Maltese dogs eat grass due to a variety of reasons and they are usually quite easy to remedy. It is important that you identify the reason you Maltese puppy is eating grass as grass is not the healthiest option for your dog and can have negative consequences if it happens frequently over the longer term. This article will identify the main reasons a Maltese dog will eat grass, why this may be a problem if it happens frequently, when it can be a good idea for your Maltese puppy to eat grass and finally how to prevent and stop your Maltese puppy from eating grass.
The Main Reasons Maltese Dogs Eat Grass?
There can be a variety of reasons that a Maltese puppy will eat grass and identifying the cause makes it much easier to solve the issue. The reasons include:
- Hunger: If they are not getting enough food during their feeding sessions then they may be eating the grass to help with hunger pains. If you feel this is the reason for your Maltese eating grass then increasing the food you give to your Maltese or providing an extra snacks during the day may help fix this problem. There are also some health issues which can lead to an increased appetite and hunger pains. These health issues include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, worms, cancers and inflammatory bowel disease. If you feel you Maltese is eating grass due to a health issue then you should consult your vet to get a full checkup on your Maltese puppy. These disease can be present in any stage of the Maltese dogs life but are more likely as they get older.
- Nutritional Issues: Some dog food is full of inexpensive ingredients which are used to add bulk to the food for little cost but they also add very little nutrients which your dog requires. This cost saving method of bulking up dog food with inexpensive fillers can cause your Maltese puppy to still feel hungry even after they have had a significant amount to eat. This is because your Maltese dogs body is craving the nutrients it needs to be healthy. As your dog is looking for more nutrients and more food because they are still hungry they will eat grass as its the most easily accessible and readily available thing for consumption.
- Curiosity: Your Maltese puppy may have seen other animals such as cats or other dogs eat the grass and they have begun eating it out of curiosity. They are mimicking what they have seen and are just trying it out to see why other animals are chewing on the grass. Whether of not the continue to eat the grass regularly may depend on the habit, their hunger and any enjoyment they get out of the activity.
- Habit: Your Maltese puppy may be eating the grass just because they have formed a habit earlier in life and they do it just because it is something to do. They could enjoy the chewing sensation of the grass, they might like the taste or they may just do it out of boredom but if they keep repeating the pattern they will eventually just do it because its something they do. If they do form a habit of eating grass then anytime they go outside and see the grass it may act as a trigger to go eat more grass. If your Maltese is eating grass out of habit then you will need to break the cycle and associate eating grass as bad behavior.
- Attention Seeking: Maltese puppies will do things which elicit responses from their owners. If your Maltese puppy has noticed that when they eat grass your rush over to them and give them attention they may think that it is a fun game to eat the grass in order to get your attention. This attention seeking action may be easier to break if it has not become a habit but if it is a habit then it can be a very hard habit to break.
- Upset stomach: If your Maltese has an upset stomach they may turn to grass as the remedy. Grass is known to induce vomiting in dogs and they will eat it to get whatever is upsetting their stomach out of them. This may be OK if it happens infrequently but if you notice your dog is eating grass in order to throw up then it is best to get a checkup at your vet to ensure there is nothing wrong with their digestive system.
- Boredom: Some Maltese puppies just eat grass because they are bored. They are looking for something to do while you are busy with other activities and eating grass is just an activity to fill in the time. If they are just doing it out of boredom then it can be easily fixed by providing them with some toys that are interactive.
Is it Harmful for your Maltese Puppy to Eat Grass?
The answer to this question all rests on how often they are eating the grass. Grass is high in fiber and will help to push things through their digestive system in small quantities. In larger quantities it can induce vomiting. If your Maltese is eating grass frequently(once a day or more) then you need to see if you can stop it from occurring by finding the reasons behind why they are eating grass. You will need a checkup of your Maltese puppy if they are doing it this frequently. If they are doing it every couple of days you will need to assess why they are doing it and see if it can be fixed. If it is happening less frequently (once a month) then you can probably assume it is due to them having an upset stomach and they are trying to induce vomiting. Infrequent grass eating is not a problem, frequent grass eating can lead to more serious issues.
The Problems Associated with a Maltese Dog Eating Grass
Grass may not seem that bad to eat for your Maltese but there can be a few issues which should be pointed out that can be worrying:
- Vomiting: Maltese Dogs will eat grass to induce vomiting. Recent studies have shown that about 25% of dog swill throw up when they eat grass and they may be eating it because they have an upset stomach. There is some debate on whether this is true or not though and some people believe that dogs do not know that grass inducing vomiting. There is no doubt though that the texture and fiber in grass can cause the gag reflex which will cause a dog to throw up what is in their stomach, its just that grass in the stomach may not produce vomiting. Constant vomiting is not good for your Maltese. If they do this once in a while it won’t be an issue, but is it is too frequent it can be the first sign of a digestive problem.
