Why Do Dogs and Cats Eat Grass?

Updated on November 10, 2017
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Several years ago, I used to wonder why our family cat always ate grass. Did the cat find the grass tasteful or was there a specific reason behind eating grass?

In addition, I noticed our family dog doing the same thing. It would eat a couple of grass blades. I never saw the cat or dog vomiting as a result of eating the grass. Nonetheless, some dog and cat owners have noted their dogs or cats vomiting after eating grass.

Several studies have been carried out to determine the reasons why felines and canines eat grass. However, feline and canine experts disagree on the findings from the studies. As a result, one cannot be certain as to the real reasons. Some dog and cat owners do not agree with each other. If these felines and canines had a clear-cutting way of communicating with us, we would have known why they eat grass. So far we are just left with theories, as they have not be justified by the scientific community.

Dog eating grass
Dog eating grass | Source

Theory 1: A Learned Habit—Pica

This is particularly attributed to dogs. Pica can be termed as a habit of eating non-food stuff. It’s not limited to animals, but also human beings.

It might be, according to the studies, that animals have formed the habit of eating grass. They find themselves eating grass for sheer enjoyment or satisfaction. It is as if they enjoy the taste of eating grass.

Furthermore, in the case of puppies, it might be that they resort to eating grass because of the impending boredom. In regards to this, Natural Dog Health Remedies states, “Therefore, if you have a young puppy who is kept outside in the yard all day while you are at work, and he is eating grass, it is likely that he is bored.”

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Theory 2: To Purge Out Inedible Contents

We do know cats and dogs end up eating weird things at times. In addition, when they eat their dead prey, they eat up all of the prey, sometimes including bones that might be hard to crush. When the cat eats the prey and the prey's fur, the fur might irritate the stomach and cause discomfort.

As a result of eating grass, they vomit in order to purge out the inedible content(s) in the stomach. Thus, it aids in reducing the irritation if you consider the inedible matter might end up clogging the digestive tract.

Dogs and cats lack the enzymes responsible for breaking down the cellulose, a type of fiber in grass, which can cause them to vomit the contents of the stomach.

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Theory 3: Natural Laxative

Experts who base their argument in this line of thought state that the eating of grass assists in bowel movement. Thereby, it enables the indigestible matter to pass through the normal wastage passage.

As any cat owner knows, cats regularly throw up and leave lovely, wet little fur balls present around the house. But when the fur moves deep into the digestive tract, kitty needs a little help to break it down and pass it to the outer end. PetMD

The only possible way for a cat to pass a furball, based on this theory, is by the kitty eating the grass blades.

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Why Do Dogs and Cats Eat Grass?

Can Humans Eat Grass?

They can, but it is not recommended. It might be possible that early humans did eat grass, but nowadays, we are unable to digest the grass properly. This is because we lack the necessary enzymes to break down the cellulose, a type of fiber found in grass. This is the reason why cats and dogs vomit after eating grass. They don’t have the enzymes which can dissect the fiber so that it can be used by the body.

Growing up, I used to chew on grass. Rarely did I eat the grass blades by swallowing them after chewing. I only chewed to derive the pleasure of sucking the grass dry of the juice contained therein. However, as noted by News24, it is not advisable to eat grass.

Grass contains a lot of silica, which is abrasive to human teeth. Grazing animals have teeth that can re-coat their own surfaces continually, so the silica does not affect them.—News 24

cat and dog
cat and dog | Source

How Do Cows Digest Grass?

Cows don’t have the same enzymes responsible for breaking down cellulose. In contrast to humans, felines, and canines. Cows have a specialized digestive system which enables them to break down the cellulose into finer pieces. A cow has four digestive compartments. When the grass is swallowed, it is digested partially in the first and second stomach compartments then returned to the mouth. The teeth further grind the grass whereby it’s finally broken down into finer pieces by the third and fourth compartments of the stomach.

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      Alianess Benny Njuguna 6 weeks ago from Kenya

      That is a perfect mix.

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      Jeanette Harris 7 weeks ago from 11996 Valley Falls Loop Spring Hill Florida, 34609

      I let my cat have some grass with her cat food; she would eat lots of if I let her.

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