Does Your Dog Eat Grass?
As I glanced out the window this morning I noticed my son’s dog eating grass and I wondered why dogs eat grass. We’re not exactly sure why dogs eat grass – perhaps it’s because it tastes good. Since dogs as canines are natural scavengers, they are somewhat programmed to find food and search for nutrition where ever they can. I think that she finds it delicious (kind of like a salad?) or maybe it’s filling a nutritional need. Some dogs crave fiber, so sometimes switching a dog like her to a higher fiber dog food might help. If you have a dog like her, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian before you make any changes to your dog’s diet
In some instances eating grass might be an indication of boredom. If your dog has got a backyard to wander about in and not much to do in it then he may decide to engage in eating grass out of boredom. By providing him with regular exercise and mental challenges, or even another dog to play with, your dog may revert to eating grass out of boredom. If you notice your dog eating grass, make sure that you are spending sufficient time with him by taking him for walks or setting aside a specific time to interact and play with him. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as providing a few bones as an alternative of an interactive toy (check out www.tethertug.com ) I have one for our dogs and they absolutely LOVE it!). In addition, there are many more GREAT interactive toys guaranteed to keep your pup busy. I have found that as long as our dogs have toys, bones and a couple of interactive toys and each other, they will entertain themselves outside on nice days when I am home for hours!
Some people believe that grass is a form of self medication if your dog has tummy troubles by turning to grass for relief. If the behavior suddenly starts – when it wasn’t there before, and your dog seems to be anxious, by chewing, swallowing while extending his neck and making swallowing motions and then vomiting afterwards a visit to the vet should be in order. Studies have found that it’s fairly rare that less than 25% of dogs vomit after eating grass and only about 10% showed signs of illness prior to eating grass. If you suspect that your dog has some type of stomach distress it could be something indicative and more serious like reflux or inflammatory bowel disease and would definitely require a trip to your vet. Most veterinarians will consider grass eating as a normal doggy behavior. Dogs don’t gain any real nutrition from grass but it may not hurt them as long as you are not fertilizing or applying pesticides or herbicides on the grass itself that they are consuming.
My Final Thoughts
You can help protect your dog if he is a grass eater by only using non-toxic products on your lawn. Be sure that when you take him to public areas like doggy parks or anywhere outside of your home environment to keep an eye out for signs warning that chemicals have been used on properties or grass. A great alternative is to provide a safe alternative if you have a grass eater by growing a grass or herb garden specifically for your dog to snack on! Make sure to keep the poison control number handy in the event that your dog ends up suffering from poisoning so that you call the 24/7 animal poison control hotline at 800-213-6680.
I would love to hear your comments, feedback, stories and ideas.
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