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EATING GRASS

If you notice your pet nipping at the lawn during his next roll in the sun, don't panic - many pets do this. There are a few theories about why some dogs snack on grass.

Lots of dogs like to graze every now and then. Eating grass may be a natural instinct that makes pets feel better, but occasionally this herbivorous habit can upset the gastrointestinal tract and cause vomiting.

Causes

Why do our meat-eating friends indulge in this veggie snack? Many experts agree your pet may be self-medicating, much as you do when you reach for an antacid.

Some experts believe wild canids, such as foxes, wolves and coyotes, nibbled grass to soothe their tender tummies.

After all, dogs that vomit or have diarrhea will often graze in their backyards. On the other hand, some dogs may just develop a taste for the green stuff and eat it because they like it!

However, be careful. Experts still aren't sure whether grass prevents or causes vomiting, so giving your pet grass could worsen his already upset stomach!

What You Can Do at Home

There's no cause for alarm if your pet nibbles grass now and then and doesn't show other signs of illness. However, if your pet vomits or develops diarrhea whenever he visits the backyard, you should discourage his vegetarian impulses by restricting his access to grass. Remember, chemically treated lawns are dangerous for your pet. If you spray your yard with fertilizers, insecticides or weed killers, don't let him eat the grass.

When to Call the Veterinarian

Call your veterinarian if your pet continues to eat grass and shows other signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.