Anyone who owns a dachshund has probably watched him eat grass in the morning and wondered, "Why is he doing that?" Don't worry: Nothing is amiss with your lawn-munching pooch.
Your dachshund is in the company of all other breeds everywhere when it comes to yard-noshing. Theories abound as to why dogs eat grass. Many generations of dog lovers have noted the tendency of our pups to hurl all that tasty grass right back up so, not surprisingly, the most popular theory is that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting.
Some enterprising dog observers have even studied patterns of gastroesophageal inflammation (upset tummy and sore throat) and correlated them with bouts of grass-horking. Other scientifically-minded pooch lovers have determined their doggies usually eat grass in the morning, and associate this with a nocturnal buildup of bile that must be relieved. A competing consensus is that doggies with grass addictions are desperately trying to relieve malnutrition.
The Shocking Conclusion
In 2007, some animal science and psychology researchers in Australia set out to answer this age-old question once and for all. They meticulously recorded the details of 709 grass-eating sessions among 12 mixed-breed dogs. After careful analysis, they reached these conclusions: dogs eat more grass in the morning than any other time of day or night; dogs sometimes vomit after eating grass, but other times, they don't; all dogs eat grass; this is normal; and dogs usually eat grass when they're hungry. Based on this scientific research, it is probably safe to conclude that your dachshund eats grass in the morning because he likes the taste.
Dachshunds are at higher risk than other breeds for a few digestive dangers, so it pays to keep on the lookout for grass-eating and vomiting behaviors that are out of the ordinary for your particular pooch. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, pancreatitis and gastric torsion are some of the super-scary gut problems that can strike your wiener dog friend. If he vomits large quantities of yellow or green bile, has bloody diarrhea or vomit, appears to have tummy pain, or suddenly changes his eating (or barfing) habits, see a veterinarian.
Keep an eye on anything your pooch might be gulping along with his grass. Chemical lawn treatments are toxic to your doxie. Trash, dirt, stones and poop are hazardous, and eating these is a sign of trouble. Beware of poisonous plants and evil weeds like foxtail grass. Once you're sure your lawn is free of hazards, don't worry about your doxie's morning munchies.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.