Have you noticed a strange pattern? Your dog decides to eat grass before proceeding to throw it right back up after. Each and every morning. Odd, and perhaps a little concerning. Why does your dog continue to do this despite this routine outcome? IS there something you need to do about it? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know, do and consider.
So, why does a dog eat grass and vomit every morning? Your dog may eat grass and vomit each morning because of problems such as nausea, parasites, food intolerances, in response to eating something that did not agree with them, or psychological reasons.
A perplexing one for sure.
It undoubtedly requires further investigation.
So stick with me as I unpackage it all in much greater detail before turning to how you should respond.
- 1 Why Does A Dog Eat Grass And Vomit?
- 2 When Should I Worry About My Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting?
- 3 What To Do About Your Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting Every Morning
- 4 What Your Vet Can Do To Help
- 5 Finally
Why Does A Dog Eat Grass And Vomit?
Dogs eat grass for many reasons: one of them is instinct. If your dog’s stomach is feeling poorly, he may eat grass to seek relief or to expel parasites. Sometimes a psychological problem is to blame (boredom, stress, anxiety, or pica). The throwing up part of it is a former part of the relief.
Wild dogs commonly eat plants: often they do so unintentionally when eating animals who have consumed grass.
Small prey such as rabbits and squirrels usually have stomachs filled with grass, which a wild dog consumes along with the rest of these animals.
Some experts believe dogs eat grass and throw up to help them purge parasites from their digestive tract.
Often dogs (and cats) will eat grass if they’re feeling nauseous – they know instinctively that eating grass and vomiting it up can help clear out their stomachs.
It could be your dog is eating grass to try and compensate for a lack of vitamins or minerals in his diet. Because the grass doesn’t agree with his stomach, he’ll then throw it up.
Some dogs eat grass in an attempt to add fiber to their diet.
Some dogs will repeatedly eat grass even if it makes them throw up because of psychological problems, such as:
- A desire for attention (especially if they see you reacting to them doing this – dogs crave attention, whether it’s good or bad).
- Pica (a condition where your dog eats anything, edible or not, compulsively).
When Should I Worry About My Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting?
A few episodes of vomiting are normally not a cause for worry. However, any prolonged vomiting is cause for concern and necessitates a visit to the vet.
Vomiting can be a small issue such as eating something spoiled, or it can be a sign of a serious problem (even something as deadly as parvovirus).
When You Probably Don’t Need to Worry
If your dog has an occasional episode of eating grass and vomiting, there’s usually no need to worry.
Your dog is probably doing what comes naturally to settle his stomach.
If he vomits once and then plays and eats normally, there’s usually nothing to worry about.
Whatever the problem was, it will most likely resolve itself without the need for intervention.
When You Need To Be Concerned (and Act Quickly)
However, you’ll probably be worried (and with good reason) if your dog has severe bouts of vomiting.
If the vomiting is accompanied by other signs, you’ll be right to be concerned.
If you are unsure, monitor the frequency and duration of the vomiting.
If your dog continues to vomit after eating, there’s definitely a problem. In addition, other signs there’s something to worry about include:
- Weight loss.
- Decreased appetite.
- Sudden behavioral changes.
- Dry heaving (this can be a sign of an emergency problem called “bloat”).
- Dehydration (another emergency condition that can lead to kidney failure).
- Diarrhea (this can be a sign of the deadly parvovirus as well as parasites or intestinal infections).
The above signs can indicate a sudden infection or a chronic problem – in either case, you’ll want to get your dog to the vet right away.
Is Grass Safe For Dogs To Eat?
Grass is usually safe for dogs to eat as long as they aren’t:
- Vomiting repeatedly.
- Drinking too much water.
- Experiencing diarrhea.
Know, though, that because grass can contain droppings from other animals, there’s always a risk of your dog contracting intestinal parasites.
If your dog loves eating grass (and many do), make sure you are diligent with treating your dog for intestinal parasites.
In addition to animal droppings, grass can contain other ingredients that are harmful (or toxic) for your dog:
Be aware of what you are putting on your grass at home if your dog eats grass from your yard.
And know that grass in public spaces will likely contain any or all of the above toxins!
What To Do About Your Dog Eating Grass and Vomiting Every Morning
You’ll need to take different actions depending on why your dog is eating grass and vomiting regularly.
If Your Dog is Acting On Instinct
If your dog is chasing after small prey (and some dogs have more of a hunting reflex than others), the only way to get him to not throw up as much is to restrict his hunting activities.
If your dog just likes eating grass, you can try to train him not to eat so much of it.
Try redirecting your dog’s focus when he goes for the grass (with a toy, for example).
Apply positive reinforcement (verbal praise or treats) when your dog doesn’t eat grass.
Speak to your vet to see how you can help your dog if you have concerns.
Even if he’s a happy hunter, regular vomiting isn’t good for the esophagus and throat because of the stomach acid coming back up.
If Your Dog Has Parasites
You may not be able to see the parasites present in your dog, but there are some signs to look out for to help determine if parasites are the problem.
Note: Many of the following symptoms can indicate other problems, so you will need to bring your dog to the vet in any case.
The most common symptoms of a parasite infection (in addition to vomiting) are:
- Weight loss.
- A swollen stomach (abdomen).
- Scooting (indicating a problem in your dog’s anal sacs).
- Not as active as usual.
- A dull coat of fur.
- Diarrhea (sometimes with mucus or blood present).
Know, though, that most dogs with parasites won’t show symptoms or signs until the infection has reached serious levels.
However, there are two exceptions to this:
- Tapeworms. Tapeworms are visible in your dog’s excrement as white bits that look like rice). You might also find tapeworms around your dog’s anus or in places where he tends to rest at home.
