Why Do Golden Retrievers Eat Grass?

Have you ever wondered why your golden retriever likes to munch on grass? It’s a common behavior that can leave many pet owners scratching their heads. While it may seem odd, there are actually several reasons why dogs engage in this behavior. In this post, we’ll explore the various reasons why golden retrievers eat grass and what you should know as a responsible pet owner. So let’s dive in!

Nutritional Needs

Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat both meat and plants. Although dogs primarily need protein from animal sources, plant-based foods can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that contribute to a balanced diet. Eating grass can be a way for your golden retriever to supplement their nutritional needs.

Read more: Why Are Golden Retrievers So Needy?

The Role of Fiber

Fiber is an important component of a dog’s diet as it helps with digestion and promotes regular bowel movements. Grass contains fiber that can help prevent constipation or other digestive issues in dogs. However, excessive consumption of grass may lead to stomach upset or diarrhea in some dogs.

Comparison to Wild Ancestors’ Diet

Golden Retrievers have evolved from wolves who ate prey animals such as deer and rabbits along with the contents of their stomachs (which often included vegetation). Wild ancestors had access to more variety in their diets than our domesticated pets do today. While commercial dog food provides complete nutrition for our pets, adding some fresh vegetables like carrots or green beans into their meals could provide additional nutrients not found in commercial pet food.


In summary, while eating grass may seem strange behavior for your golden retriever – it’s perfectly natural! It’s just one way they try to supplement missing components from their diet or alleviate any discomfort caused by indigestion. While there are benefits associated with consuming small amounts of grass regularly (such as providing extra fiber), you should always monitor how much your dog eats since overconsumption can cause health issues such as intestinal blockages and vomiting.

Read more: Why Do Golden Retrievers Dig?

Upset Stomachs

Dogs may eat grass to alleviate stomach discomfort or indigestion. When dogs have an upset stomach, they may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Eating grass can help soothe the digestive system by inducing vomiting or providing a source of fiber that helps move things along in the gastrointestinal tract.

Signs of an Upset Stomach

It’s important to monitor your golden retriever for signs of an upset stomach. Some common symptoms include:

  • Frequent vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it’s essential to keep them hydrated and contact your veterinarian if their symptoms persist.

Potential Risks

While eating grass can be helpful for some dogs with minor digestive issues, there are potential risks involved. If your dog eats large amounts of grass quickly or consumes contaminated plants (e.g., those treated with pesticides), this behavior could lead to health problems such as intestinal blockages or poisoning.


In conclusion, while eating grass might seem like a strange behavior for our furry friends – it is perfectly normal! However, if you notice this behavior becoming excessive or accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as repeated vomiting and diarrhea – then it’s time to pay attention and seek veterinary care immediately. You should always supervise your dog when outside and discourage excessive consumption through training techniques where possible because overconsumption has its own set of risks associated with it too!

Behavioral Reasons

Dogs may eat grass for behavioral reasons, such as natural instincts or boredom/anxiety relief. While some dogs do it purely out of curiosity, others may have a strong urge to consume certain plants.

Comparison to Other Animals

Grass-eating is not unique to dogs; many other animals, including wild canids and domesticated herbivores like cows and horses, engage in this behavior. In the case of carnivorous wild ancestors of our pets today, they would occasionally nibble on vegetation after consuming their prey animal’s stomach contents.

Boredom or Anxiety

Golden Retrievers are social creatures that thrive on attention from their owners. If your dog is bored or anxious when you’re away from them for long periods (or even sometimes when you’re around), they might eat grass as a means of self-distraction. Providing plenty of mental stimulation through exercise and playtime can help reduce anxiety levels in dogs.


In conclusion – while eating grass could be because your golden retriever wants more fiber/nutrition or has an upset stomach- sometimes there’s no nutritional reason behind it! It’s just one way our furry friends try to alleviate boredom or relieve stress by doing something instinctively familiar like gnawing on greens outside in the sunshine. As always with any unusual behavior if you notice excessive consumption – keep a watchful eye on them and consider reaching out to your veterinarian if necessary!

Medical Issues

Eating grass can also be a symptom of underlying medical issues in dogs. If your golden retriever suddenly develops an increased appetite for grass, it may indicate an illness or discomfort.

Common Medical Issues Associated with Grass-Eating

Some common medical issues that could cause a dog to eat more grass than usual include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Anemia
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Intestinal parasites

If you notice any other symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea accompanying the increased consumption of grass, it’s essential to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Other Symptoms to Look For

It’s important to monitor your dog for other signs that may indicate an underlying medical issue. Some examples include:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Changes in behavior (such as aggression)
  • Frequent urination or excessive thirst

If you notice these symptoms along with eating more grass than usual, make sure to consult with your vet as soon as possible.


In short – while eating grass is usually harmless and quite normal behavior for golden retrievers and many pets alike; sometimes there might be more serious reasons behind this strange habit! Keep a watchful eye on how much they consume outside and always consider reaching out to the vet if anything seems off balance – especially when accompanied by other concerning symptoms like lethargy/vomiting/diarrhea/etc.

Training and Prevention

Training your golden retriever to avoid eating grass can be a challenge, but it is possible with patience and consistency. Here are some tips for preventing excessive grass-eating behavior in dogs:

Techniques for Training Your Dog

  • Use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or praise when your dog refrains from eating grass.
  • Keep your dog on a leash during walks and redirect their attention if they try to eat grass.
  • Provide plenty of mental stimulation through toys, playtime, and training exercises.

Alternatives to Grass

Giving your golden retriever alternative sources of fiber and nutrients may also help reduce the amount of grass they consume. Some alternatives include:

  • High-quality commercial dog food
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (such as carrots or green beans)
  • Raw bones

Providing appropriate chew toys can also help satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew.


In conclusion – while it might take time & effort; training our furry friends not to engage in excessive amounts of this strange habit is definitely worth it! By providing them with healthy alternatives like fresh produce/bones/chewtoys/etc., we can curb their curiosity around random greens outside – keeping them healthy both physically AND mentally!


In conclusion, understanding why golden retrievers eat grass is essential for dog owners. While this behavior can be completely normal and harmless, it can also indicate underlying nutritional or medical issues that require veterinary attention.

By providing a well-balanced diet with appropriate amounts of fiber and nutrients, keeping your dog active and engaged through playtime and training exercises, monitoring their behavior for signs of anxiety or boredom, and seeking veterinary care when necessary – you can help prevent excessive grass-eating in your furry friend.

Remember to always observe your dog’s behavior closely; if you notice any concerning symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or changes in appetite along with their increased consumption of greens outside (or anywhere else), don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian immediately!

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roger stanley site owner and primary author
Meet The Author Roger Stanley

Co-owner of goldenretrievergoods.com. 15 years of experience living life with Golden Retrievers and 15 years of experience spending way too much money on them – I believe life’s not worth living without a Golden involved!

We want to remind our readers that the articles or content found on goldenretrievergoods.com do not constitute nor replace professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided on our website is purely educational and informational, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed veterinarian.