There is nothing greater than the love of a dog. They are smart, they are funny, and they provide their parents with endless hours of entertainment. In the mind of the average pet parent, there is absolutely nothing in the world that could replace their furry companion.

Still, with as much as dogs have to offer to their human counterparts, there are a lot of behaviors they manifest that are completely foreign and difficult to understand. Like for instance, the whole grass licking thing that they do. 

Just why is it that dogs choose to lick the grass? Most pet parents are perplexed by this behavior. Most people conclude that if they provide their furbaby with an ample amount of water, healthy foods to eat and good quality snacks, there is no reason for them to engage in the strange ritual of licking grass.

The fact of the matter is, licking is a part of a dog’s natural behavior, so it is not anything pet parents can do to stop it really. The one thing pet owners can do is make an effort to understand the patterns of behavior their dogs exhibit.

Why does my dog lick the grass?

There are several reasons dogs choose to lick grass. Oftentimes, the primary reason dogs choose to lick grass is simply because they like it. Humans eat salt and vinegar potato chips, Hershey bars and ice cream to satisfy themselves. Dogs feel the need to engage in activities that provide them with feelings of satisfaction and pleasure too, and licking grass just happens to be one of them. Pet parents need to keep this in mind the next time they take a stroll with their pooch.

What is it about the grass that dogs enjoy so much?

In terms of pet parents trying to figure out the exact thing that draws their furry friend to grass, it may be more productive to look at the behavior from a different perspective. Here is something for pet owners to consider, when they want to satisfy a craving, they go into their kitchen and open the refrigerator or a cabinet and pick something out to snack on. Dogs for the most part, rely on their humans to provide them with their treats. 

There are some talented pooches out there who have mastered the art of opening and then ravaging the contents of the refrigerators in their homes, but that is far from being the norm. Because they are resourceful, and have the ability to reason, the average dog who is looking to satisfy a craving is going to look for something that’s accessible. Grass is the perfect option, because it is not just accessible, it is also plentiful.

Why does my dog lick water off the grass?

Dogs may choose to lick wet grass just because they enjoy the taste of it, or they may lick wet grass because they just want to wet their whistle. If a dog is licking wet grass everything they get a chance, that may be something that a pet parent needs to pay attention to, because there could be an underlying health issue at play. 

Is grass licking a sign of diabetes in dogs?

Some dogs who have undiagnosed diabetes lick wet grass because they need to satisfy the thirst that is associated with the disease. Diabetes presents in approximately 1 out of 300 dogs, which makes it one of the most common medical conditions among canines. The pathology of diabetes in dogs mirrors the pathology of the disease in humans. Diabetes is caused by the presence of high levels of glucose in the blood. This occurs when the pancreas either does not produce insulin, or cells become insulin resistant. In either instance, cells need insulin to help insulin penetrate the walls of cells. The cells of the body rely heavily on the balanced relationship between cells and insulin because glucose is their number one energy source.

What are the symptoms of diabetes in dogs?

There are a number of symptoms of diabetes in dogs pet owners need to look for. If a dog is drinking more than usual, and urinating excessively they need to be taken to the vet and evaluated for the disease. Generally at the onset of diabetes, dogs will exhibit an increase in their appetites.This is due to the fact that the cells in the body are in need of more glucose to provide them and the dog the energy they need. Other signs of the onset of diabetes in dogs include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss due to the burnoff of body tissue
  • Vomiting

Is my dog at risk of developing diabetes?

There is always a possibility that any dog can manifest diabetes. There are however, a number of things that contribute to the onset of the disease. Pet parents need to make sure they keep their dogs at a healthy weight for reasons other than keeping their physiques intact. Obesity is a huge risk factor in dogs, just as it is in humans. Dogs who have a buildup of toxins in their systems are also prone to developing diabetes. This is why it is so important for pet owners to choose good quality foods for their pets, and also to make sure their exposure to harmful environmental factors are kept to a minimum. 

Most people don’t understand the importance of making sure that their pets are up to date on all of their vaccinations. The non-vaccination of dogs places them at higher risk of developing diabetes. Other risk factors associated with diabetes in dogs include:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Their breed
  • Genetic makeup
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Autoimmune disorders

What is my dog learning about other dogs when he licks the grass?

When a dog licks the grass, he may detect the urine of another dog. Although the thought of licking urine might be disgusting to people, it is more or less an attempt to get to know someone a little better in the mind of a dog. The fact is, there are a number of things a dog can determine about another dog by licking their urine. For example, a male dog can detect whether a female dog is in heat simply by lapping her urine. 

Dogs can also determine certain things about another dog’s health by licking grass they have urinated on. The urine left on grass can help a dog determine if another don is sick, or if they have some sort of infection. Dogs can also determine the gender of another dog just from the simple act of licking the grass.

Should I stop my dog from licking or eating grass?

For many pet parents, trying to prevent their furbaby from licking and eating grass is a constant battle. They want their pet to find something better to do when they go outside, and their dog just wants to be a dog. For those folks who are concerned that the acts of their dog licking and of eating grass is somehow harmful, they should take a step back and realize that these are natural behaviors of their dogs. There are a number of reasons why they engage in these behaviors. So if Rover chooses to lick and chew grass, let him.

Is my dog licking grass to soothe nausea?

Dogs are no different from humans in the sense that they experience bouts of nausea too. Dogs will lick and eat grass when they are nauseated. Pet parents need to pay close attention to their dogs if they notice that their dog is ingesting grass, and he is gagging, or it appears that he can not expel vomit. This may be an indicator that the dog has a medical condition called bloat.

How serious of a medical condition is bloat?

Any pet owner who believes that their dog is experiencing bloat needs to get them in to see a vet immediately. Bloat poses an imminent threat to dogs. The clinical term for bloat is gastric dilatation-volvulus complex. The condition is extremely dangerous to dogs, and it requires swift medical and surgical intervention if a dog is to have any chance of surviving a bout of it.

What happens when a dog has bloat?

When a dog has bloat, their abdomen is filled with air which causes a build up of pressure. The pressure results in the stoppage of the blood flow from the abdomen and the hind legs from being able to circulate back to the heart. This then causes blood to pool in the posterior region of a dog’s body, which ultimately results in the dog going into shock. In addition, the stomach flips over and the pancreas and spleen are also shifted and displaced. This cuts off the flow of blood to the pancreas which emits toxic hormones which target the cardiac muscle and ultimately stops it.

What are the signs of bloat?

Pet parents need to pay very close attention to their dogs if there appears to be any type of inflammation in their abdomen. One of the primary symptoms of bloat is an enlarged abdomen. If a dog appears to be salivating more than what a person might consider as a normal drool, that could also be an indicator that a dog has bloat. Other signs that a dog has bloat include:

  • Pain in the abdominal region
  • Restlessness
  • Retching

It is important to note that pet parents should not attempt to try to take care of bloat at home. Time is really not on the side of a dog in this condition. At best, when a dog has bloat there is only about a one to two-hour window before they go into shock and die without medical intervention. The cause of bloat is relatively unknown.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.