- Roundworms. Roundworms can be seen in your dog’s excrement as well as his vomit: they look like long, white strands of spaghetti.
If Your Dog Is Suffering From Nausea
If your dog is dealing with nausea, it’s imperative to determine the cause to then know exactly what to do.
The causes of nausea are many and varied, making it difficult to spot the problem easily. The most common causes include:
- Changes in diet.
- Eating something he shouldn’t.
- Eating too fast or too much.
- Eating something spoiled or indigestible.
- Licking or eating something with an unpleasant taste or that’s toxic (this could include pesticides on plants and grass).
- Side effects of medications (even eye drops can cause nausea in some dogs).
- Side effects of recent anesthesia.
- Gastrointestinal conditions, including diarrhea.
- Infectious diseases (including parvovirus).
- Secondary effects from a disease affecting other parts of the body (e.g., diabetes Mellitus, kidney problems, cancer).
Signs that your dog may have nausea (in addition to vomiting) include:
- A lack of appetite.
- Excessive licking or drooling.
- Restlessness (not being able to settle in one place).
- Lying in one spot while drooling.
If Your Dog Has Dietary Problems
Dietary problems are often the simplest thing to fix, unless there are allergies present.
If your dog has been eating grass and vomiting after a change in his diet, it could be his new food is the issue.
Common signs of a food intolerance or another dietary problem include:
- Skin infections.
- Hair loss.
- Chronic ear infections or inflammations.
- Digestive problems (not only vomiting, but also diarrhea or chronic gas).
- Hot spots (skin areas that are inflamed, moist, and hot from your dog’s repeated licking, scratching, or chewing. These areas are often on your dog’s chest, hips or head, and they become painful to the touch).
Your vet can run tests to determine if your dog has allergies, intolerances, or simply needs a change in diet for improved nutrition.
If Your Dog Has Psychological Problems
If your dog is eating grass and throwing up because of psychological problems, you’ll need to figure out what’s going on:
Boredom Or Desire For Attention
Is your dog getting enough mental and physical exercise each day? Is he getting enough attention from you? Have you been giving him attention when he throws up?
It’s normal to go to your dog when he’s not feeling well, but consider whether he could be acting out of a desire for more attention.
If he’s getting plenty of attention from you otherwise, it could be something is physically wrong (see above).
Stress or Anxiety
Does your dog protest whenever you leave the house? Is he having problems with other people or animals in your home?
Have there been any recent changes to his lifestyle that could be causing him concern?
Some dogs will eat anything, whether it’s edible or not, if they have pica.
If you suspect pica, you will need assistance to help your dog.
If you are unsure as to what the problem could be, consult with a dog behaviorist or give your vet a call.
Dogs are clever animals, but they can’t tell us what’s wrong!
What Your Vet Can Do To Help
If your dog is repeatedly eating grass and throwing up, your vet can do many things to help determine the cause of his behavior and decide on appropriate treatment.
Diagnosing The Problem
Depending on the symptoms and the urgency, your vet will do any of the following to diagnose the problem:
- A physical examination (including feeling your dog’s abdomen).
- Taking your dog’s medical history (diet, appetite, general health, exposure to trash or other toxic substances, etc.)
- Lab tests (a urinalysis, blood count, or other tests).
- Examining your dog’s excrement (to look for infections or parasites).
- Contrast X-rays (if your vet suspects an obstruction).
- Ultrasound (sometimes not available at some vets, so your dog may be referred to a specialty vet hospital).
- Endoscopy (as with ultrasounds, your dog may be referred elsewhere for this procedure).
- Possible Treatments.
Treating The Problem
Treatment will depend on your dog’s problem.
Your vet may carry out any of the following:
- Eliminating the cause (diet, medications, eating behavior problems with smaller portions, exposure to toxic substances, etc.).
- Administering fluids (either subcutaneously or via IV, depending on whether your dog is severely dehydrated).
- Providing medication (this can help diminish the vomiting and assist with any pain your dog is experiencing, or help treat infections).
- Surgery (if there is an obstruction, a tumor, or another problem requiring surgery)
- Hospitalization (if an IV or surgery is required, or if your dog’s symptoms are severe enough to warrant round-the-clock surveillance).
What You Might Do At Home
Once you have checked with your vet that you can treat your dog at home, here are some things they might suggest for home treatment, either because the problem is not severe, or as a way to help your dog recover after surgery or another type of veterinary treatment:
- Reintroduce Food and Water Slowly. If your dog hasn’t been able to eat for a while, reintroduce food and water slowly. It’s better to provide little and often, as some dogs may quickly drink too much or overeat when their digestive tracts are still recovering.
- Offer Food that’s Easily Digestible. Help your dog eat small amounts of bland food, containing things like boiled rice or potatoes with skinless chicken or lean hamburger. If your dog is allergic to beef or chicken, try low-fat cottage cheese as the protein source. Your vet will tell you how much to offer your dog at each sitting.
- Give Your Dog Several Opportunities to Eliminate Waste. Take him out on a lead every few hours.
- Keep Your Dog Temporarily Isolated from Other Pets. While your dog is feeling ill, it may be best to keep him separate from other animals at home, unless they are offering him comfort. Let your dog’s behavior guide you here – the last thing he needs is additional stress or rough play.
If your dog is repeatedly eating grass each morning, and throws up every time, don’t ignore it.
This is a sign that something is up.
And you’re going to want to get to the bottom of it.
Whether you believe you know the underlying cause, or you have no idea, contacting a vet is likely the best course of action here.
Besides, you want to rule out anything serious is going on here.
You don’t want to take any chances.
Other guides you may want to check out:
- Dog Vomits Pink Foam [What It Means & What To Do]
- Dog Vomits After Exercise [Why & What Do Do About It]
- Dog Vomiting Nothing Coming Up [Why & What To Do]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.