We’ve all heard those stories of dogs who munch away on some grass while they are out and about on a walk, or meandering through the backyard.
There are varying opinions on this practice, all of which spiral around the fact that we don’t know – for sure- why dogs of all kinds will each grass.
There are several theories about grass eating in dogs. If you find that your Jack Russell is eating grass on a regular basis, take a look at the theories presented below to see why, in fact, he does this. It may help calm the nerves, if nothing else (yours, not his!).
Your Jack Russell has upset stomach
Dogs have the same systems as us, meaning that they can get upset stomach or digestion problems just like we do. They can’t just take an antacid, however, so they turn to swallowing some grass. Grass will make the dog throw up, and therefore give them relief from whatever is harming them or causing them discomfort. This is theory number one, and it is one that is widely accepted by vets and scientists everywhere.
There are signs to watch for, with this theory. First of all, you’ll notice that your terrier is restless – more than usual that is – and want to be going outside almost constantly. Once out, he’ll immediately head for the nearest patch of greenery or grass and swallow anything in sight.
Remember, he won’t meander. If he’s in pain of discomfort, he’ll head straight for the grass and have it eaten before you even know he’s doing anything more than smelling the flowers. Shortly after, he’ll throw up.
He is missing some nutrients or lacks fiber
Another reason your dog may eat grass – one that isn’t as widely accepted – is that he is missing vital nutrients from his diet. He’ll eat his dinner, but he may also head outside after, do some sniffing, and chow down on some tasty looking dandelions or grass fields. He is missing crucial vitamins from his meal, so he’s looking to gain them from other places, instead.
He may or may not throw the grass up – depending on how much he eats – so, you must keep an eye on his outside activities to monitor his grass-related activity.
If he is making a habit of grass and you think it may be related to his food choice, consider switching his food type, or taking him to the vet to find out if something is wrong with his blood or muscles. As mentioned, this is not a total science yet, so don’t panic if your dog eats some grass every now and then. He’s not dying!
Behavior inherited from the mother
Yet another grass-related theory, is that he inherited a taste for the stuff. Yes, that can happen. This is normally seen when the mother snacks on grass while pregnant and nursing. Depending on your circumstances, you may not be able to know the history of the mother, so you may not realize that it’s just a habit he gained. If he is eating grass just because he likes it, he’ll only do it for a few minutes and stop when you tell him to.
There will be no urgency or obsession with hunting down and eating the first patch of grass he sees. You’ll most likely notice him doing that when he’s been lying out in the sun for a while and simply eats a strand or two as he’s lying there, loving life.
Behavior inherited from the wild ancestors
The last theory in the habit of grass eating with your Jack Russell Terrier is his doggy heritage. No, not the mother, but his evolutionary heritage. Studies show that wolves and wild dogs are often known to eat grass as a regular part of their diet.
It’s just something they eat, much like the way we nibble on salad. They still have enough of a lizard brain (instincts and core values from evolution and history) that they see a patch of grass and think “mmm, food!” CHOMP.
As with the theory above, this can be seen simply by the fact that he eats it recreational and isn’t obsessed with sniffing it out. Remember that wolves are scavengers, meaning they’re eat anything they can find in order to survive.
Your dog is the same way with the same instincts. While you should always keep an eye on your pooch when he’s eating grass regularly, you don’t need to immediately panic if he eats a blade of grass as he’s stretched out in the backyard. Just keep an eye on him and watch for other reactions, including vomiting.
Boredom or attention seeking
Remember, your Jack Russell Terrier is rambunctious and practically looking for trouble. It’s quite possible, if you feel as though your dog doesn’t fit into any of these scenarios, that he’s simply doing it out of boredom or to get your attention. These little guys are known to be mischievous, so take everything you’ve read here with a grain of salt.
If your Jack Russell is a trouble maker, he may just be trying his best to simply get you worked up and therefore chase him as he runs away with a mouthful of grass that you’re trying to get from him.
On that same note, it may be best to be safe, so don’t hesitate to get with a professional for a second opinion. You know your dog best, so make sure that you follow your gut and take your dog’s grass eating behavior very seriously.
As mentioned in the beginning, none of these theories are proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The problem is that we simply can’t read a dog’s mind, we have to rely solely on what we see. If you are worried about the amount of grass your dog is eating, check with a vet or another professional to make sure that everything is okay and he in good shape.
No one wants to see their dog in pain or discomfort, so do what you think needs to be done, and your pooch will thank you for it.
In our case, I could bet Kala is eating grass when she has upset stomach. She eats grass mostly when she refuses to eat her regular food but doesn’t throw up each time she eats it. As she is huge food lover, refusing to eat is a secure sign there is something wrong. I always let her eat it in our back yard to ensure she eats clean grass not treated with the pesticides.
What’s you opinion on this matter? Tell us in the comments below.