If your German Shepherd Dog is eating grass, he is certainly not the only dog on the Earth that exhibits this kind of strange behavior. There are many schools of thought and theories as to why German Shepherds eat grass, but there’s no proven and confirmed conclusion as to why they eat grass. Dogs, irrespective of breed, gender and age eat grass at some point in time.
Veterinary researchers have been pounding on the mystery of dogs eating grass. Dr. Benjamin Hart, DVM, Ph.D., has studied animal behavior for over 50 years and according to him one of the questions he is hit with most frequently from dog owners is: “Why does my dog eat grass?” Researchers have carried out a study on dogs eating grass. A number of 49 dogs were exposed to vegetation and grassland. It was observed that around 39 out of 49 dogs had consumed plants at some point in time. It noticed that the grass was preferred more than other plants by most of the dogs. Now the question is: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?
This behavior that is characterized by knowingly eating things by a species that are not their food is called “Pica”. If your German shepherd Dog or any other dog or mongrel is eating grass, this is a kind of pica, a behavior that is not necessarily fatal or harmful, as long as your garden is free from poisonous pants along with the grass that your dog can accidentally ingest.
There are different reasons but none of them have been scientifically proven and confirmed. Some of the probable reasons that many canine experts have laid down are as follows:
1. Settling their stomach
Those there in the veterinary profession would clearly say that your GSD eats grass because he has a natural instinct to use grass as a medicinal herb, whenever they feel irritation or ache inside their stomach. Some people (especially those directly or indirectly related to the veterinary profession) believe that dogs – irrespective of breed – eat grass and then vomit in order to settle their stomach.
Many dogs, most of the time, do not vomit after eating grass. This goes a long way to prove that grass is not used by dogs to vomit in order to settle their stomach. Moreover, in a survey it has been noticed that grass eating and vomiting do not always go together… nor grass eating and illness are always associated. In the study of clients and veterinary students, it was observed that 18% of the clients’ dogs that ate grass vomited after eating. On the other hand, 9% of the dogs owned by the veterinary students showed some symptoms of illness before eating grass.
3. Nutritional deficiency
Some experts consider that dogs eat grass because of nutritional deficiencies in their regular diet. Since dogs are not purely carnivorous they need plant fibers as a part of their diet. Some dogs eat grass probably because their food doesn’t meet their requirement of veg nutrition which they try to compensate for by eating grass.
Many dogs that are fed purely non-commercial food, without any vegetables also eat grass. Homemade food usually consists of meat, eggs, fruits, veggies, etc. that are quite nutritious. Many dogs that are given enough vegetables of different types also eat grass. Moreover, if it’s a question of nutritional benefits, there wouldn’t have any reason for some dogs to vomit after eating grass.
5. Natural instinct
Grass eating habit of dogs is a natural instinct. Their ancestors used to eat small amounts of grass and plant nutrients as a part of their natural diet indirectly by eating the intestines of herbivorous prey for instance deer, goat, sheep, etc. This is considered as the instinctual craving for the roughage or minerals or fiber present in the vegetation
6. They love to eat grass
Some canine experts conclude that dogs love to eat grass because they like the taste. Grass and plants or weeds contain a vegetable sap that sometimes tastes sweet. Your German Shepherds probably like eating grass because of the taste.
We do not have any solid explanation as to why dogs eat grass. There are different schools of thought and theoretical statements and beliefs. Researchers have been burning their midnight oil to come up with a rock-solid reason for dogs’ grass-eating habits. Now the question is: Is there anything to be worried about? Dog’s grass-eating habit doesn’t always cause alarm. Dogs usually do not eat grass excessively. If you notice your GSD eating grass in the excessive quantity you should consult your vet instantly. Grass eating by dogs is something not to be worried about as long as your lawn is not treated with poisonous substances like fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or any other chemical components.