October 25, 2021

Why do dogs eat weird stuff?

Have you ever caught your dog chowing down on some grass?


Have you ever caught your dog chowing down on some grass and thought, “I guess I got a cow by mistake,” followed by the question, “Are they supposed to do that?”

Some people may have told you that dogs eat grass to settle an upset stomach. But rest assured, you do in fact have a dog, and there are no known connections between eating grass and upset tummies. You also aren’t alone in watching your dog eat the lawn. Research indicates that 68% of dogs eat grass regularly, and eight out of ten pet parents report that their dog eats leaves.

When (real) cows eat grass, they aren’t actually eating it for themselves. The grass actually serves as food for the bacteria living in their stomach. And those bacteria are the food that sustains the cows. In fact, 90% percent of the proteins used by a cow’s body comes from the cells of those bacteria, as well as 70% of their total energy.

Research found similar grass-eating bacteria in the gut of some dogs, but it is not clear what those bacteria are doing there. The truth is, the impact of grass on the bacteria living in the canine gut is still unknown.

But research from the last two decades does show that gut bacteria plays a crucial role in shaping the health and wellbeing of your dog, both physically and mentally. Most importantly, we now have a stronger understanding of the complex relationship between nutrition and wellbeing.


You may also have seen your dog eating poop, and as disgusting as it might seem, it may be a useful way for them to get a fresh supply of bacteria to keep their microbiome healthy and diverse. Similarly, this is thought to be one of the reasons humans eat foods like pickles, sauerkraut, and other foods produced by fermentation, a process in which bacteria and other microorganisms break down food components into other molecules and give those foods their unique tastes. Some research shows that these fermented foods have a positive impact on the human microbiome.


“Bacteria are nature’s largest biochemical lab,” says Dr. David Zeevi, a microbiome and personalized nutrition expert from the Weizmann Institute, and a Special Scientific Advisor at Stay. For example, the dog genome consists of about 19,000 protein-encoding genes, whereas the bacteria and other microorganisms in their gut, collectively known as a microbiome, encodes over three million genes producing thousands of metabolites — the little molecules that fuel the body’s cells.

Gut bacteria are responsible for a lot!

Each dog has a unique DNA code, and an equally unique microbiome. However, unlike DNA, the microbiome is flexible and dynamic, and it changes as dogs grow, age, and change environments.


Your journey with Stay begins with a meal plan loaded with ingredients that are picked for their quality, high levels of important nutrients, and most importantly, their contribution to a healthy and diverse ecosystem of beneficial bacteria living in your dog’s gut.

When you become a Stay member, we help track the changes in your pet’s physiology and behavior. What’s their activity level? Are they taking any supplements? Did the vet bring up any health concerns at their last checkup? We also include free seasonal microbiome checks to get snapshots of different bacteria in your dog’s gut.

We analyze this information, and then give going recommendations for your meal plan Together, we can improve your dog’s health and wellbeing. Sometimes that means making no changes (for now) to their diet, too!

This is merely the beginning. Our goal is to find the healthiest recipe for your pet, and evolve alongside their wellbeing needs as they grow, even if they’re chomping away on some grass.

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