Your pup’s actions tell you a lot about his mood. And although you may not be fluent in the canine tongue–short of what it means when it salivates–you do need to learn how to interpret dog behavior. Have you ever witnessed your dog eating grass or smelling weird things? Or why do dogs dig? Today we will answer fundamental questions about dogs and we will keep answering more questions in the coming weeks.
Why do dogs eat grass?
You have of course seen your dog eating grass. Talking from experience here, my dog Silk has done it countless times in the last three-and-a-half years. Being a Labrador mix there’s not much she hasn’t attempted to eat yet….
Grass eating is often followed by vomiting and sends panic down the dog owners minds. But not every dog who eats grass will throw up. Statistics show that only 27% dogs vomit after grazing on their walks.
So in this section we will talk about different reasons why your dog might be eating grass.
- Lack of fiber: Lack of fiber is a problem in humans as well as dogs. We usually resort to the infamous legumes while dogs resort to grass. This is completely normal and should not be a cause for concern. If your dog eats grass frequently and doesn’t show any other signs of concern like loss of appetite then it’s probably the lack of fiber. You might be feeding her the best quality dog food, but sadly my suggestion would be: it’s time for a change or you can add some carrots and pumpkin to her regular kibble. Always remember to cut in bite size pieces!
- To induce vomiting: Sometimes your dog might eat something she is not supposed to or feel bloated or gassy because of it. From my personal experience I have seen, Silk will eat grass when her stomach hurts. She will beg me to take her for a walk and then graze on whatever leaves she feels like having. By the time we are back home, she leaves me a wonderful surprise. In the form of vomit, of course! Again if this happens once in a while it is not a cause of concern. Sometimes when I can hear her stomach growl, I give her a drop of Ondem syrup which seems to calm it in an hour or so. Again this comes from my personal experience, but it works for Silk, should work for you as well. But if your dog vomits more frequently or keeps repeating the habit for more than 2 days, my take would be its time for a ride to the vet.
Note: At times, worms in your dog’s tummy may also encourage him to eat grass. But if you regularly deworm your dog this shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
- Boredom: Some dogs just do it because they are bored. While it may be heard to hear for any dog parent, it should be taken seriously. If your dog eats grass very frequently (like on every walk) then its time to provide some kind of alternative simulation like keeping a few treats in your pocket or spice the walk a little with some fetch.
- Enjoyment: Some dogs just like it! If you have a yard in your house and a labrador as a pet, it may be likely that your dog has taken a liking to the grass due to frequent access to it. I have a small yard in my house and if let loose, Silk will eat whatever I plant in it. (I cannot grow plants even when I would like to!) This is no reason to panic, you just have to accept every dog is unique and make sure the grass she has access to is free of pesticides to avoid any future problems.
Why do dogs scratch tiled floors?
While scratching on tiled floors might seem odd to you, it is perfectly normal for dogs. Like they say, old habits die the hardest. Evolution has shaped dogs to dig to lay claim to a spot and get cozy in it. While your dog might not have access to dirt or a yard, she still has an instinct to dig. This is in no way a reason to worry. Your dog might just want to lay claim to her favourite spot, get comfortable or simply be having fun doing it.
- Natural instincts: Like we saw already its the instincts which kick in when your dog sees a spot of her liking. Wolves in the wild marked their spot and made it cozy by digging out the dirt. The urge to continue that practice is literally hardwired into the canine DNA. Do not feel bad about it, even with access to the most comfortable bed, your doggo will dig. Just let her.
- Territorial claims: Again, evolution has made dogs to carry the base instincts with them even when they live in flats or big houses. Your dog may scratch a place she likes just out because that’s what her instincts tells her to do. The bottom of the dog’s paws has special glands which secretes a scent which dogs use to mark their territory. The odour lets other canines know that the spot has been marked and they need to keep moving. You might see this a lot if you have more than one dog!
- Entertainment: Even when you would be happier that your dog plays with her toys, she just gets a kick out of it. Dogs that are bored or exercised less often might display this behaviour more than others. It is very common in Labs for example. For a solution to this problem you can reach out to us here.
- Comfort: Tiles are not a wonderful place to lie down. Thats why we humans made the bed. Your dog might dig the tiles just to get a little cozier or she might even dig the bed for exactly the same reason: to find a more snug position to rest!
Some dog breeds like Labs and terriers are more prone to digging than others. If this is a cause of concern for you, one should look at eliminating this behaviour by positive reinforcement and training. Eliminating this behaviour during puppyhood is the easiest. While it’s harmless to scratch ceramic tiles, your wooden flooring or bed sheet can be damaged by it. I recommend taking your dog for a longer walk and maybe climbing up the stairs once a day to tire her out and keep this behaviour to the minimum.