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DrRalston, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2205
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
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why is my dog digging and eating grass roots

Customer Question

why is my dog digging and eating grass roots? Additional info my dog is in good health he is eating well, drinking well, having solid regular bowel movements, he is Not vomiting. but for some reason he is digging and eating the grass roots 
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  DrRalston replied 5 years ago.
Hello, welcome to JustAnswer! I am a Veterinarian and will help you right away!

Nobody can be sure why dogs like to eat grass and grass roots, or sticks or other plant material for that matter.

Some say it's because they know their stomach is upset, or that they need to vomit. I truly don't believe that dogs comprehend on that high of a level. I am not sure a dog knows they have a stomach, or that eating something will make them vomit. Take for example the fact that dogs after vomiting will often then proceed to eat the vomit.

No, dogs are not holistic geniuses.

Sometimes, I think they do crave fiber in their diet, or roughage. For the same reason we eat plants in the form of salads. Carnivores in the wild will catch their prey and then eat that prey of course. But, often carnivores eat ungulates (cows, deer) and their intestines and bellies are full of grass and plant material. In this way, the carnivore also ends up eating the roughage, grass, and plant material. Is it so weird that your little carnivore/omnivore does the same?

NOW digging is an entirely different problem. I don't think your Teddy necessarily has a digging problem yet, but if he does develop one, follow this advice:

Give your dog lots of exercise, including heaps of physical and mental stimulation.
Your dog's energy must be burned off in one way or another so why not channel it into something positive?

Try to channel your dogs energy into something else, instead of digging. Give him tons of exercise so that he is too tired to dig. Also, mental stimulation
toys. MORE of them
even if he has a lot. Have you tried a KONG toy? You can freeze peanut butter inside them, it takes hours to lick it out.
Is he trying to bury bones? Try to give him rawhide bones instead. For some reason they bury those less.

Confine your dog whenever you can't watch him. If he is outdoors most of the time, you may have to kennel him inside in a crate so that he can't break
the rules while you are away

Blow up some balloons and bury them in the area your dog likes to dig. When he strikes a balloon, the noise of it popping startles your
dog. In some cases the negative association this produces is enough to stop your dog from digging in the future. And sort of funny to watch.

Make sure to be consistent with spraying water bottles, or a hose. EVERYTIME. That's why you can't let him do it when you aren't watching. He'll learn to just do it when you aren't home

If there are specific locations he digs, you can try to bury chicken wire under the ground, parallel to the ground a few inches down. When he hits that he will stop.

You can try to bury feces in the holes he has dug and cover them again with the same soil. He probably will like digging in the soft stuff better anyway.
Dogs don't like to find their own feces, ruins the game. Pineapple or a product called FORBID may help make the poo even less appealing to them.

Or, if all else fails, why not building a dig area for the pet? Section off an area with the best soil. Bury toys below the surface, but a few sticking out of the ground so he figures it out.
It's like a TREASURE hunt for them. Most dogs will figue out that it is better to dig in the designated area because they are rewarded by you, they don't get
yelled at anymore, and they find TREASURE!!!!!!

Please feel free to respond if you have more questions.
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