You have just let your poodle outside to do their business, only to realize your poodle has decided to indulge by eating grass instead! But what prompts them to do this in the first place?
Poodles eat grass for various reasons which most often include:
- They have worms or other parasites
- nutritional deficiencies (likely fiber)
- As a digestion aid
- They simply enjoy it
There are plenty of ways to get your poodle to stop eating grass, but the most effective way is to distract him by playing and giving lots of attention.
The reasons a poodle eats grass will be specific to each animal. Keep reading to find out the ins and outs of your poodle’s habit and learn how to help address the issues he may have.
What Are the Reasons Poodles Eat Grass?
There are many reasons your poodle will go out to the backyard and eat grass, but these are the most likely reasons they do it:
They are sick.
A sick poodle may be one of the most common reasons found on the internet for why poodles eat grass. The thought behind this reason is that they eat it so they will throw up and, in turn, will feel better.
The thing is, there is little evidence showing this correlation. WebMD claims that fewer than 10% of dogs seem to be sick before eating grass, and less than 25% of dogs throw up after ingesting grass. Of course, these are somewhat flawed statistics. These numbers are based on what the owners reported.
There is a possibility that your poodle feels sick without showing any symptoms, which is why this is still a valid explanation of why they are doing it.
They may have worms.
Worms will give your poodle the gauntlet of digestive problems, that your dog has no idea how to solve or how to tell you. For these reasons, eating grass seems like a sound idea.
Their nutritional needs are not being met.
Poodles recognize that grass is a source that is high in fiber. Just like humans, any dog needs a well-balanced diet. The problem is many dog foods, especially cheap ones, lack the proper nutrients a dog needs, especially fiber.
A Journal of Veterinary Medicine study recently featured a miniature poodle who ate and vomited up grass every day for seven years. Then, that dog was put on a high fiber diet for only three days, and the vomiting stopped.
Your poodle just likes it.
This is probably not the reason you were hoping to find during your research, but that does not make it any less valid. Your poodle merely enjoying the activity is one of the most common reasons for it.
To be safe, you should always take your dog to the vet when you realize they are eating grass, especially if it is making them throw up. But if your vet finds your dog is completely healthy, they are likely doing it for fun.
Why Do Poodles Eat Grass When Sick?
As mentioned earlier, less than 10% of dogs that eat grass are sick before eating grass. This statistic is also one that is very flawed, so there are likely many dogs, especially poodles, that eat grass because they are legitimately sick.
The reasoning makes sense. Think back to the last time you felt nauseous. Throwing up may have been the only way to feel better. Poodles are no different.
Now, addressing that statistic that shows around 25% of dogs don’t puke after eating grass: That is for any breed of dog. Poodles, traditionally, have more stomach and digestive issues than other kinds of dogs, so it is likely that the sensitive stomach of a poodle will be more affected by grass.
However, there are still many ongoing studies on this issue, so for now, it is best to get your poodle to a vet if you find them eating grass. Doing this will both ease your mind and may significantly help your dog out if they need it, too.
How to Get Your Poodle to Stop Eating Grass
Now that you understand why your poodle is eating grass, let’s dig into some ways to get them to stop:
Change up their diet.
The poodles that are attempting to eat grass for fiber will need a change of diet. A high fiber diet was the fix that was needed for the miniature poodle mentioned above and could be exactly what your dog needs, too. Later, we’ll talk about the best high-fiber dog foods for your poodle.
Play with them.
Distraction may be the most effective way to get your poodle to stop eating grass. Next time you catch your dog eating grass, try throwing a ball or toy with them. Especially if you have found they are not sick, have no other health problems, and you have attempted a high fiber diet, this can be extremely effective.
When your poodle isn’t sick, they are just doing it because they like it. So, distract them with something they want more: playtime with their owner.
Get them a chew toy.
Your poodle may be indulging in the grass because of the way it feels in their mouth, so a proper chew toy could be the perfect fix.
A toy made with a carpet exterior or something else plant-like, or anything else you can think of that has a similar mouth feel to grass, should stop your poodle’s habit. Remember, sometimes, they just need to be distracted.
What Are the Best High Fiber Dog Foods?
If you think that, given the evidence, your poodle may need a change of food, there are the best high fiber dog foods out there found on Amazon and chewy.com:
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Gastrointestinal Biome Digestive/Fiber Care with Chicken Dry Dog Food: This dog food has 4.8 stars out of over 100 reviews on chewy.com and is recommended by 98% of consumers. It has helped many dogs with their sensitive stomachs and could be just what you are looking for to get your poodle to stop eating grass.
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Fiber Balance Formula Dry Dog Food: This one is another high performer on chew.com with 4.7 stars and a 97% recommendation rate. It is touted for both its taste and ability to help your dog’s digestive system. Buying this dog food will be a win for you and your poodle.
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastrointestinal High Fiber Dry Dog Food: Once again, this dog food has fantastic reviews on chewy.com, with 4.8 stars and a 98% recommendation rate. It is designed to help your dog’s digestive system. Made with highly digestible proteins and prebiotics, its perfect for the poodle with a sensitive stomach.
- Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food: Blue Buffalo is known as one of the best dog foods that is also at an affordable price. This dog food is the cheapest on this list, but it’s not because of low performance. It has chewy.com customers raving with 4.7 stars and a 96% recommendation rate. If you can’t afford the absolute best and top of the market dog food, this one is perfect for you and your dog. Blue Buffalo also makes a version of this dog food for small breeds. So, if you have a small breed poodle, click here for the link for the small breed food.