- Digestive problems: Maltese do not have the digestive system to process large amounts of grass. Small amounts will likely move through the digestive system without too much issue but if they eat a large amount it can cause indigestion, discomfort, constipation and even blockages. This is because grass is made from cellulose fiber and the Maltese digestive system is unable to break this down enough so that it passes smoothly through the system.
- Grass can contain pesticides and other harmful chemicals: Weed killers, pesticides and fertilizers can all be present on the grass which your Maltese is eating. Obviously these sorts of things are toxic and contain chemicals which should not be ingested. The common response to this is that you may not use these in your yard, but unfortunately rain water and runoff water can allow traces of these chemicals to travel across yards and if your neighbors use it then your dog may be at risk. The other risk is that if your Maltese gets into a habit of eating grass and it eats it in a public place you have no idea of what chemicals have been used or sprayed directly onto the grass. Its best to try and get your Maltese to avoid eating grass whenever possible.
- Flowers and weeds can be poisonous or toxic: While grass itself may not be toxic there are other things on the ground and near the grass which may be poisonous or toxic to the Maltese dog. These can include poisonous flowers and weeds, small inspects such as spiders, scorpions, bees and wasps, toxic fungi such as toadstools and mushrooms and even poisonous frogs and toads. Depending on what country you live in there may be even more things which are not the healthiest to ingest or put in a Maltese’s mouth. In the extreme cases where a dog is allergic to the insect sting or toxins in the flowers could involve breathing issues and seizures. So while grass itself may not be the issue, there are a lot of things lurking in the grass which may be a hidden danger to your Maltese puppy.
- Tooth decay: Grass will be abrasive and can contain soil which will wear away at the protective enamel around your Maltese dogs teeth. Maltese are a breed known for teeth and gum issues so letting them do something which will actively work against protecting their teeth is not a good idea. Grass also contains silicon which is draws up from the soil and silicon is especially abrasive against the protective enamel on the Maltese teeth. Even worse, if your Maltese dog gets bad teeth then you will be up for significant vet bills to get teeth removed.
- A poor appetite: Eating grass due to its high fiber content can fill the stomach of your Maltese puppy making it not want to eat its nutritious dog food. This can be a problem as a growing Maltese puppy needs the nutrients which are in its proper food. Maltese Puppies can be picky eaters at the best of times so if they are bypassing nutritious food for grass which provides little or no nutrition then it can mean they will be missing out on vital components such as protein, vitamins, minerals and fats which are required by their growing bodies.
The Positives of a Maltese Dog Eating Grass
After just going through all of the negatives on why your dog should not eat grass how can there be any positives to it. Well the advantages of eating grass are few but there are a couple:
- It induces vomiting: While this is a negative if it happens too often, it can be a good thing for your puppy in the short term. If they have eaten something which is upsetting their stomach then inducing themselves to throw up will make them feel better. Maltese puppies will tend to eat things on the floor and some of these things will not be able to be digested. Its much better for these things to have come back up and out the mouth then getting stuck in the stomach or intestinal tract which may lead to a costly operation.
- It can highlight a bigger health problem: Some problems can come to light because you have noticed that your Maltese is eating grass and you take them to the vet. If you had not noticed that your Maltese puppy was eating grass frequently then a more significant health problem could go unchecked for a long time. If you do notice that your Maltese puppy is eating grass on a frequent basis then this is a sign they need to have a checkup by your vet to ensure there is no major cause of the Maltese eating grass. This can catch things early like canine diabetes, cancers and gastrointestinal issues.
How to Prevent and Stop your Maltese Puppy Eating Grass
There are generally more negatives then positives to a Maltese dog eating grass so it is important to understand what is the best approach to stopping them from eating the grass. Using a variety of techniques which are listed below it should be possible to limit the behavior and even stop the behavior going forward. Each of the approaches below to stopping a Maltese dog from eating grass is based upon fixing the underlying cause on why your Maltese puppy is eating the grass.
