Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Have you noticed your dogs eating grass lately? Eating grass is a fairly common behavior for dogs, but the truth is that no one knows exactly why dogs eat grass. However, there are some pretty strong hypotheses out there about what causes this strange behavior.

Top Four Reasons Why Dogs Eat Grass

Here are four well-accepted explanations for why you may see dogs and puppies eating grass.

Natural Instinct

As we domesticated dogs, we changed their eating habits and their diets. The food that we feed our dogs today is pretty different from what they would eat in the wild. Dogs are actually omnivores and scavengers, meaning that they are willing to eat all sorts of different foods.

It’s possible that dogs eating grass are just following their natural instinct to scavenge. Wild dogs today will eat vegetation including fruits and grass, so our domesticated dogs may eat grass to satisfy the same natural instinct.

Stomach Upset

Dogs may have an alternative motive to eating grass: Soothing an upset stomach. The grass is tickly, and it can make a dog throw up. Dogs who eat grass may be attempting to relieve an upset or gassy stomach. While the end result isn’t at all fun for us to clean up, it’s possible that our dogs know what their bodies need and are eating grass as a way to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety

Grass eating in dogs can be a sign of anxiety. This behavior can be compulsive, and if a dog gets worked up or upset, he may turn to eating grass to help soothe his nerves. If you notice that your dog is highly anxious or upset when he eats grass, it is likely that anxiety is at the root of his grass eating, rather than one of the other possible causes.

If you suspect that your dog is eating grass because of anxiety, there are a number of ways that you can help to treat the anxiety. Consult with your vet about holistic treatments that may help your dog. It may take some time to pinpoint the source of your dog’s anxiety, but taking the time to get to the root of the issue can allow you to better help your dog.

Enjoyment

It’s also possible that some dogs just like grass. Dogs may like the taste or texture of grass. Even if grass may make dogs vomit, it’s possible that dogs enjoy eating it so much that the end effect isn’t enough to convince them to stop. Some dogs may just see grass as a special, delicious treat.

The Best Grass for Dogs to Eat

Now that we’ve established that it’s pretty common for dogs to eat grass, let’s talk about how to keep your dog safe when he decides to chow down on the lawn. The best grass for dogs to eat is grass that has not been treated with chemicals or pesticides. Never let your dog eat grass when you’re out at the park or in an unfamiliar place since you don’t know how the grass has been maintained.

You may want to create a safe patch of grass just for your dog to eat. Maybe you want to grow a tray of grass within your home, or in your yard so that you know your dog isn’t at risk of ingesting pesticides or other chemicals.

Keep an eye on your dog when he eats grass. This is particularly true for puppies eating grass, since ingesting too much grass or pieces of grass that are too large may cause an intestinal blockage in a puppy.

Grass eating is one of those behaviors that we don’t yet fully understand. If you’re struggling with grass eating in your dog, then our Behavior Consulting or Nutritional Consulting services may be just right for you.

 

References Noted:

http://www.akc.org/content/entertainment/articles/why-does-my-dog-eat-grass/

http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/vet-s-take-why-dogs-eat-grass/297

https://www.caninejournal.com/why-dogs-eat-grass/

TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY PHOTO CONTEST

If you’re lucky enough to spend your work day with your dog, this event is for you! Send in your photos of “what your dog does at work” June 19-23. The winner will be announced Friday, June 23 and will receive a $100 Gift Certificate and a briefcase of goodies to enjoy at your workplace! There will be a special prize for the “dog who looks the most like his person,” too! Entries can be submitted by email (TalkToUs@animalconnectionVA.com) or on our Facebook page.

SHOPPING FOR YOUR PETS AT THE FARMER’S MARKET

Do you shop for your family pets at the farmer’s market? We do… and you should too… it’s so easy to make fresh organic meals or food toppers your dogs and cats will just love! Downtown Charlottesville, Meade Park, Crozet, Nelson and Stonefield markets have a great selection of fresh meats and veggies. Get shopping…. then come see us and we’ll show you how to balance your recipes for the perfect pet meals. We also have signed copies of Dr. Judy Morgan DVM’s book “What’s For Dinner Dexter,” a great resource of recipes and holistic pet info you’ll want to know about. Plus lots of yummy dog and kitty treats for sale!

