Why Do Jack Russells Eat Grass?

Dogs eat grass. They like to munch on these green vegetables for diverse reasons. However, the Jack Russell terrier tops the chart, and in this article, we will provide answers for educational purposes.

The Jack Russell breed of terriers is named after the first man to breed them – Reverend John Russell. He was a hunting enthusiast, and this amongst several reasons led to the breeding process of this distinct terrier.

jack russell terrier standing in a field

The Jack Russell terriers are strikingly beautiful, passionate, energetic, and loving. A common behavior amongst them however is the interest to eat grass. When a Jack Russell is in pain or discomfort, he/she will walk straight towards the grass, and after some unusual grazing, you will know that he/she has done more than just smell the flowers in the garden. Dog parents have tried to categorize these perceived reasons into several theories, with lots of questions for their Vets. Another question Jack Russell owners often ask vets is “How Many Times a Day Should You Feed a Jack Russell?” or “How to Mix Wet and Dry Dog Food?” and we have the answers to those as well.

There are several reasons why your dog eats grass. This is not something you should worry about, you do not need to visit or have your dog treated by the veterinarian either, except in extreme conditions. 

Let’s look at some of these strange reasons.

baby jack russell terrier laying down in a field of grass

To Get Some Relief From Stomach Upset

Grazing and munching on grass are described by some as being nature’s method of food regurgitation when a dog is nauseous. Eating grass can trigger nausea to an upset stomach which should give some relief. The induced vomiting may be caused by the dog filling its throat and the grass tickling it. Tallgrass specifically serves the function of long needles to get rid of possible blockages.

When your dog has an upset stomach or is struggling with pain due to an injury, eating grass can help induce vomiting. Grass contains a lot of healthy nutrients and is also a natural antidepressant. This grass eating act can help to calm abdominal burning sensation and alleviate the symptoms and pains of upset stomach dogs.

If you experienced this vomiting act and you were left wondering or worried about your dog’s health status, a veterinary technician may have an answer helpful to bring down your nerves/mind.

Jack Russell Terrier scratching his ear

To Get Required Vitamins and Minerals

If your dog lacks vital nutrients in its diet, it may seek out grasses, as a supplement to compensate for deficiencies in its food. This is not something you should worry about, you do not need an emergency visit to the veterinarian either. Certain breeds of terrier dogs, including the Jack Russell, have a higher body metabolism rate than others. 

Some dog owners believe that when dogs eat grass, it is an indication of a lack of vitamin C and minerals. However, vet experts believe these dogs munch grass constantly because their diet lacks vitamins and certain important nutrients. This great wonder is supported by a study published by NetMD with a dog that ate grass every single day for seven years. If your terrier eats grass from time to time you shouldn’t be concerned. He/she may be missing crucial vitamins during the meal and wants them sourced from others. 

If you find this excessive you may visit the vet to see if something is wrong with your dog’s blood or cholesterol. There may be an underlying mineral deficiency so instinctively he/she is trying to rectify the problem.

Jack Russell Terrier paws to the left of the dog bowl

For Behavioural issues

Similar to humans, your dog may have various behavioral issues and some negative responses to them. Your dog may be lonely, bored, or anxious. Jack Russell is an unstoppable troublemaker, active, energetic, excited, and loves a good chase. It may eat grass out of boredom or anxiety. Human behavior similar to this is when people chew their fingernails because they are anxious or eat comfort food in distress.  

Get your dog some toys to play with and keep it entertained, let it play in the house backyard too. Entertainment is important. There are stories of dogs left alone in the garden to play, no mental or physical stimulation and they walk around in boredom to the grass in the backyard. When you notice this, consult a trainer that works on behavior issues, and seek advice on the animal.

Jack Russell Terrier Puppy with a Orange Harness on Running In the Grass

If you are worried about the grass your dog is eating, call a veterinary office or another professional to make sure things are okay and he/she is healthy, and still in good shape.

