You take your Vizsla to the local dog park for a nice stretch of their legs, off comes their leash and the first thing they do is start munching away at the grass.
There’s no way they’re hungry, you just fed them an hour ago. So, what’s going on?
If your vizsla is eating grass you’ll want to know why it’s happening, whether it’s normal, and if there’s anything you should do. Let’s get into it.
Is It Normal For Your Vizsla To Eat Grass?
Grass eating can cause owners concern. However, it is important to understand that grass eating is, for the most part, extremely normal.
It is so common that in some surveys asking owners about their pet’s grass-eating, 100% report their dogs have eaten grass at some point.
For some, it is a weekly occurrence. For others, it may only occur when under the weather. It tends to be more common in youngsters but can occur at any age.
While grass eating is ‘normal,’ we should pay attention if our pooch suddenly starts consuming more grass than before. Similarly, if it is accompanied by other signs such as vomiting or a reduced appetite, we should take note.
Will Eating Grass Cause Problems For Your Vizsla?
A quick nibble of grass every now and then won’t be causing any harm whatsoever. It can be natural to worry about this behavior but there is generally no cause for concern.
However, there are a few consequences we do need to be aware of:
Ingestion of grass can sometimes lead to transmission of parasites such as worms and lungworms, which is why it is important to regularly give your furry friend preventative medication to protect against these parasites.
Keep in mind that not all parasite preventatives are equally effective and some only protect against a limited range of parasites. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to choose the right preventative for your pet.
Ask your vet for a broad-acting wormer. Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, most adults should be de-wormed every 3 months or so. This may need to be done more often if your dog is raw fed or hunt.
Grass eating can cause a dog to vomit (indeed this is why some choose to eat grass!). Importantly, not all dogs vomit after eating grass.
3. Lawn feed, fertilizer, rat bait, slug bait, and pesticides
Be vigilant of where your Vizsla is eating their grass. The safest place is usually your backyard, where you can be certain there are no chemicals added to the grass. Local parks will usually put warning notices up within the park and on their website if they have recently put anything down.
Keep an eye out and it’s best to not let grass-eating dogs off lead during these times. If you think they have ingested a toxin, bring them to the nearest vet ASAP as they may need to induce vomiting and provide further care.
4. Toxic plants
Some plants and their bulbs are highly toxic to dogs, including daffodils, foxglove, and bluebells. Monitor the area your doggo is chomping and direct them away from flowers and plants when possible.
5. Grass blades lodging
Sometimes, the grass that a dog eats can get stuck in awkward places, such as in their throat. This can cause discomfort and may even lodge and create an infection (abscess). If the dog cannot dislodge the grass blade, they may need to be sedated to have it removed by a vet.
Interesting Read: Are Vizslas better off in pairs?
Likely Reasons Why Your Vizsla Is Eating Grass
Frustratingly, we don’t always know why Vizslas eat grass, and sometimes there is no obvious answer. However, there have been several theories put forward including:
Because they like the taste
Long lush grass can taste quite sweet, especially in the Spring and Summer months. For some of our four-legged friends, they see it as a yummy treat.
To eliminate worms
Some experts believe Vizslas eat grass in an attempt to vomit up any parasites in their stomach. As grass-eating does not always lead to vomiting, this theory is dubious.
As a boredom buster
Lots of dogs enjoy eating grass and it can become a habit. This is especially true for those left out on their lawn for prolonged periods with little else to do.
To alleviate nausea
Those who are feeling nauseous or who have abdominal discomfort may chew grass in the hope it will cause them to vomit.
To cope with bile
Dogs’ bodies produce bile as a normal part of the digestive process. However, when there is no food present to digest, this may cause some abdominal discomfort. Some will eat grass in an attempt to alleviate this discomfort and/or to vomit up the bile.
To counteract a diet that is lacking
In some cases, a nutritionally imbalanced diet can lead to grass-eating. This is particularly the case if a diet is lacking in fiber.
This is the technical term for consuming non -edible things. It can be linked to nutrient deficiencies and underlying medical issues.
Recommended Read: Can Vizslas live in apartments? What about space…
How Can I Stop My Vizsla From Eating Grass?
First of all, you might not actually need to intervene with this behavior. The odd chomp on a bit of grass isn’t always something we have to prevent. And as long as it’s not excessive, you likely don’t need to worry. But, of course, if the grass-eating out of control, then it is important to curb it.
Try not to provide grass-eating opportunities by walking in e.g. woods or on beaches rather than in parks. When approaching a grass verge, pop your Vizsla on a lead until you pass. Reward your dog for ignoring a grass patch they would have normally munched on by offering a small treat as you walk on by.
Try not to leave your dog out on your lawn for a prolonged period. When they are outside, offer them an outlet for their energy, such as a food puzzle or durable chew.
Ensure your Vizsla is up to date with their parasite prevention. They should also be on a high-quality balanced diet. If you need to change their chow, do so gradually over 7 days. You may also wish to consider adding a daily probiotic supplement that can support the gut.
When To See a Vet
Though grass eating isn’t usually caused by a medical issue, there are times when it can indicate there is something more going on.
If your Vizsla has developed other signs such as weight loss, chronic vomiting, diarrhea, or retching, a vet trip is called for.
If your Vizsla was never interested in grass before and has suddenly started eating it like there’s no tomorrow, this should be looked into.
The vet will examine your doggo and may run some basic tests such as a full blood count, biochemistry panel, and stool analysis.
The take-home message
Grass eating, on the whole, is pretty normal behavior. Vizslas and other breeds of dogs will eat grass for a multitude of reasons. If the behavior is concerning you for whatever reason, have a chat with your vet about it today.
It is likely that your vet will be able to reassure you that there is absolutely nothing wrong. They will examine your Vizsla and may also run some basic tests, to rule out any underlying issues.
Check out other Vizsla Articles on The Puppy Mag.