Can Dogs Eat This? Grass, Poop, Bugs, and More
Your dog has plenty of food and treats to fill them up each day. And yet they insist on eating weird things like grass, bugs, and even poop. Why do our dogs eat strange and yucky things—and when is it potentially harmful?
Can Dogs Eat Grass?
Do you often catch your dog munching on blades of grass in your yard or at the park? Eating grass is not that uncommon. There are several reasons your dog might have the urge to chew on the lawn.
- Anxiety or boredom: Dogs who are feeling anxious may eat grass as a way to soothe themselves. Or they could just be bored and killing time by noshing away.
- Nutritional deficiency: Some people think dogs crave grass to make up for something missing in their diet. This one is a little iffy since dogs with totally healthy diets also eat grass.
- Upset tummy: If you notice your dog gulping grass quickly without much chewing, an upset stomach could be blamed. It’s thought that the longer, unchewed blades tickle their throat on the way down, causing them to throw up.
If your dog eats grass, throws up, and then seems fine, a veterinary visit may not be necessary. But you should contact your veterinarian if your dog vomits continuously or has other symptoms, like diarrhea or fever.
Is Grass Safe for Dogs to Eat?
While the grass itself is typically OK for your dog to eat, it may be coated in pesticides or fertilizers that could harm your dog. If you have a grass-eating pooch on your hands, choose your lawn products carefully. Look for ones that are safe for your four-legged friend.
Can Dogs Eat Bugs?
Your dog might snap up a grasshopper, cockroach, or other bugs as they hop, wriggle, or scurry by them. Those movements may kick your dog’s natural predatory instincts into high gear, making it tough not to gobble them up. Gross, right? But is it harmful? That depends.
In most cases, eating a bug or two won’t hurt your dog. Certain bugs like crickets may even add a little protein to their diet. However, there are bugs that can be toxic to dogs, such as:
- Asian beetles: These critters contain a substance that can burn your dog’s mouth.
- Fireflies: The substance that makes these bugs glow can be harmful to your dog.
- Monarch caterpillars: This type of caterpillar likes to feast on milkwood, which is poisonous to dogs.
- Venomous spiders: It can be dangerous if your dog eats a poisonous spider.
There are other potential problems with eating bugs besides toxicity. If your dog eats a lot of them at once, they can form a hard mass that gets stuck as it passes through your dog’s digestive tract. This mass may need to be removed through surgery.
Insects with pointy legs or hard shells, such as beetles, can get embedded in the soft tissue of your dog’s mouth. Bugs like cockroaches can pass along parasites that can cause stomach worms in your pooch.
What About Crayons?
If you have a mini artist at home or enjoy adult coloring books, you might be wondering if dogs can eat crayons. Crayons are non-toxic, so they won’t poison your dog. The government actually mandates this to help keep children safe. Like our dogs, kids tend to put things in their mouths that they shouldn’t.
The bigger worry with crayons is that all of that waxy stuff can get stuck in their throat and cause them to choke. A big ball of wax can also get stuck as it attempts to pass through your dog’s system.
If your dog eats crayons, call your veterinarian for advice. You may just need to keep a close eye on them for a few days and watch out for symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, loss of appetite, or not pooping as usual.
When you buy crayons, toss out the cardboard box they came in and put them in a more secure container. This will make it harder for your dog to get at them.
Eating Poop (Ew!)
Can dogs eat poop? Much to our dismay, they definitely can, but they probably shouldn’t. Poop can contain harmful stuff, like parasites, bacteria, or toxins. So why do dogs eat poop?
- Housekeeping: Nursing female dogs may eat the poop of their puppies to help clean up around their den.
- Attention-seeking: Your dog may be saying, “Hey, look at me!” when they eat poop. They want to grab your attention even if it’s not the good kind.
- Playing games: Some dogs make poop eating into a game. They pick it up, you tell them to drop it, they drop it, watch for your reaction, and then they pick it up again. If you notice your dog is playing poop games, try to entice them into a healthier game, like catch with a ball.
- Feeling sick: Some dogs eat poop when they’re not well. If your dog has never eaten poop before or has other symptoms, like vomiting or diarrhea, talk to your veterinarian. Your dog might have an intestinal parasite or stomach ailment.
- Struggling with anxiety: Poop eating can indicate that your dog is anxious or otherwise upset. You may notice other signs of anxiety, such as loss of appetite or sleeping more than usual.
- Getting rid of the evidence: If your dog is afraid that they’ll be punished for pooping where they shouldn’t, they might try to make it disappear by eating it.
A dog who has gotten into the habit of eating poop might learn to like the taste. There are chews you can buy that change the taste of their poop.
Socks, Rocks, and Shoes
Dogs have been known to eat all kinds of objects, such as a sock out of the hamper, rocks at the beach, or pieces of your favorite pair of shoes. This can be harmful to your dog and upsetting for you, especially if they eat a treasured item.
If you have a puppy, they may be trying to soothe sore gums as new teeth come in. Puppies also like to explore the world by putting things in their mouths. Fortunately, most puppies grow out of this stage. Until they do, it’s best to keep things you don’t want them to destroy out of puppy’s reach.
If you have an adult dog who eats objects, they may have a condition called pica. Pica causes dogs to crave non-food items, like cloth, plastic, paper, or even rocks. Pica can be a behavioral problem brought on by stress, boredom, or frustration. It can also be a medical issue related to certain diseases, a nutritional imbalance, or a side-effect of medication.
Pica can be dangerous for your dog since it could lead to choking, blockages, or poisoning, depending on what they eat. Reach out to your veterinarian if you suspect your dog has pica.
Can Dogs Eat Antacids?
If your dog has a tummy ache from eating something bad, it can be tempting to give them an antacid like Tums. But it’s never a good idea to give your dog any kind of medicine without talking to your veterinarian first. You could do more harm than good. You’ll also need to know the right dosage for your dog.
How Pet Insurance Can Help
Pet insurance can help you cover the costs of veterinary care if your dog eats something they shouldn’t. It can reimburse you for X-rays, medications, hospitalization, and even surgery. Want to know more? Compare managing veterinary costs with pet insurance versus just savings.