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My Dog’s Stomach is Gurgling & They’re Eating Grass, Are They Sick?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

two brown dachshunds grazing on the yard

Grumble, rumble, gurgle. What is that noise? You are probably here because you noticed some strange sounds coming from your dog’s belly—and to add to it, now they’re eating grass. Is this normal, or should you be concerned? Although it’s hard to tell your pup’s exact reasons, we are going to dive into a few potential reasons why.

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Why Is My Dog’s Tummy Gurgling?

First, rest assured that although those sounds can be alarming, stomach noises from your dog are a normal part of their digestion and are referred to as borborygmi 1. Just like our own stomachs make noise for multiple (natural) reasons, so do dogs, and it is not necessarily a reason to panic.

Borborygmi is the result of water and food moving through your dog’s digestive tract. This process, called peristalsis, can happen almost instantly. So, if Fido has just finished his entire bowl of kibble, or you just caught him munching on some grass, know that it is not unusual to start hearing borborygmi occurring right after. This could mean that your dog’s gastrointestinal tract is working as it should.

Although stomach noises are natural, if there is a higher frequency or you are noticing it more often, it could indicate that your dog may be experiencing an upset stomach, food sensitivity, or other digestive issues 2.

If your dog’s stomach gurgles while eating grass or afterwards, read on as we go over four possible reasons why your dog is eating grass.

1. Soothing an Upset Stomach

a sick beagle dog lying on the floor
Image Credit: Elena Loza, Shutterstock

When our own stomachs feel funny, the medicine cabinet for some antacids to help might be your go-to. For dogs, eating grass may have a similar effect. Often, dogs may even vomit after eating grass because the grass is just temporary relief. Vomiting may be a reasonable cause for concern if it continues or you notice other signs with it, including diarrhea, loss of appetite, or lethargy.

If you are concerned, it is always best to consult your veterinarian to rule out any serious medical conditions or illnesses.


2. Grazing for Nutrients

Dog sniffing grass
Image Credit: Sonia Ugarte, Pixabay

Another potential reason your furry friend may be grazing is that there are specific nutrients found in grass that may be missing in their regular diet. It can be due to nutritional deficiencies or simply your dog’s way of adding some roughage to help make digestion run smoothly until the end of the process.

Even though dogs are mainly carnivores, roughage is necessary for a dog and grass is a fantastic source of fiber for them to nibble on occasionally. If you suspect your dog may have some nutritional deficiencies, your veterinarian can potentially recommend supplements to help. However, this may not stop your dog’s interest in grazing on some grass.


3. Boredom or Anxiety

a blue cane corso dog lying on grass
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Sometimes there is no benefit to eating grass for a dog aside from filling their time and having a focus for their energy. Whether it is due to anxiety or boredom , it is similar to humans snacking or eating without hunger. Socializing your dog to build confidence and providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation can help with both boredom and anxiety, which can lead to other behavioral issues.


4. Yummy for Their Tummy

smiling dog ate grass

The reason why your dog eats grass can be as simple as because they enjoy it. Some dogs may just enjoy the taste or the texture of crunchy, fresh grass. In fact, some dogs even have a preference for eating grass when it freshly emerges in the spring.

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Should I Let My Dog Eat Grass?

Although it may be common for dogs to have a taste of some grass from time to time, it isn’t the best snack for our furry companions. Grass itself may not be harmful and can even be beneficial in small amounts, but grass treated with pesticides and herbicides can be toxic to dogs. Ingesting parasites like hookworms or roundworms is another possibility if your pup eats some grass contaminated by other dogs’ fecal residue (aka poop!).

Some tips to help your dog avoid these chemicals or contaminated grass include:
  • Refraining from using such chemicals on your own property
  • Paying close attention to your dog in areas that may be affected
  • Providing better options (like treats or affection) to distract your pup from potentially dangerous grass areas when going for a walk or potty break.

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Conclusion

Your dog’s stomach gurgling can be due to a normal part of their digestion called borborygmi. Grass eating, even with a bout of vomit after, is not necessarily a reason to panic.

Four potential reasons that your dog may be eating grass include soothing an upset stomach, adding some roughage and nutrients to their diet, coping with boredom and anxiety, or simply enjoying a little treat. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, speak to your veterinarian who can accurately assess your dog’s condition and needs.


Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

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