To Attract the Owner’s Attention

You may have a well-behaved dog who just likes eating grass and digging dirt…or you may have an always-hated troublemaker whose tummy is empty every time despite whatever dog food it eats. Dogs crave human interaction and can try to draw their owner’s attention to themselves by inappropriate actions such as eating grass when they feel neglected. Although you may have an individual opinion on the time and attention given to your dog, you should review and adapt to the practically proven processes. If your dog feels neglected, you may notice that eating grass increases as your contact time decreases.

Jack Russell Terrier with a stick in his mouth in a field of dirt

To Increase Fiber Content in its Diet

There is a possibility your dog lacks fiber in its food. Certain dogs (including Jack Russell) often have more metabolic speed than others. This could mean that your dog has trouble digesting matter from dog food with insufficient fiber and therefore has to go out every time. 

The grass is naturally full of fiber. If your dog is taking grasses constantly, it may be a sign that you need to provide a good fiber boost. However, with an increase in fiber content in your dog’s food you should have a similar increase in moisture and hydration especially if you see him/her going deeper into a water bowl.

Jack Russell Terrier Sitting on a Hill Looking Out to the Left

Dogs Eat Grass to Enjoy the Taste

Jack Russells can just enjoy the taste and texture of chewing grass. A texture that regular dog food may not offer. Always consider that your Jack Russell terrier can just eat grass because they find it tasty. This should help alleviate your concerns. They might find it fulfilling or rewarding or they may simply enjoy the texture.

Evolutionary tales

The last theory in this grass-eating habit of Jack Russell terrier is its evolutionary origin in the life cycle. Dogs are born from wolves – they are natural – scavengers. Research shows that wolves and wild animals often consume grass as a regular dietary feature. It’s simply something they eat – similar to how we eat. Wolves feed on whatever food they can. Your dog may behave in the same manner as the wolf. It can sometimes happen that they go digging for dirt and hunting for missing treasures on your farm.

Jack Russell Terrier Sitting on a Rock In The Woods Looking to the Left

Health Benefits of Eating Grass

When dogs eat grass there are lots of health benefits too. This includes:

Two Jack Russell Terriers on a Dirt Path in the Woods

Helps with Arthritis

Dogs with arthritis constantly have difficulty moving around and may be prone to getting sick. Eating grass helps the terriers get plenty of nutrients needed to relieve pain. The treatment also helps to regenerate the cartilage and joints which support it. 

jack russell terrier running in a field of dirt

Helps with Anemia

Eating grass is good for anemia treatment and helps in the overall well-being of the dog. They’ll have additional iron levels helping to replace the red blood cell they have lost.

Helps with Reflux

The grass is high in fibers and helps dogs digest their food better after they have eaten. Grass can also help dogs escape a heavy intestinal gas leakage or flush them with food without any harmful effects. Dogs have a neurotic center in the brain that causes them to vomit more often than other animals. It serves as a defense system against the dog’s preference to look for food.

Jack Russell Terrier Standing on Green and Brown Moss in the Woods

Helps with Allergies

Grass can ease your dog’s allergic reflex and may help soothe your dog’s throat and nose of sensitivity.

Helps with Weight Loss

Another reason dogs eat grass is to shed excess weight. There has been a constant connection of consistent consumption of grass to weight loss.

jack russell terrier walking on the beach

Precaution and Safety Tips to Take When a Dog Eats Grass

  1. The grass itself is not harmful, but the herbicides and pesticides sprayed on the grass can be toxic to your dog. You don’t need to use pesticides if your dogs are in your yard. You should put up a sign to ensure it is not used in your absence. 

  2. Keep an open mind about poison plants. Dogs that like vegetation can not have a difficult time sampling other plant foods.

  3. If you’re concerned that your dog should eat grass we advise that you discuss it with your veterinarian just for that matter. They’ll take you through the journey of dogs eating grass and will be pleased to review your dog’s safety and so you can continue to enjoy each other without concerns.

Jack Russell Terrier Laying in the Grass

We hope you found an answer to help improve your ability to understand your Jack Russell terrier.