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Why do dogs eat grass? Contrasted scientific explanation

¿Por qué los perros comen hierba? Explicación científica contrastada

Lobo Azul |

It is commonly believed that dogs eat grass as a way to make themselves vomit. However, among the great variety of materials that exist on the Internet, this topic is almost never addressed based on the scientific research that exists on the matter, and which shows more clearly how much truth there is in this. In this article we will analyze the main evidence that has been reliably discovered, as well as some recommendations that experts make to take into account when our pets register this type of behavior.

What studies exist on this matter?

If you have a pet - and even if you don't - you've probably noticed that dogs sometimes eat grass, although perhaps you didn't know that this can actually have several meanings and origins. When dogs eat grass
An extensive investigation by the University of California on the subject began by investigating the results of 47 dogs belonging to the same number of veterinarians; Of course, only dogs that had access to areas with grass or grass, and that could be regularly observed by their owners, were included. The first important fact is that 79% of veterinarians acknowledged having detected their dogs chewing and ingesting some type of grass ; This is not just any number, it would mean that dogs eat grass in 4 out of 5 cases on a regular basis! This, from the outset, already showed signs that it is a fairly common and normal behavior in dogs , enough to begin to rule it out as a pathology, disease or rarity.

Do they do it out of discomfort?

Also striking was the fact that only 8% of those questioned stated that they had noticed any signs of discomfort prior to ingesting herbs, and only 12% indicated that any vomiting had occurred . Although the experts wanted to delve even deeper, they launched an online call to participate in a scientific study to find more data about why dogs eat grass. More than 3 thousand people sent applications, but in the end there were 1,571 dogs that qualified with their respective caregiver.
Dog eats grass explanation
In this study, herbal intake was also recognized as quite common; 68% of the owners acknowledged having detected their dogs doing it - although they were also less able to fully ensure this - and this also coincided with a percentage of 8% of cases where there were signs of discomfort , while the vomiting was present in the pets of 22 percent of those interviewed. From these data, the presence of grass was also documented as the type of grass that is most frequently chewed and swallowed by dogs - around 79% -. Another notable finding is that no relationship was documented between whether dogs eat grass and their sex, breed, or diet type . However, a notable link was found in relation to age. It was detected that young dogs had a greater tendency to eat both grass and other herbs, in addition to the fact that ingestion preceded by discomfort, and consequently subsequent vomiting, was also less frequent. The reason why it was recorded that dogs eat grass more frequently in young people is that they tend to have a more curious behavior , where they like to experiment with new edible flavors, in addition to even serving as a kind of relaxant .

Dogs eating grass is normal

In conclusion, the scientists pointed out that eating grass was not an indication that something was wrong with the dogs' health, but rather a normal habit , which most likely comes from the genetic information of their ancestors, the wolves, who have developed this habit of eating. ancient form in its natural state. Wolves have eaten grass and herbs both to calm anxiety when they don't have to eat, and also to purge themselves of bacteria. dog eats grass
This also coincides with another subsequent study carried out by researchers from the University of New England in Australia, who claim to have carried out the first scientific experiment - the previous one was based on information from witnesses -, for which they recorded in detail the behavior of 12 dogs in a period of 6 days. After analyzing the results, the scientists also concluded that the fact that dogs eat grass is not associated with any illness or disease, and on the contrary, it seems to be a normal routine for dogs.

When do dogs eat grass and what causes it?

Although, something that the researchers discovered is that, in fact, the consumption of grass was more frequent before eating than after eating, which is why it was also related more as an issue of anxiety and even as a way to appease hunger. , which would be much more common than doing it for purgative purposes. Likewise, they also noticed that this behavior was performed more frequently in the early stages of the day, which was also associated with less satiety. Even so, it is also recognized that grass on the dog's intestinal walls encourages the emergence of gastric acids, which are ultimately what generate vomiting. Furthermore, in reality this plant material also facilitates the dragging of worms, which, combined with the intestinal contractions produced by the fiber in the grass, allows to encourage the evacuation process , which is generally not expressed through vomiting, but through of better digestion. Dogs that eat grass

So, is it good or bad for dogs to eat grass?

In conclusion, we can affirm that eating grass is a completely normal behavior in dogs, and which in most cases occurs as a way to calm anxiety, although it also has digestive and purgative purposes for dogs. Only on occasions when dogs eat grass suddenly and with great speed and vigor, could it be a more urgent discomfort that the dog could do to try to expel something in its body, so in these cases it is not appropriate. plus consultation with the veterinarian to consider other symptoms. For this reason you do not have to scold your dog when he eats herbs, it is only recommended to be careful in unknown terrain , both due to the presence of poisonous herbs and toxic fertilizers, which would be the only risk factors in these cases.

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