You’ve probably seen it more times than you can count: your pet goes out to the lawn and starts chowing down on the grass like it’s dinner time. As a veterinarian, I get many questions from curious pet parents about the health problems associated with their pet eating grass. A common bit of folk wisdom is that your pet eats grass to make up for a deficiency, however that is not the case. There are really two primary reasons your pet eats grass:
- They like to eat grass. For some pets, grass tastes good. If, like me, you and your pet live on a farm, it’s possible your pet is just trying to get to the grass before the cows do.
- They are feeling nausea. Grass helps settle their stomach, especially in cases of acid reflux where they really just need something in their stomach. If your pet vomits after eating grass, it is not from the grass but from their upset stomach. Grass does not make your pet throw up.
If your pet eats grass repeatedly and this is combined with vomiting and/or lack of appetite, it can be a sign of serious health issues and you should contact your veterinarian.
There’s nothing wrong with your pet eating grass, grass is perfectly harmless to their digestive tract. But if you do have a grazing pet, you need to be careful about the fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and weed killers that are used, as these can be poisonous. If you don’t handle your own lawn care, it’s best to discourage your pet from eating the grass, as you may not know what is being used to treat it. Most weeds found in a lawn are safe to your pet to consume, but keep an eye out for mushrooms as they can be very dangerous. Common lawn-faring bugs like flies and slugs are safe for your pet to eat, but they might be too gross for you as a pet parent!
So unless your pet is vomiting on a regular basis, don’t concerned if you see them munching on the lawn from time to time, just make sure they don’t spoil their appetite!