By Karin Krisher
Dogs and cows might be entirely different animals, but grass eating is on the top of their list of commonalities. (Right behind “mammals.”) Though dogs don’t graze like bovine, they still munch on grassy roughage regularly enough for your clients to express concern. What can you tell them when they ask determinately: “Why do dogs eat grass?”
First, assure them of the general safety of this snack. Then, highlight these facts:
- Dogs eat grass in the wild. In other words, it’s usually completely normal for dogs to chow down on greenery. If the amount consumed is large enough to be a concern, you might recommend a full examination.
- There could be several harmless causes for the behavior. Some people believe dogs do this when they are unwell in order to induce vomiting. There’s little evidence of that, though grass eating can make some dogs harmlessly vomit.
Others are in the “nutritional deficiency” camp and usually suspect a fiber deficiency, a result of years of domestication. The idea is this: Wild dogs ate an animal’s full body, including the fibrous grains that the animal had previously ingested. Our beloved pets of the current day don’t do that. In fact, they rarely include grains or vegetables in their diets. But they are omnivores. Let your clients know that a diet change or supplementation can support comprehensive nutrition.
Still others are sure the act is meant to aid in overall digestion—a similar mentality. Again, diet changes or supplementation can help if your clients truly want to limit their pup’s grass intake.
- Pesticides and herbicides can be toxic. If your clients only catch their dogs eating on their own lawns, pesticides and herbicides are lesser concerns. But if they’re out at a dog park or other public arena, it’s always good to err on the side of caution.
Dogs like to eat. That’s no secret. Why they eat what they eat is kept a little quieter. Get loud about it with your concerned clients, and tell us how the conversations transpired in a comment!
Has your own dog eaten grass? Was there illness involved or no? We want to hear your story!