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It’s a common, albeit curious sight: a pooch devouring grass. Anyone who has ever owned a dog will know that now and then, man’s best friend will sink its teeth in a clump of grass, chewing and swallowing what we could only deem a very unsavory meal. But why would dogs voluntarily eat grass, when they have much tastier and more interesting food at their disposal? The short answer is: we simply don’t know yet.

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1. Is it a Sign of Illness?

There’s no reason to think that a dog is unwell when it eats grass. In the wild, eating grass has certain therapeutic benefits, though. When wild canids, the ancestors of dogs, eat grass, they purge their intestines of parasites. Whether dogs or canids do it on purpose, to rid themselves of intestinal parasites and alleviate some of the symptoms of an infestation, is another matter altogether. But clearly grass does not cause, and it’s not a sign of illness. Eating it may be a way to prevent parasitic infestations in the natural world.

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