Preventative 1: Go to the veterinarian and get Your Maltese puppy a checkup
The first step in preventing your Maltese from eating grass is to go get it checked out by your Veterinarian and have a discussion with them about what is happening. As discussed earlier in the article there can be a wide range of health issues on why your Maltese puppy is eating grass and these can be mundane issues through to some serious health issues. Your vet will have a few questions to ascertain what other symptoms your Maltese puppy might be experiencing and they will be able to analyse the Maltese poo. They will usually feel around the stomach and check for any blockages or anything else which might be upsetting your Maltese puppies stomach. They may also run some blood tests as this can indicate any infections and highlight nutritional deficiencies which may exist. Once they have completed the tests they will be able to rule out health issues as the underlying cause of the grass eating. If they do find a health issue which is the underlying cause of your Maltese puppy eating grass then they will be able to prescribe the best course of action for the particular issue.
Preventative 2: Evaluate your Maltese Puppy’s Diet and Food
If you Maltese puppy is seeking out other food sources such as grass then this could be an indication that they may be lacking something in their diet. Firstly assess the food portion size against what is recommended for your Maltese puppy to ensure that you are feeding them enough food each day. If you are meeting the recommended food intake then it could be the quality of the dog food which you are feeding to your Maltese puppy. While there is some debate on grain filled dog filled vs grain free dog food it is important to ensure that your dog is getting the best quality dog food they can get as it will extend their life and keep them in better shape.
Its important that any dog food you buy should have a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, Omegas and glucose and especially protein. Additives such as fillers, artificial colors, artificial flavors, and artificial preservatives should be avoided. The filler ingredients which are used and are not good for your dog include soy, corn and husks. Low quality meat products can also be concerning. If you stick to a reputable high quality well rated dog food from Amazon you will at least know you have given your dog the best food and diet they can have and this shouldn’t be the cause of them eating grass.
A final tip for dog food for your Maltese puppy is to provide them a food which is made from a highly reputable country which has regulatory standards in place to protect the quality of what goes into the food. Unfortunately some offshore countries can provide much cheaper dog food which is below the required standards and if you wouldn’t eat sub quality food then why would you give your Maltese puppy substandard food.
Preventative 3: Supervision when outside
If you know your Maltese puppy is eating grass then you will need to supervise them when they are outside so that you can interrupt and stop the grass eating behavior. It may be inconvenient for you to be outside with your Maltese dog each and every time they need to go out but it will need to be done until you have eradicated the behavior from your puppy. Each time they go out make sure that you watch them and stay close to them. if they start to eat grass you need to stop them and reinforce that it is a behavior which is not acceptable. The best way to do this is to interrupt their current grass eating behavior and get them to focus on something else. The idea is to break their habit of grass eating. Toys, food and even just calling them and playing with them may be enough to stop them eating the grass and do something else. If this is the case then the reason for grass eating is usually just habit and boredom. If they continue eating the grass even after you have tried to refocus their attention elsewhere then they may have a medical reason for the grass eating and you should consult your vet for a checkup.
One of the best ways to keep an eye on your Maltese when you are not there is to install a security camera that monitors what your Dog is doing. These can be setup inside or outside, and obviously in this case you want to install it outside with a direct line of site to the grass that your Maltese puppy tends to eat. this way you can check up on them and ensure that even when you are not around you have broken the habit of them eating grass.
Preventative 4: Keep your Maltese puppy Occupied
There are times when you are outside with your Maltese puppy and can not supervise them closely, and there will also be times when you Maltese puppy might be out in the yard by themselves. When this happens you will not be able to stop them eating grass, so you need to be able to offer alternatives to them to keep themselves amused.
The usual ways to do this is to get some dog toys which your Maltese puppy can play with while you are occupied. Different toys provide different stimulation levels so check out what is available and make sure it si size appropriate for your Maltese dog. A selection of toys is available on our dog toy review page for Maltese dogs : https://maltesedogadvice.com/best-toys-for-a-maltese-puppy/
A couple of ideas which are not usually thought of include using a water sprinkler to distract your Maltese puppy. This will work on younger dogs as they will be very playful and will want to play in the water. If your Maltese puppy doesn’t like the sprinkler then an alternative is to try a bubble machine. Put it in a safe place where you Maltese puppy can not knock it over and let the bubbles go. Ensure you use a non-toxic soap for the bubbles. The bubbles will float across the yard and your Maltese will not even thing about eating grass when they have bubbles to chase.
Did we Answer your Questions on Why Your Maltese Puppy is Eating Grass ?
Hopefully this article has helped answer all of your questions on why your Maltese puppy is eating grass and if you can determine the right cause of why your Maltese puppy is eating grass then you will be able to apply the right solution. Do you know of any other reasons Maltese dogs eat grass or do you have any other suggestions for our readers? If you do leave a comment and let us know if you found this article to be helpful.