Why does my Boston Terrier keep eating grass every time I let them out into the yard?
I get this question frequently as a veterinarian! There have been relatively few studies performed on the grass eating in dogs, so there is little definitive evidence as to why dogs eat grass.
However, there have been several speculations as to why dogs eat grass. In this article, we will review the potential reasons why your Boston Terrier is eating grass and what you should do about it.
4 Reasons Why Your Boston Terrier Is Eating Grass
Does your Boston graze on grass every time you let them outside to potty? Or have you noticed grass-eating when your Boston is feeling sick to their stomach?
The technical term for chewing and eating things that have little to no nutritional value is called pica.
Many dogs have pica and will chew and eat sticks, rocks, grass, and other plants.
Here are some reasons why your Boston Terrier could be eating grass.
Do you have other Boston Terrier health issues you are concerned about? Read this article, 10 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues.
1. Your Boston Likes The Taste Of Grass!
If your Boston is eating grass, this doesn’t automatically suggest that they are sick. In one study, around 90% of pet owners reported that their dog was not sick before their dog started eating grass, and around 80% of pets did not vomit after eating grass.
Some Bostons may eat grass because they like the taste of it. They eat it because they enjoy the flavor of the grass, and they may have developed this habit over time.
2. Eating Grass Is Normal Dog Behavior.
In one small study, 79% of dogs eat grass or other types of plant material. Grass eating is extremely common among dogs which may suggest that this is normal behavior.
Most veterinarians agree that dogs are omnivores meaning that they regularly eat both meat and plant materials. Dogs have flat molars in the back of the mouth that can be used for chewing grain, and dogs can also digest carbohydrates.
Plant eating may have been acquired through genetics and evolution. Studies have shown that wolves may also ingest grass regularly. One possible explanation for grass eating is that it is a wolf’s way of ridding itself of intestinal parasites.
3. Your Boston Is Nauseous.
Some dogs might eat grass if they are nauseous.
My own dog only eats grass when her stomach is gurgling and she feels a little nauseous. She never eats grass at any other time.
I have heard similar stories from owners who bring their dogs to the vet. Often when their dog has been nauseous and throwing up, pet owners will also report that their dog has been eating more grass.
One study done by researchers at UC Davis Veterinary School found that 22% of dogs vomited after eating plants and grass.
While studies have shown that eating grass is probably just a normal dog behavior, it is possible that grass eating is a sign of nausea especially if associated with other sudden gastrointestinal symptoms like:
- Or Decreased Appetite
Wondering why your Boston Terrier is throwing up for apparently no reason? Read this article, 7 Reasons Your Boston Is Throwing Up & What To Do.
4. Your Boston Terrier Is Bored.
Eating grass may be a sign of boredom especially in younger Boston Terriers. Some Bostons may just eat grass because they don’t have anything better to do.
If you suspect your dog is just bored, try taking them for a long walk or playing with them in the yard.
Are There Nutrients My Boston Is Missing When They Are Eating Grass?
Your dog is probably not eating grass because they are missing nutrients in their diet. Most dogs that eat grass do so because this is normal behavior or because they are a little sick to their stomach.
Dogs that regularly eat grass probably do so because it is normal evolutionary behavior.
That being said, there have been rare cases where dogs supplemented with fiber stop eating grass.
If you are interested in supplementing your dog’s diet with fiber to see if this helps with your dog’s grass-eating, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate supplement for your dog.
Is It True My Boston Terrier Is Just Eating Grass To Throw Up?
It may be true that your Boston Terrier is eating grass to throw up. While the majority of the time grass eating is normal behavior for dogs, some dogs vomit after eating grass.
This may be a mechanism to rid the stomach of any harmful material if they are feeling nauseous. While this is not the most common reason that your Boston Terrier is eating grass, it is a possibility.
Will Eating Grass Hurt My Boston Terrier?
Most of the time, eating grass will not hurt your Boston Terrier. However, if your yard has recently been treated with pesticides or fertilizers and your dog eats grass, this could harm your dog.
Also, pay close attention to any toxic plants or flowers in your yard to ensure that your Boston is NOT eating those.
One type of plant that can be particularly dangerous is foxtails. This plant has small barbed seeds that may cause damage to your dog’s throat, stomach, and intestinal tract if ingested.
If you have any foxtails in your yard, you should remove them so your dog can’t ingest them.
Do you know what most Boston Terriers die from? Check out this article, 3 Common Causes Of Death In Boston Terriers.
Do You Think It Is Best To Stop A Dog Who Is Eating Grass?
In general, if your dog is eating grass, there is no reason to stop them because this is normal dog behavior.
There are a few instances when you should not allow your dog to eat grass and plants:
- If the grass has been treated with pesticides or fertilizers recently as these products can be harmful to dogs.
- If your dog is eating toxic plants in the yard.
- If there are any foxtails in the yard as these can cause extreme harm and damage to your dog’s throat, stomach, and intestinal tract.
How Do I Know If I Should Take My Dog To The Vet For Grass Eating?
Any time your dog is experiencing a new or unusual symptom, you should consult with a veterinarian.
It would be especially important to get your dog into the vet quickly if you suspect your dog has eaten a toxic plant or if there is vomiting associated with the grass eating.
Also, if you notice any diarrhea, inappetence, or weight loss along with the grass eating, you should definitely make an appointment with your veterinarian.
Grass eating appears to be an extremely common and normal behavior among Boston Terriers. Most cases of grass eating in Bostons are normal dog behaviors. If your dog is experiencing any stomach upset, grass-eating may be a sign of nausea or GI upset.
It is important to alert your veterinarian if your Boston is exhibiting any new symptoms especially if it is associated with vomiting, diarrhea, or inappetence.
Remember, there is no need to discourage your dog from eating grass unless there are toxic or harmful plants in your yard like foxtails or if your yard has been recently treated with pesticides or fertilizers.
- Buzhardt, L. Why Do Dogs Eat Grass? VCA Hospitals.
- Sueda, Karen & Hart, Benjamin & Cliff, Kelly. (2008). Characterisation of plant-eating in dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science – APPL ANIM BEHAV SCI. 111. 120-132.