Help, my German Shepherd eats grass – is that dangerous?
Surely on more than one occasion, you have seen your dog or a friend’s dog eating grass as if it were a goat … It is a behavior that we find strange, since everyone knows that dogs are carnivores. But even his closest ancestor, the wolf, has the habit of eating green plants, his lawn being his favorite too.
Some people say that it is a bad habit that must be eliminated, preventing them from eating grass. Others say they do it to purge and then vomit, although the truth is that it may be due to many other reasons and does not necessarily have to be harmful.
Reasons why dogs eat grass
The intake of grass or other plants by your German Shepherd can be due to several factors, among which are the ones that we detail below. Remember that dogs have born survival instincts, so if you see them eating grass, do not scold them, as they will have their reason.
- Bad digestion: If our dog has a bad digestion, stomachache, has eaten something toxic or that he should not, etc … it is very possible that it eats grass to provoke a vomit. In this way you can expel what is in your stomach and thus relieve the pain / discomfort.
- Lack of nutrients / fiber: Some dogs eat grass as a dietary supplement, regardless of the quality of their usual diet (this does not mean that they are poorly nourished). The wolf, ancestor of the dog, eats plants / grass habitually as a source of fiber.
- Evolutionary Habits: Other dogs eat grass simply because they are evolving, adding a small vegetable part to their diet.
Is it bad for dogs to eat grass?
Not at all. Your instincts are what tell you when to eat grass and even what kind of grass to eat. Surely if you have been a little observant, you will have noticed that dogs do not eat any grass (except when looking to vomit), but look for tender shoots or specific areas to eat.
Despite what some misinformed people insist on saying … Eating grass is not at all harmful to our dogs. Although we must take some precautions, such as avoid eating grass that has been treated with pesticides (fumigated), or do so compulsively continuously (looking to vomit day after day).
If your dog only eats grass to vomit, day after day, it is because he suffers some kind of pain in the stomach or digestive system. You should go to a veterinarian to examine it because you may have a problem of viral origin or have eaten something that should not and can not digest (or is stuck in your digestive system).
If your dog eats grass by hobby, as usual but does not vomit, you should not worry at all. It is a habit very common in dogs (80% of dogs eat grass as usual), they do it as a food supplement.
Do not scold your dog for eating grass, simply check that he does not eat grass that has been fumigated to prevent him from ingesting the poisons of the fumigation. On the other hand we must be careful that our dog does not eat any plant toxic to him, as it could make him sick.
My dog eats grass and then vomits
As we have indicated, this is something completely normal in the canine world. If our dog has gut pain, a bad digestion, has eaten something that can not digest such as a piece of ball, stick, plastic, etc … It is very likely to start eating grass (any kind of grass or plants) for self- produce a vomit.
It is natural, it is the way to purge and relieve pain. We must be careful that when vomiting does not get choked with what is vomiting (a piece of stick or ball for example). We should not do anything, just watch it to make sure it vomits without problems.
If our dog continues to do this for more than two or three continuous days, we must go to the veterinarian to examine it. Since it can also be due to a digestive disease that produces ill or a bad nutritional plan (I think of poor quality or inadequate).
My dog eats grass but does not vomit
Most likely, it is simply a dietary habit, a way to add a little more fiber and nutrients to your diet. This does not mean that we are feeding it badly, simply that the herb contains certain elements that the dog adds to its daily diet.
We should not give importance or scold our dog, eating grass is something completely normal in the canine world.
Sometimes, when there is no water to drink and the grass is cool, put the morning dew or raindrops, the dogs eat grass to quench their thirst. There are many reasons why a dog can eat grass / grass regularly, but as you can see, none of them is harmful to the dog.
Scolding a dog for eating grass is a mistake. Their primary instincts are much wiser than the misconceptions of many people.
Suspected psychological reasons your GSD eats grass
- Stress behavior
- Eating grass to absorb fragrances left by other dogs to mark a spot
Problems to look for when your GSD eats grass
- undigested blades of grass come out of the droppings
- maybe they will stick to the anus and stick out
- if the dog eats grass frequently and frequently, the droppings can form like strings of pearls, bound together by the undigested blades of grass
- undigested blades of grass can protrude half in and half out of the back due to their length at the bottom. Never pull out hanging grass stems by force! There is a risk of cutting with the sharp blades of grass in the intestine or anus – far below measures
- Digestive problems, if the dog eats a lot of grass, possibly leaves the grass wrapped in mucus with mucus and /or diarrhea
- the dog vomits the eaten grass again
- frequent to regular vomiting (to the vet!)
Measures to take to keep your GSD safe when he eats grass
- If the dog is picking up too much grass, watch the dog and all the circumstances well (possibly taking note in a diary to inform the veterinarian)
- only let the dog pick up the grass where no insecticides and herbicides are sprayed (for example, not next to a wheat field)
- in case of suspected stress as a cause, reduce stress factors if possible and -> relaxation training
- if the dog massively gulps down grass, pick it up, or if necessary put it on a leash (discuss excessive grass eating with the vet)
- long, undigested blades of grass can protrude from the buttocks behind the anus – but (!) with the other half, depending on the length of the straw, still far in the intestine stuck. Under no circumstances pull out roughly! Depending on the type of grass there is a serious risk of cuts in the intestinal area. When the dog excetes it, carefully remove the blade of grass protruding from the butt at a slow speed. In case of doubt to the vet!
WHEN TO SEE THE VET?
- when the dog is constantly eating grass and becomes a manic grazer
- when the dog eats large amounts of grass, reducing its normal feed intake
- if vomiting of the dog after grass eating does not want to stop
- if blood is in the vomit
- if there is blood in the stool
- if the feces are covered with mucus feces, there may be an inflammation in the digestive tract (small intestinal inflammation, large intestine inflammation), see also -> Diarrhea in the dog
- if there are other symptoms such as fever , fatigue, etc.
- if the dog can no longer drop feces – especially in tufted grass weeds an indication of a life-threatening intestinal obstruction. The dog can not really digest the eaten grass – if he can neither vomit nor excrete it and he no longer drops feces, the way to the vet is urgently indicated.
- if long, undigested blades of grass stick out of the buttocks at the anus, do not come out of their own accord – and they can not easily be removed with a very gentle pull (!), then better to the vet
- Scientific study on grass eating in dogs by the Institute of Animal Nutrition at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover, Germany 1982, on more than 600 dogs.