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Grazing Pets: Why Do Cats and Dogs Eat Grass?

Cats and dogs love to eat grass

Cats and dogs, our beloved companions, often display a peculiar behavior – they munch on grass. This seemingly odd habit has puzzled pet owners for ages. Is it a sign of an upset stomach, a nutritional deficiency, or something else entirely? In this article, we’ll uncover the mystery behind why cats and dogs eat grass and explore the reasons that drive this behavior. Let’s see why do cats and dogs eat grass.

1. Natural Instinct

In the wild, both cats and dogs are opportunistic carnivores, which means they primarily feed on meat. However, their ancestors often consumed the entire prey, including the stomach contents of herbivorous animals. These stomach contents contained plant material, providing valuable nutrients. Eating grass could be an instinctual way for pets to gain some of these nutrients in a domestic setting.

2. Digestive Aid

Eating grass can act as a natural digestive aid. Pets may consume grass to help themselves vomit or relieve an upset stomach. The grass blades tickle the throat and stomach lining, which can trigger regurgitation and potentially remove indigestible material or irritants.

3. Fiber and Nutrient Intake

Grass contains dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion and regular bowel movements. In some cases, pets might be seeking a bit of extra fiber in their diet to help things move along.

4. Taste and Texture

Cats and dogs, like humans, have individual preferences. Some may simply enjoy the taste or texture of grass. For them, it’s like a natural salad, providing sensory stimulation.

5. Stress and Anxiety Relief

Eating grass can be a coping mechanism for stress or anxiety. Pets facing changes in their environment, routine, or experiencing boredom may turn to grass-eating as a way to self-soothe.

6. Inducing Vomiting

When pets feel unwell or have ingested something toxic, they may eat grass deliberately to induce vomiting. This behavior can be a survival instinct, as it helps them get rid of harmful substances.

7. Attention and Play

Some pets eat grass to capture their owner’s attention or as a form of play. They may mimic grazing behaviors they see in the environment, and if they get a reaction from their human, it becomes a rewarding game.

8. Sensory Exploration

Pets use their mouths and tongues to explore the world around them. Eating grass can be a part of this sensory exploration. The texture and taste of grass provide a unique experience for them.

9. Environmental Factors

Changes in the environment, such as the arrival of new plants or freshly mowed grass, can stimulate a pet’s curiosity and drive them to sample the new vegetation.

Fluffy dog eating grass outdoors

Fluffy dog eating grass outdoors, image source: Unsplash

10. Health Considerations

In moderation, eating grass is usually not a cause for concern. However, excessive grass consumption or any signs of distress should be addressed with a veterinarian. It could be a sign of an underlying medical issue that needs attention.

11. Scent and Taste Variation

Grass, like other plants, can vary in scent and taste based on its type and condition. Pets, with their keen sense of smell and taste, may be attracted to certain grasses over others. Different grasses can provide varying sensory experiences for your furry friends.

12. Hormonal or Biological Factors

Research suggests that hormonal or biological changes, including dietary deficiencies or imbalances, may prompt cats and dogs to eat grass. Some experts believe that the behavior could be a way for pets to address nutritional gaps in their diets or to satisfy cravings for specific nutrients.

13. Environmental Enrichment

Pets may view outdoor exploration as a form of enrichment, and eating grass can be a part of their exploration. The outdoors offer a wide range of sensory experiences, from different textures under their paws to the scent of the environment, which can stimulate their curiosity.

14. Maintaining Dental Health

Chewing on grass may help pets maintain their dental health by reducing plaque buildup and promoting gum stimulation. It’s a natural way for them to exercise their jaws and clean their teeth.

15. Detoxification

Some experts propose that consuming small amounts of grass may help detoxify the body. While more research is needed, this theory suggests that pets may instinctively know when they need to detoxify and turn to grass as a remedy.

16. Social Learning

For dogs, especially puppies, observing other dogs or animals eating grass may lead to imitation. Dogs are social animals, and they can learn by watching their peers or other animals in the household.

17. Seasonal Allergies

In some cases, pets might eat grass to alleviate seasonal allergies or itching. The rough texture of the grass could help soothe itching or discomfort in their mouth or throat.

18. Temperature Regulation

In hot weather, some pets may eat grass to cool themselves down, as the moisture content in the grass can provide a refreshing sensation.

19. Ancient Instincts

Cats and dogs have evolved over thousands of years alongside humans. Their behavior has often been influenced by ancient instincts, which could include grass-eating as a survival strategy in the wild.

20. Mysterious Quirks

Sometimes, pets engage in behaviors that remain mysterious. Grass-eating might be one of those quirks, and while it may not have a clear-cut explanation, it’s part of the charm and individuality of each pet.

Cat eating grass outdoors

Cat eating grass outdoors, image source: Unsplash

21. Genetic Factors

Some experts believe that genetics can play a role in the tendency of pets to eat grass. Certain breeds may be more inclined to graze than others due to their genetic makeup.

22. Soil or Environmental Factors

The quality of the soil and the presence of specific minerals can influence why pets eat grass. If the soil contains minerals or compounds that attract animals, they may be more likely to consume it.

23. Social Bonding

In multi-pet households, cats and dogs may observe and mimic each other’s behavior, including eating grass. This behavior can serve as a form of social bonding and communication.

24. Habitual Behavior

For some pets, eating grass becomes a habitual behavior. If they have had access to grass from a young age and found it enjoyable, they may continue this behavior throughout their lives.

25. Expression of Discomfort

In certain cases, pets may consume grass as a way to express discomfort, whether physical or emotional. It can be a coping mechanism or an attempt to communicate their needs.

26. Parasite Control

Some experts suggest that pets might eat grass to help eliminate internal parasites, although this theory remains debated within the scientific community.

27. Taste Changes in Food

Changes in a pet’s diet, including the taste or texture of their food, can lead to increased grass consumption. This may be a sign of dietary dissatisfaction or a desire for variety.

28. Flea and Tick Prevention

Pets may eat grass to help induce vomiting if they suspect they have ingested something harmful or if they are attempting to remove external parasites like fleas or ticks.

29. Cognitive Decline

In older pets, cognitive decline can lead to unusual behaviors, including increased grass consumption. It may be a sign of age-related changes in their brain function.

30. Individual Variability

Every pet is unique, and their motivations for eating grass can vary widely. The behavior can be influenced by a combination of factors specific to each animal, making it a complex and individualized phenomenon.


The behavior of cats and dogs eating grass is multifaceted and may serve various purposes, from fulfilling instinctual nutritional needs to aiding digestion and offering comfort. It’s essential for pet owners to monitor their animals and ensure that grass consumption remains moderate and does not lead to any health issues. As with any unusual behavior, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your pet’s well-being.

Article written by:

Darius Savin is a lifelong animal lover and protector and the chief editor of Checkmember. He writes and edits articles and is also the creator of the distribution maps for all the creatures featured here.