shih tzu eating grass

Shih Tzu Eating Grass: 2023 Insights into Causes & Risks

Curious about your shih tzu eating grass? Delve into the reasons behind this green snacking habit.


Brief Overview of Shih Tzu Breed

The Shih Tzu is a small breed dog that originated in China and was bred to be a companion animal. They are known for their long, flowing coats and affectionate personalities. The breed has been popular for centuries and is a favorite among many dog owners today. Despite their small size, Shih Tzus are sturdy dogs that enjoy being active and playing with their owners.

Explanation of the Common Behavior of Eating Grass

One common behavior observed in many Shih Tzus is eating grass. This behavior is not exclusive to this particular breed but can be seen across various breeds of dogs. Dogs have been observed grazing on grass for centuries, and while it may seem strange to us as humans, it’s entirely natural for them. There are several reasons why your Shih Tzu might eat grass. Some do it because they enjoy the taste or texture; others do it because they find it soothing or helpful when dealing with stomach issues such as nausea or bloating. It’s crucial to note that while eating grass may not necessarily harm your pet, there are risks associated with this behavior.

Importance of Understanding the Causes, Risks, and Behavioral Insights

As a responsible pet owner, understanding your pet’s behavior is essential when it comes to ensuring their overall well-being. Knowing why your Shih Tzu eats grass can help you determine if there’s an underlying issue that needs attention or if they’re just indulging in a harmless activity. Moreover, there are risks associated with eating grass that can lead to digestive problems or health concerns related to parasites and bacteria found in the environment where your pet grazes. Being aware of these risks can help you keep an eye on your dog’s health and prevent any potential complications from arising. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the causes, risks, and behavioral insights into why your Shih Tzu might be eating grass. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons behind this behavior and explore how you can keep your pet safe and healthy.

Natural Instinct to Consume Vegetation

Shih Tzu, like many other domesticated dogs, have a natural instinct to consume vegetation. This behavior is believed to have originated from their wild ancestors that were scavengers and carnivores, but also consumed various plant materials for nutrition and medicinal benefits. Wild canids such as wolves and coyotes are known to eat grasses and other plants in the wild. They do this for various reasons such as providing an additional source of nutrition, aiding digestion, or even as a means of self-medication when they feel unwell. In the case of Shih Tzu, they may be driven by this innate behavior to consume grass.

Historical Background on Canine Ancestors’ Diet

Dogs are descendants of wolves, which were primarily carnivorous animals. However, over time their diet evolved to include a variety of plant materials such as berries and grasses. This adaptation was likely due to the scarcity of prey in certain areas or seasonal changes that made prey harder to find. As dogs became domesticated over thousands of years, they continued to eat whatever was available including plant material such as grass. This behavior has persisted even though they now have access to commercial dog food that provides all the necessary nutrients.

Nutritional Benefits of Consuming Grass

While dogs do not necessarily need grass in their diet because they are primarily carnivores, there are some nutritional benefits associated with consuming it. Grass contains fiber which helps promote healthy digestion by aiding intestinal transit time and promoting regular bowel movements. Grass may also contain phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that act as antioxidants and help reduce inflammation in the body. Some studies suggest that these phytonutrients may also help prevent cancer in humans; however, no studies have been conducted on dogs yet.

Behavioral Reasons for Eating Grass

While the natural instinct to consume vegetation may play a role in Shih Tzu eating grass, there are also behavioral reasons for this behavior. These can include boredom or anxiety, and seeking attention or affection from owners.

Boredom or Anxiety

Dogs that are bored or anxious may turn to eating grass as a way to occupy themselves. This is especially true if they do not have access to other stimulating activities such as toys, walks, or playing with other dogs. If a dog is anxious, they may chew on grass as a way of self-soothing. The act of chewing can be calming and helps them cope with their anxiety.

Seeking Attention or Affection from Owners

Dogs are social animals and crave attention and affection from their owners. If a Shih Tzu is not getting enough attention or feels neglected, they may turn to eating grass as a way of getting their owner’s attention. Owners should take note of this behavior and make sure they are providing enough social interaction for their pet. Spending quality time with your Shih Tzu will help alleviate any feelings of neglect that may be causing them to eat grass.

Risks Associated with Shih Tzu Eating Grass

Digestive Problems

One of the most common risks associated with Shih Tzu eating grass is digestive problems. Dogs often eat grass when they feel unwell or have an upset stomach, but ingesting harmful substances such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers can make things worse. These chemicals can cause vomiting and diarrhea or even lead to more severe conditions such as gastrointestinal blockages. Indigestible plant material is another factor that contributes to digestive problems in dogs that eat grass. The long fibrous strands present in some types of grass can become entangled in a dog’s intestines, causing blockages that can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Health Concerns related to Parasites and Bacteria

Exposure to parasites and bacteria is another major risk associated with Shih Tzu eating grass. Grassy areas are a breeding ground for ticks, fleas, and other parasites that can easily attach themselves to your dog’s fur or skin. Once attached, these parasites can quickly spread throughout your home, causing further health problems for both you and your pet. Bacterial infections are also a concern when your Shih Tzu eats grass. Certain types of bacteria such as E.coli or Salmonella are commonly found in contaminated soil or water sources around your yard. Dogs can easily contract these infections by licking or consuming these contaminated substances while eating grass.

Preventative Measures

To prevent digestive problems and health concerns related to parasite and bacterial infections try the following preventative measures: 1) Keep Your Yard Clean: Regularly clean up any fecal matter from your yard to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection. 2) Avoid Pesticides: Use natural alternatives instead of pesticides on your lawn. 3) Know Your Plants: Be aware of what plants grow in your yard and which ones are harmful to dogs. 4) Monitor Your Dog: Keep a close eye on your dog when they are eating grass. Make sure they do not consume large amounts and watch for signs of distress.


While Shih Tzu eating grass is a common behavior, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Digestive problems, exposure to harmful substances such as pesticides and fertilizers, and health concerns related to parasites and bacteria can all lead to serious health problems for your pet. By taking preventative measures such as keeping your yard clean and monitoring your dog’s behavior, you can help reduce the likelihood of these risks occurring.

Behavioral Insights into Shih Tzu Eating Grass

The Role of Genetics in This Behavior

It is widely believed that genetics play a role in determining a dog’s behavior, including the behavior of eating grass. Some experts suggest that dogs who have ancestors who lived in areas with plenty of plant life are more likely to have an instinct to consume vegetation. This could explain why some Shih Tzus have a natural inclination to eat grass, while others do not. Another theory is that certain genetic traits make some dogs more prone to anxiety and stress. In these cases, consuming grass may be a way for the dog to alleviate their discomfort and soothe themselves. Research has shown that certain breeds, including Shih Tzus, are more susceptible to anxiety-related issues than others.


While it may be concerning to see your Shih Tzu eating grass, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. Eating small amounts of grass can actually be beneficial for your dog’s health and well-being. However, it is important to monitor your dog’s behavior and ensure they are not ingesting harmful substances or plants. Understanding the causes and risks associated with this behavior can help you make informed decisions about how best to care for your furry friend. If you have concerns about your Shih Tzu’s behavior or health, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian for guidance. Remember that every dog is unique and may have their own reasons for eating grass. By staying informed and attentive to their needs, you can ensure they lead happy and healthy lives as beloved members of your family.

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