Lots of dogs love to munch on grass. Sometimes they eat and throw it up later, and sometimes they don’t. In fact, most experts consider it a normal dog behavior and is not something dog owners should really worry about. Well, dogs clearly aren’t cow, and just like us, they do not have enzymes that can break down cellulose. But, why do they do it?
In this episode of Scishow’s “Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?” Hank Green explains that dogs eat grass as the natural remedy to make themselves vomit. The idea here is that they might start eating grass when they don’t feel well or there’s something else going on in their digestive system. But in a study that looked into this matter, only 8 percent of grass-eating dogs were ill prior to eating grass, and eating grass usually doesn’t lead to vomiting. In fact, only about 25 percent of dogs vomited after eating grass.
“The simplest explanation is that dogs eat grass because they like it,” says Hank. “Let’s face it, the average dog will attempt to eat pretty much anything given the chance, and keep in mind that wolves and coyotes and other wild canines regularly dabble in plant eating.”
Cats, although purely carnivorous, are sometimes seen eating grass too. They regurgitate when they eat grass and this in the process helps eliminate all indigestible matter from their digestive tract. Cats too do not have necessary enzymes to break down cellulose, but the juices in grass contain folic acid, which is essential for their bodily function. Moreover, folic acid further assists them in the production of hemoglobin – the protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Some believe grass acts as a natural laxative and some believe it even relieves sore throats.
However, dogs are omnivores. So it’s completely normal if they scavenge anything – including fruits and berries and grass – especially when they are hungry enough. But many wild dogs may prefer to hunt for herbivores.
According to most experts, grass eating may be a natural way for domesticated dogs to have a varied diet. But if your dog is eating a lot of grass, it could be an indication of nutritional deficiency, and they could just be grazing for a source of fiber. As Hank explains, some grasses can be a good source of minerals, like phosphorous and calcium and potassium.
Dogs eating grass is normal and completely harmless, but if you’re concerned about your dogs health, you can always ask your vet for advice. Just be thankful that they are not going for the poop. :P