YAPPY HOUR AT CROZET DOG PARK

Join us for a neighborhood play date with your dog at CROZET’S NEW OFF LEAD DOG PARK on Sunday, June 25th from 2-4. Your dogs will enjoy amazing treats and play with some very fun toys. Plus there will be refreshments while you’re mingling with old and new friends. We’ll have tables of info from Animal Connection, Animal Wellness Center, Countryside Grooming and local dog walkers, pet sitters and other services you’ll want to know about. Weather related decisions will be posted on our Facebook page by 1:00 pm if thunderstorms are in the forecast. Other Yappy Hours are currently scheduled for August and September (not July, too hot for the dogs). Dates and times will be advertised in the Crozet Gazette, on our Facebook and on this web page. Hope to see ya’ll there!

CONGRATS TO OUR “EASTMINSTER” DOG SHOW WINNERS! YOU’RE ALL STARS!

Wednesday, May 17 found Animal Connection and a whole pack of dogs and families at the Keswick Hunt Club for our annual fun dog show. Hundreds of spectators enjoyed watching the dogs and when we passed the hat for donations to the Charlottesville SPCA, it was full of generous contributions. It was hard for the judges to make decisions from so many great entries, but here’s a list of our winners. Beginner’s Agility – Luna, Jordan Atwell Purcell. Costume Class – “The Hungry Catepillar,” Maizey and Madeline Stone. Musical Chairs – Lizzy and Serah Montminy. Family Class – “The Dachsunds” a joint entry by the Matheson and Mascotte family. Best Rescue and Best In Show, Lizzy and Serah Montminy. (Note: Get your costumes ready for Dog Fest, Sunday, October 29 – this year bigger and better at Ix Art Park!)

DOES YOUR PET SUFFER FROM SEASONAL ALLERGIES?

Flowers, weeds, grasses, leaves… and that yellow pollen is in the air. Your pet may already be showing signs of discomfort, including scratching, itching, inflammation, red skin, teary eyes… and we’re here to help! We strongly recommend feeding a raw or gently cooked diet of whitefish or pork and dark, leafy green vegetables to support the immune system during this season. These cooling proteins and vegetables lower the “heat’ in the body, reduces the inflammation, and strengthens the immune system. For more relief, pair our Spring diet selections with our Quercetin supplements — noted holistic experts (like blogger, Rodney Habib) call quercetin “nature’s Benedryl.” It has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties designed for quick relief. It’s easy to give your pet in a tablet or soft chew and it does the trick. So fear the great outdoors no more! We’re here to help!

FLEAS, TICKS & SKEETERS… OH MY!!!!

With the warmer temps come all the insect critters. We’re fully stocked with shampoos, sprays, diatomaceous earth, essential oils, herbal collars and monthly spot-ons that are safe for your dog and for your family, and made in the USA! From noted holistic vet, Dr. Peter Dobias DVM, here are “Eight Steps To Choosing A Safe Flea Product For Your Dog” (for the full blog article, please visit peterdobias.com for this and other great information)

  1. Choose a topical product over oral treatment
  2. Choose a residual wash or and spray product used together over a highly concentrated spot treatment that absorbs and stays in the body for a month
  3. Choose a natural product over chemical ones
  4. Read reviews of other dog lovers before you purchase a new product
  5. Pick a product that is not preserved with artificial chemicals
  6. Go with brands not manufactured in China to avoid poor quality or tainted ingredients
  7. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website to see if there are any reports of fatalities related to the product. If there are reported fatalities, do not risk your dog’s life by using such product.
  8. Go for a product that is guaranteed to work so you do not waste your money and can help your dog promptly.             (and we’ll add 9.) If the product says “use gloves to apply” you can bet you won’t want it around your children or on your pet. So, come see us for better choices that really work!

“NEARLY END OF SEASON” SALE ON WINTER DOG WEAR!

It might be in the 60s in Virginia, but the Almanac says to watch for late February-early March snow and ice. Come in now for 20% OFF DOG WEAR, including Foggy Mountain, Pendleton, Teckle dog coats or Chilly Dog and Fab Dog woolen sweaters. Be prepared!

Animal connection dog cat

Natural (Holistic) Solutions for Your Dog or Cat’s Anxiety

Anxiety affects pets as much as people. Traditional veterinarians might prescribe smaller dosages of the same anti-anxiety medications – such as Valium and Paxil – used for humans to treat pets. These drugs often have powerful side effects. Unless your pet is completely and dangerously out of control, natural solutions for anxiety are safer and as effective.

