Dog behavior is often a mystery to owners, but eating grass and then throwing up is undoubtedly one of the strangest things dogs do. Eating grass usually isn't a problem, but frequent vomiting can indicate a condition that requires veterinary attention.
There are a number of reasons dogs eat grass. In some cases, they may just like the taste. Wild carnivores, including wolves, often eat grass when they eat their prey, so dogs may eat grass to make up for deficiencies in their diet. In many cases, though, dogs eat grass when their stomachs hurt. Veterinarians have different opinions about why exactly they do this, but there may be chemicals in grass that ease an upset stomach. Alternatively, it could be that dogs are just trying grass looking for something that could soothe their tummies.
Grass and Vomiting
Because many dogs eat grass when their stomachs hurt, it's not uncommon for a dog to eat grass and then immediately throw up. The vomiting could be completely unrelated to grass. It's also possible some types of grass help to induce vomiting and eliminate bad foods from your dog's stomach. In short, the grass may induce vomiting or grass-eating may be more likely with a dog who is already going to vomit. Veterinarians are split on this issue.
Grass is generally safe to eat. However, if you're visiting a new area and aren't sure if the grass has been sprayed with pesticides, don't allow your dog to eat it. Otherwise, chemicals on the grass could poison your dog and may be the reason he's vomiting. Some fertilizers can also cause problems for dogs, so avoid using any chemicals on grass you know your dog might eat.
Occasional, short-lived bouts of vomiting are usually not cause for concern and may be due to bad food or a temporary stomach bug. But if your dog vomits for more than 24 hours, can't keep down any food or has frequent bouts of vomiting several times a week or month, consult your veterinarian. He may have food allergies, an infection or another medical condition that requires treatment.
- Modern Dog Magazine: A Vet's Take on Why Dogs Eat Grass
- Doctor Oz: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn et al.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.