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Formula Canned Dog Food, 13.4-oz, case of 12: So far, this list has only included dry foods, so this is one of the best wet dog foods for dogs that spend their days finding fiber in the backyard. Keep in mind that many dry foods have a wet counterpart if you prefer that. This one is explicitly listed because it is one of the best wet foods for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
I feed my dog high-quality food from Pet Plate. Pet Plate is a premium dog food subscription service that provides freshly cooked and pre-portioned meals completely customized for your dog. I really love the fact that Pet Plate delivers the highest quality meals to my door without me ever having to think about it! Check out Pet Plate here to find more information and see if Pet Plate is right for you and your pet.
Is it OK for Poodles to Eat Grass?
There is no definitive yes or no to this question. It will vary poodle to poodle; just make sure that when you do see your dog eating grass to keep careful watch over them.
It is generally very normal for your poodle to be eating grass; most vets will tell you this. In fact, a survey done by Applied Animal Behavior Science Journal found that 79% of dog owners reported that their dogs have eaten or consistently eat grass. The study only included 47 dog owners, but it surveyed owners of different breeds and is an excellent snapshot of the average dog.
However, although it is healthy, you will, again, still want to keep a close eye on your poodle, because it could be a sign that your poodle needs to see the vet.
There is no reason to overreact, but no reaction could leave your poodle hurting or sick.
What Happens to My Poodle if They Overeat Grass?
This question is another one that doesn’t have a simple answer. Like any dog, poodles can digest grass, but those poodles who have more sensitive digestive systems could be a different story.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, get your poodle to a vet:
- Loss of Appetite
- Acting Lethargic
- Whimpering (Pain)
These symptoms are a cause for concern but seem relatively rare in the cases that your poodle eats a large amount of grass. However, consuming large amounts of grass could cause other problems with your poodle that aren’t related to their digestive system.
For example, if they got into the tall grass and started to eat that, there is a possibility that it got stuck in their paws and could cause irritation. It is also possible that grass could get stuck in other places like their eyes or ears, also causing them irritation.
Ticks also hide in tall grass, so you will also have to be vigilant of that if your poodle ventures into unkempt grassy areas. Check out this article I wrote on ticks and how to protect your poodle from them for more detailed information.
It is worth noting that most of the problems of consuming a large amount of grass have more to do with what is in the grass and the irritation it causes your poodle. More than likely, you will have to take no extra steps after your poodle consumes a substantial amount of grass; just look after them more carefully than usual for the symptoms mentioned above.
What is Pica? And Should I be Concerned?
Pica is a condition that describes dogs that eat things other than food. This condition exists in humans, mostly children ages 1 to 6, but also affects animals like dogs.
This condition in a poodle, or any dog, means your poodle will attempt to eat things like:
Pica is different from your poodle eating grass from time to time. Pica is a compulsive eating disorder, and if your poodle has pica, it will not quickly go away. You also have to look out because pica could be the result of an underlying health condition. For these reasons, pica is not to be taken lightly.
A dog might develop pica for the following reasons:
- Learned behavior
- Stress or anxiety
- Fear of punishment
A vet will diagnose your poodle with pica if the problem is serious enough. From there, they will give you directions on how your poodle specifically will need to be treated.
Some common treatments include:
- Limit non-food objects they can eat
- Bitter/sour spray
- Safe chewing toys
It can be an ongoing, touch-and-go process, but these treatments are certainly more preferable over the alternative of your poodle potentially being very sick.
Also, remember that just because your poodle is eating grass, doesn’t mean that they have pica. It’s more likely that your poodle is eating grass for the reasons we already mentioned.
For much more on this topic, check out this article I wrote recently on pica. In it, you’ll find what symptoms to look for and how to help fix this behavior in your poodle.
What Should I Do if My Poodle is Eating Grass?
Here is a step by step list on what you should do if you notice your dog eating grass:
- Don’t Panic. Panicking is the absolute worst thing to do. As mentioned before, it is normal for any dog to eat grass from time to time. Not panicking means show no concern. You should be somewhat concerned, but there is no need to worry too much.
- Keep an eye on them. This step is the most important and could save a lot of headaches, helping both you and your poodle. Look out for things like vomit, diarrhea, constipation, or if they are looking uncomfortable. If you notice any of these, take them to the vet as soon as possible. These symptoms could mean there is a more severe problem at hand. If you don’t notice these, it doesn’t mean you are entirely out of deep water yet, but it can be a huge relief.
- Try distracting them. If you have made it to this step, you have been keeping a close eye on your poodle for the last few days and haven’t noticed any problems. This is great because it more than likely means that there are no severe digestive problems with your poodle, and you can now resort to the DIY ways of stopping this. Now, try playing with your poodle when outside, especially if you notice them starting to eat grass. Play fetch, give them chew toys, run around with them. Make sure to smother them with plenty of attention and see if this stops the problem.
- Want to avoid the vet? Buy a pack of fiber-full pet food (listed above). You have been playing and paying plenty of attention to your poodle recently, but they continue to eat grass, even when you tell them no. Don’t panic or get discouraged. This could just be that your poodle, like so many other poodles, has a vulnerable digestive system and needs more fiber in their diet. Look at the list above for the best fiber-full dog food to buy.
- Still eating grass? Take them to the vet. If you have exhausted all of the options above, take them to the vet, if you already haven’t. Even if you haven’t noticed any of the symptoms listed in step two, it is still a good idea to take them just in case. A vet will tell you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if there is something wrong with your poodle.
If the vet tells you they’re healthy and there are no adverse effects when they eat grass, consider allowing them to continue to graze grass. At this point, the only other option left is to keep distracting them, as mentioned in step three.
Poodles eat grass for many reasons, boredom not excluded. Poodles, at the end of the day, are dogs. And dogs get into things they are not supposed to from time to time.
Grass is relatively low on the list of dangerous things a dog can do, but the most important thing to do when you realize your poodle doing this is not to panic and observe them cautiously. If you do that, your poodle will be just fine.