Determine the Cause

Natural solutions for your pet’s anxiety aren’t one-size-fits-all. It’s crucial to narrow down exactly what stresses your pet. Sometimes the answer is obvious, such as Fourth of July fireworks. If you’re not sure about the trigger, observe your pet carefully. Have there been any changes in the household recently? Is the pet experiencing a new routine? Inappropriate elimination in cats – a euphemism for going outside the box –often results from anxiety. Have your pet examined by your holistic veterinarian to determine whether your pet’s anxiety derives from a health or psychological issue. If it’s the latter, explore natural therapies for treatment.

Essential Oils

If you have a dog, keep lavender essential oil on hand.  This aromatic oil helps calm agitated canines – and it smells good. Lavender oil boasts soothing properties, but like all essential oils, it is quite powerful. That’s why it’s important to dilute essential oils with carrier oils, such as sesame or sweet almond for use with cats. However, dogs need the oil to be applied in a “neat” fashion and therefore the oils do not need dilution. One rule of thumb – mix 10 drops of essential oil into .5 ounce carrier oil.

Let your dog sniff the oil from the vial, or place a few drops on a bandanna and tie it around his neck. Try putting a drop or two in your hand and then petting your dog down the length of his body, or apply a drop around the ears. Another option: Use a diffuser and allow lavender oil to permeate the room. Lavender is one of the few essential oils safe to use on cats – very sparingly. Never place lavender directly on the cat, but a drop or two on the bedding in the cat carrier can ease feline travel nerves.

Other essential oils with soothing properties for dogs include:

  • Valerian – aids in calming noise anxiety
  • Vetiver- subdues nervous dogs
  • Ylang ylang – helpful for separation anxiety.

Purchase only high quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils for your pet’s therapy. View our line of Young Living Oils

Flower Essences

Flower essences are similar to essential oils in that they derive from plant-based materials. While many essential oils have medicinal properties, flowers essences heal only on the emotional level. Perhaps the best-known flower essence is Rescue Remedy, a distillation of five flowers – cherry plum, clematis, impatiens, Rock rose and Star of Bethlehem -essences designed to restore  calm in stressful situations. Available in a vial or as a spray, it’s another must-have for pet owners. Unlike essential oils, flower essences are safe for felines.

Certain flower essences are created for very specific issues. For example, gentian restores confidence, while larch boosts the esteem of scared animals. They sound like the same thing, but there is a subtle difference. Work with your holistic veterinarian to find the right flower essence for your pet’s problem.

Compression Shirts

If thunder or similar loud noises terrifies your dog, he or she doesn’t necessarily need anti-anxiety medication. What may help is a compression shirt, a garment using gentle pressure to make the dog feel secure, much like infant swaddling. While compression shirts won’t help all dogs with noise anxiety, many owners report good results. That’s especially true when essential oils, flower essences and other complementary therapies are also used.

Professional Help

If your dog suffers from severe separation anxiety, high-stress levels, or other behavioral concerns you’ve probably tried all the standard methods to resolve the issue. If nothing has worked, contact Pattie, Animal Connection’s owner, and animal telepathy, expert.

Learn more about our Behavior Consulting services here.

 

 

 

References Noted:

http://thebark.com/content/essential-oils-and-dogs

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/essential-oils-for-scared-dogs/

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/flower-essences-for-anxious-dogs/

https://www.caninejournal.com/thunder-jacket-for-dogs/

“PET FOOLED” MOVIE – Sunday, Feb.26 at 2 pm

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY, “PET FOOLED?” It’s an in-depth exposé of the inner workings of the commercial pet food industry, the majority of which is owned by only a few multi-conglomerate companies. With the help of veterinarians Dr. Barbara Royal and Dr. Karen Becker, filmmaker Kohl Harrington takes viewers on an entertaining and eye-opening journey exploring all facets of a secretive industry, which has operated largely unchallenged until now.  We’ll be showing this incredible film at our store in February 26 at 2 pm. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free, but please call the store to register so we will have enough seating for all. We can promise it will be well worth your time to attend. Check our Facebook page for updates on this in-store event.