Common dog behaviour could be sign something is wrong

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With the arrival of summer, many Brits and their dogs will be spending more time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine.

However, diet advisors at PetLab Co are urging dog owners to be vigilant for one particular red flag behaviour that is dangerously easy to overlook – excessive grass eating.

While occasional or small amounts of grass consumption is not a cause for concern, if your dog is frequently munching on grass, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. « Most owners don’t know this but eating grass is a common behaviour across dogs with poor gut health, » a spokesperson from PetLab explained on TikTok (@petlabco).

« If their skin is itchy and they lick their paws, then your dog’s weird need to eat grass could be an instinctive behaviour to attempt combatting the bad bacteria behind their itching. »

In 2008, scientists found that plant eating is a relatively normal behaviour among dogs, wolves and other wild animals. In fact, their survey revealed that 79% of pet owners had noticed their dogs doing this.

However, according to Berthoud Animal Hospital, dogs also increase their grass munching when experiencing stomach discomfort or a bug. Interestingly, grass often contains more fibre than legumes, so eating it can help settle the stomach by reducing the pH level.

Experts at the hospital have also stated that « some dogs will also eat grass because they have a diet deficiency », indicating that the dog is not getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet.

« This can occur when dogs have a medical condition or are not eating good quality dog food. If you are concerned that your dog may have a diet deficiency, then it is a good idea to consult with your vet, » they said.

To distinguish between normal and worrying behaviours, experts advise looking out for other key warning signs that may accompany grass binging. This includes a reluctance to eat certain foods – potentially triggering a deficiency – or even frequent vomiting and diarrhoea.

In addition, it’s crucial to be aware of what chemicals are used on the grass, as pesticides can be extremely harmful to dogs. The hospital further advises: « Pet owners should monitor their dogs’ grass intake and be aware of any unusual behaviours or symptoms that may indicate an underlying health issue. »