When I take my dog out for a walk, he ends up eating grass and then vomits. Does this sound familiar? You are not alone in your concern.

“Dogs love to munch away on grass, and some even make it part of their daily routine. Fortunately, most experts believe it isn't something you should worry about. So why exactly do they gobble up that green stuff in your yard?

Dogs, unlike their catty counterparts, are not carnivores. But they're not like your garden-variety omnivores, either. For tens of thousands of years, these opportunistic scavengers have devoured anything and everything, as long as it fulfilled their basic dietary requirements.

The modern dog, partly because of evolution and domestication, is no longer like its ancestors, which frequently ate their prey entirely, including the stomach contents of plant-eating animals. Instead, dogs today seek out plants as an alternative food source. Most commonly the plant is grass -- since that is what is closest at hand -- but wild canines are known to eat fruits, berries, and other vegetable matter, too,” according to PetMD.

There are several reasons why your dog might be eating grass:

Boredom

They are bored. If this is the case, giving them more exercise with help with that.

Nutritional deficiency

“Pica is the technical term for the disorder characterized by eating things that aren’t food. Sometimes pica indicates that your dog has some type of nutritional deficiency, though it is often simply a sign of boredom, especially when practiced by puppies and younger dogs.

Dogs eating grass is actually quite common (it has been observed in wild dogs, too, and may be completely natural) and this form of pica does not usually cause too many problems. In fact, most veterinarians consider it a normal dog behavior. One small-scale study of 49 dog owners whose dogs had regular access to grass and other plants found that 79% of the dogs had eaten plants at some time. Another survey about plant-eating dogs found that grass was the most commonly eaten plant. On the chance that your dog’s pica behavior is caused by a nutritional deficiency, switching to a better dog food, especially a high-fiber variety, could help alleviate the problem”, states Pets.WebMD.com.

Don’t feel well

There is a school of thought that dogs turn to eating grass when they don’t feel well as a way to make themselves vomit, which in turn makes them feel better.

Improving digestion

Your dog might be eating grass to improve digestion, treating intestinal worms, or fulfilling some unmet nutritional need, including the need for fiber.

Typically grazing itself isn’t harmful for animals. Consider that certain herbicides and pesticides used on lawns can be quite toxic, especially if your dog ingests the grass with the toxins on it.

Time to get concernedThe American Kennel Club reports that “if your dog's vomiting can be described as any of the following, then it is time to start getting concerned:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Chronic vomiting
  • Vomiting a lot at one time
  • Vomiting with other symptoms, like fever, weight loss, lethargy, anemia, etc.
  • Vomiting blood
  • Vomiting with nothing coming up
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Suspected foreign body ingestion
  • Seizures

It never hurts to play it safe when it comes to dog health. The best way to find out if your dog’s vomiting is normal or not is to call your vet”.

If in doubt whether there is an issue or not, make sure you talk with your local veterinarian? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.