Find out why your dog eats grass and whether you need to do something about it – according to a vet

Why is my dog eating grass all the time?

Quick takeaways about dogs eating grass

  • Dogs eat plants like grass for many reasons and it can be a normal behaviour.
  • There’s no scientific evidence that grass-eating is linked to illness or a lack of nutrients.
  • If you live in an area where your grass is sprayed with pesticides, teach your dog not to eat it.
  • If your pooch snacks on grass excessively or is sick multiple times after eating it, speak to your vet.


You’ve probably heard that grass-eating is a sign your dog is unwell or lacking important nutrients in their diet.

Thankfully, this is most likely a myth. Unless your dog snacks on grass excessively, chowing down on a few blades now and again can be a normal behaviour.

And it’s more common than you’d think. According to a large study from the University of California, 80% of pet owners have seen their dogs eating plants like grass.

Here, we dig into the science behind your dog’s grass-eating behaviour to help you decide if you need to worry, call the vet or do some training.


Why do dogs eat grass?

There are many reasons why your dog might eat grass. Here are the key ones according to our veterinary nurse and educator at Natures Menu, Melanie Sainsbury:

  • Boredom – they could feel restless and need something to do.
  • Hunger – some dogs nibble at grass before a meal because they’re hungry.
  • Stress – if a dog is under stress, anxious or lonely, they might eat grass for comfort.
  • Instinct – dogs are scavengers.
  • Pleasure – some dogs simply like the taste and texture of grass.
  • Tummy upset – some dogs find it comforting to eat grass to soothe a sore tummy, or to make themselves sick, which can also provide relief.

Do dogs eat grass to make themselves sick?

Some experts believe that dogs eat grass to soothe their stomachs when they feel unwell or to help digestion.

But, the University of California study also found that only 22% of dogs vomit after eating plants. This implies that most dogs who munch on grass aren’t sick.

Dogs tend to eat grass before meals when hungry, not afterwards – reported a study from the University of New England on grass-eating patterns.

So, grass-eating might not be linked to a lack of nutrients either.


Do dogs eat grass because they’re stressed out?

Your pooch might eat grass more often if they’re craving interaction or potentially if they feel stressed or bored.

“If eating grass gets them attention from you, by either telling them to stop or approaching them, they can see this as a reward for the behaviour,” says Melanie.

Plus, anxious dogs might eat grass as a comfort mechanism – much like how we chew our fingernails when we’re nervous. However, there isn’t much research to support or explain this.

If you’re worried that your dog might be eating more grass because they’re bored, you could try playing more often together or buying them interactive or stimulating toys.

As you can see, there’s no clear-cut answer as to why dogs eat grass. If none of the theories above seems to fit your dog, it might be that they simply like the taste of grass!


Is grass-eating safe for dogs?

As long as the area you’re in hasn’t recently been sprayed with pesticides, occasional grass-eating is okay.

If you use herbicides in your garden, keep your dog and their toys out of it for a few days after spraying, so they can dry out.

If you notice your dog developing a real taste for grass and plants, it’s a good idea to start a deworming treatment to protect them from lungworm and intestinal parasites.


When should you worry?

Go see the vet if:

  • Your dog eats grass but skips their meals.
  • They snack on plants very often.
  • They eat grass and vomit multiple times on the same day.
  • They look unwell when or after munching on grass.

If you’re ever in doubt, no dog owner has ever regretted a trip to the vet to make sure everything’s all right.


The bottom line

If your dog leads an active and fulfilling life and occasionally nibbles at grass, they’re probably okay.

“An old wives’ tale is that dogs will only eat grass to make themselves sick,” says a veterinary nurse and educator for Natures Menu, Melanie Sainsbury.

“In some cases, this can be true. But, some dogs genuinely just enjoy the taste of grass – especially the new spring grass with dew on the blades first thing in the morning.

“Eating grass doesn’t necessarily mean they’re deficient or lacking an essential vitamin, but if your dog is persistent or obsessed with consuming grass, speak with your vet.”


Dog grass-eating FAQs

Should you try to stop your dog from eating grass?

It depends. If you think your dog is well-nourished and happy, don’t try to stop them from occasionally eating unsprayed grass. You could hinder their instincts and frustrate them.

If, on the other hand, your pooch starts eating grass and vomiting more regularly, it’s a good idea to help them break this habit.


How can I stop my dog from eating grass?

When you spot your dog nibbling on some grass, call them over or ask them to heel and move away from the area you’re in. Use some treats they love to reward them when they come to you.

If you’re having trouble grabbing their attention, train them on the lead, so you can gently guide them away from the grass.


Why do dogs eat soil?

Just as with grass, your dog could be eating soil for a range of reasons. According to The Kennel Club, they could be eating it because they’re bored or hungry – or they may just be curious. This is especially true for puppies.

They’re more likely to pick up parasites, pesticides and bacteria from eating soil. So, if your dog is eating a lot of it regularly, then speak to your vet.


What if my dog is eating grass and vomiting yellow bile?

If your dog is throwing up bile regularly, this can irritate your dog’s stomach. And if they’re often eating grass and then throwing up yellow foam, take your dog to the vet to get them checked out.

Try our personalised meal plans with high-quality raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.