milk thistle
    • Peppermint
    • Astragalus herb
    • Garlic grass
    • Rosemary
  • Some indoor plants can be harmful to your dog if consumed. If you have indoor houseplants and your dog keeps on nibbling on it, it is advisable to keep it away from their reach. This way, they know that the plants are off-limits.
  • Certain plants release a scent that can repel dogs. Planting these plants in your yard can help in keeping your dog away from it. The following plants can be used to repel dogs:
    • Coleus Canina
    • Marigold or calendula
    • Lemongrass
    • Citrus trees
    • Hollies
    • Evergreen huckleberry
    • Succulents such as aloe
  • For dogs who feed on grass due to boredom, provide them with a chew toy that they can nibble on instead of glass. It is also recommended to keep them active by playing with them most of the time, so they do not get idle.
A dog playing with his chew toy
  • You can train your dog by giving them treats in exchange for not eating grass. You can accomplish this by bringing treats when you take them for a walk at your park. Whenever they attempt to nibble on grass, try to distract him by leading him towards a new direction and offer a treat when your furbaby follows you.
  • Use all-natural repellant that can help in deterring your dogs from going near and eating on the grass. You can sprinkle some cayenne pepper and black pepper on the lawn to prevent your dogs from approaching it. 

Now that you have discovered the reasons why do dogs eat grass and then vomit, it is time for you to check on your furbaby and tell us in the comment box below if our tips are helpful!

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a pet expert with more than 20 years of experience working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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