Basenji Eating Grass (Why Is My Basenji Eating Grass?)

Have you ever seen your Basenji Eating Grass and wondered what is going on? Well, the simple answer is usually acid reflux or gas.

There also could be more to your Basenji eating grass than just acid reflux and gas. It is not typically linked with a hungry Basenji though.

A full grown Black and White Basenji sits on the grass
A full grown Black and White Basenji sits on the grass

Reasons For Basenjis Eating Grass?

Instinct, pain, blockage, fear and anxiety, diet supplementing, nausea, or stress can be some of the leading factors in your Basenji’s new eating behavior.


If you know about the Basenji history you’d know they are hunters by nature. As hunters, their diet consisted of wild game (rabbits, deer, birds, and such) that would graze. So they grew a taste for grass from eating the contents inside of these animals.

The meat naturally had a wild, grassy taste and maybe that is what is lacking from their day-to-day diet. It isn’t something easily replaceable but you can try by getting them enough plant-based fiber in their diet.

basenji dog looking happy as it explore a hedge
A happy Basenjoy dog explores a hedge. Red and white markings.

Diet Supplementing a.k.a Cravings

As it is in every living organism, the body communicates whatever it is lacking through cravings. So at times, some veggies are just the supplement lacking in their diet 

It will be advisable to find out what their body says it needs. Greens and veggies are an important part of anyone’s diet after all.

Pain and Nausea 

When your Basenji develops abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, or cannot keep anything down he needs to be seen by a Vet right away.

Signs of these pains are visible occasionally in how they eat grass to induce vomiting. You may have seen cats do this – and it works… for them. This is because cats are strict carnivores and the carbohydrate content of grass matter causes them to vomit.

Basenji are omnivores (can eat both meat and some plant matter) so even though some will; try to eat grass to vomit – often it is just processed like food. So it is more a matter of watching for other behaviors rather than identifying vomiting.

This is all a way of looking for some relief no matter how short-lived. But it is also not a permanent solution. That’s why Basenjis rarely vomit from eating grass. 

Acid and Gas Reflux

Like many dogs, Basenjis also experience heartburn from time to time. And some have learned the best relief or “home remedy” for this particular problem, is your front lawn.

Fresh green grass seems to have some desired cooling effect on a dog’s insides. How that discovery came about is a mystery but it works for them.

basenji dog with a simple harness
A Basenji dog wearing a simple restraint harness.

Stress and Anxiety

It has been a well-known fact that the psychological state prompts a physical reaction. If that is the case with your B getting to the root of the problem is what’s best. 

This is similar to humans. Some people chew on their hair, or fingernails or compulsively move about to show some stress, anxiety, or boredom. Your Basenji might be having a problem that needs to be addressed.

Things like separation anxiety, being uncomfortable in a certain environment or just plain boredom; can also bring about eating grass for your Basenji.

How to Handle the Situation of Basenji Eating Grass

Take your Basenji to a certified veterinarian who can tell you what might be the root cause and the course of treatment to take.

But also when this happens you can look to make some changes in your Basenji diet. That’s if the problem stems from a dietary place. Try to cook a pot of a bland food like broccoli or small quantity of rice and add it to their meals over a 3-4 day period.

It’s a temporary modification to their diet that some say works wonders for the Basenji’s blocked gut.

Rice and chicken are a winner for Basenji with sensitive tummies. It is recognized as a soft food combo that is easy to digest and doesn’t aggravate the already upset stomach.

patting a Basenji on the head
Patting a happy red and white Basenji

What to Watch out For

Your lawn or the grass your B is chewing on might be treated, fertilized, or sprayed with toxins. Just for the safety of your Basenji, you might want to stop putting chemicals on the grass if it’s yours.

If you want to still maintain your lawn but also maintain a safety standard for your B, you can try using a vinegar and water mixture to spray away the weeds.

Keep your Basenji away from toxic house plants because not everything green is safe for ingestion. You can put these out of your Basenji’s reach just to be safe.

Make sure your Basenji does not possibly ingest too much grass. It is not a good idea to just ignore the grass eating

Make sure you look for vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, decrease in appetite, blood in stool, lethargy, or lip licking keep them hydrated, and allow time for potty breaks.


If you are worried and trying to wash out your Basenjis system, a reset button of sorts. You can have your Bfast for about eight to twelve hours before introducing food slowly. Use it as a way to monitor your Bs tummy problems too.