When dogs eat grass, owners are puzzled because they often vomit. But eating grass seems to be a natural behavior for many dogs and it certainly isn't as odd as some of the other strange stuff puppies eat. If it tastes so good, why do some dogs vomit after eating grass?
The Diet of Dogs
Dogs need a balanced diet and are considered are omnivores. This is one distinct difference between dogs and cats, who are natural carnivores.
Dogs can eat nearly anything, including vegetables or fruits. It's also safe for puppies to eat certain types of people food.
Though the domestic dog has a rather limited diet today, his wild relatives continue to enjoy a diverse bounty of food. Coyotes, for example, typically eat vegetable matter found in the stomach and intestines of prey animals. In fact, many wild canines also eat roots, grasses, and even fruit.
This shows up in your dog's behavior as well. It's likely that your puppy begs for and enjoys snacks of raw vegetables like lettuce, green beans, and carrots, or even apples. These can help keep your puppy's breath fresh and teeth clean, too. You might also find that your dog will turn his nose up to raw veggies, but really enjoy them after they're cooked.
With that, we can assume that some dogs simply enjoy the flavor of grass. That still doesn't explain why he gets sick.
Why Dogs Eat Grass Then Vomit
While some dogs make it a regular habit, most pet dogs eat grass only on occasion.
It is possible that they're using it as a natural emetic to stimulate vomiting when they feel unwell. When a dog has a gassy tummy, gulping mouthfuls of long, tickling strands of grass prompt her to "whoops" out whatever upset her tummy.
However, grass-eating does not always result in vomiting; some dogs may simply relish the flavor or texture.
There is also some speculation that grazing on grass may provide trace elements of vitamins that are not in a dog's human-provided diet.
Indoor dogs may also indulge their urge to graze by nibbling houseplants. This may be dangerous or even poisonous, depending on the plant. You should also be cautious about letting your dog eat grass that you know has been chemically treated. Even if you don't use herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, your neighbor might. If this is the case, give your grass-loving pup an alternative to satiate his craving.
Occasional grass eating isn't a cause for concern. You can even provide some healthy wheat grass for your dog to munch. Pet supply stores often have grass or herb growing kits available.
When to See the Vet
While eating a little grass every now and then is generally harmless, grazing on a regular basis or all of a sudden can be a sign that your dog's sick. This is especially true if he grazes more than two days in a row and it causes him to vomit each time.
This is a signal that your pup should be examined by a veterinarian to rule out a health problem. An upset tummy that becomes chronic should be diagnosed to rule out intestinal parasites like roundworms or something more serious.