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/

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!
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 on 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. Contact us for more info!

BRUSH UP ON YOUR PET’S DENTAL HEALTH!

February is dental month for pets! And, the best products for better dental health are better foods! Great choices like our raw, dehydrated, or freeze dried foods or higher protein kibbles don’t have the useless carbs and sugars that allow tartar or yeast to develop, which then causes bad breath, gingivitis and tooth decay. Stock up on digestive enzyme products, like Leba III Spray, ProDen Plaque Off, Indigenous Dental Bones or Willard Water. These products are extremely helpful and easy to use. Plus we offer a great selection of toothbrushes and toothpaste and we’ll be happy to show you how to get your pet used to regular brushing. Don’t forget, teeth brushing is included at no charge when we groom your dogs or cats! Here’s to great smiles for all your pets!

BE OUR CANINE (and feline) VALENTINE!

We’re celebrating the ones who give us unconditional love February 11 – 14 with fun events, store specials, and gifts from our heart to yours! Sign up for PET PORTRAITS, SUNDAY. FEB 12 from 1-4 pm – a photo of you and your met makes the perfect Valentine card! WIN $100 OF HONEST KITCHEN “LOVE” – over 40 lbs of grain free, ranch raised beef and veggies, holistic goodness your dog is sure to love! Register all week long, winner announced Feb.14. FREE SMOOCHES AND NUZZLES, yummy treats also from Honest Kitchen you’ll want to give all year long. VALENTINE’S BAKERY GOODIES – beautifully decorated cookies for dogs, and we’ll have sweet treats for their people too! SHARE THE LOVE WITH PET RESCUE GROUPS! We’ll also be accepting donations for pet food and supplies, a true gift from the heart for pets in need! Check out our Facebook page for more info and events you won’t want to miss!

TIME TO SWITCH TO “COLD WEATHER PROTEINS”

We’re big believers in changing your pet’s food choices along with the seasons. With the cold winter months, it’s time to try warming proteins like chicken, pheasant, venison, trout and lamb. They’ll help create inner warmth they’ll need for extra energy now through March. If their joints are a little stiff and sore especially on these cool damp mornings, add a little tumeric to their diet to help keep them flexible and supple. If you are feeding our higher protein kibbles, like Orijen or Acana, we recommend a little warm water or bone broth, not only for the extra liquid intake, but to keep their tummy’s warm! You can always warm up any of our frozen or dehydrated food options to make they extra yummy, too.

Feel free to contact us with any questions about cold weather proteins.

OUR TIPS TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE ON NEW YEAR’S EVE!

New Year’s Eve is a big night for fireworks and parties, which can be scary for your pets. Keep your pets indoors and create a calming environment with soft music. Put some Young Living essential oils, like Lavender or Peace & Calming on a cotton ball and put it gently in their ear or stoke it on their chest and back for soothing aromatherapy. Add our Bach Flowers “Rescue Remedy” to their drinking water or on a treat for natural stress relief. Provide a Kong toy filled with their favorite treat or a No-Hide chew to detract them from the noise. And especially make sure your pets are microchipped and/or wearing identification tags in case they get loose, panic and become lost. We’ll be open New Year’s Eve until 3pm and can help you… and your pets… have a safe holiday!

Male veterinarian examining Great Dane on cancer in vet clinic

Neoplasene: Safe or Dangerous for Your Dog?

A canine cancer diagnosis is devastating. If your dog has cancer, you want to do everything possible to help him. Neoplasene, a treatment derived from bloodroot, may help with some cancers. Even though it is a natural substance, it does hold potential dangers. If you decide to go this route, it is imperative that you work with your holistic veterinarian every step of the way. Neoplasene is available only by prescription.

 

Neoplasene

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadanesis, has long been used in herbal medicine to treat skin issues, including warts and fungal infections. This native wildflower appears each spring in the eastern woodlands of North America. Native Americans also used it for red dye. Only certain components of bloodroot are used in the making of neoplasene.

Neoplasene causes cancer cells to die – but it can also kill healthy cells, so extreme caution is necessary. Neoplasene treatment may lessen the cancer’s spread, or metastasis.

 

Canine Cancer Treatment

Neoplasene is only effective for certain canine cancers. These include:

  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Hemangiosarcomas
  • Nasal tumors
  • Mammary gland tumors
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Perianal cancers

Neoplasene doesn’t cost as much as common cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, but it is labor intensive and unpleasant to apply topically. When the tumor cells die, they leave behind a gaping hole – perhaps down to the bone – requiring vet care. Your vet may initially inject neoplasene into a tumor, and the growth will necrotize – die off – within a week. After that, you must apply neoplasene salve to the wound at least twice daily. When done correctly, scarring is minimal for small tumors. That’s not the case with large growths.

Don’t force off the dying tissue, even though it appears repulsive. Unless your veterinarian indicates otherwise, merely clean the area with a hydrogen peroxide solution daily.  

There is an oral form of neoplasene used for cancers that have metastasized. The dog will likely require this supplement for the rest of his life. However, oral neoplasene usually causes nausea and vomiting, so it is accompanied by specific diets designed to combat these side effects. Your vet will recommend a diet for your dog’s therapeutic needs. Raw and dry food diets are out. Neoplasene is mixed with food, as giving it directly to your dog will almost certainly result in vomiting.  During the neoplasene regimen, your dog can’t receive any treats and is put on a strict twice-daily feeding schedule. His access to water is also limited.

 

Neoplasene Precautions

Your dog can’t lick or eat the neoplasene ointment, so he may have to wear an Elizabethan collar or other device to keep him from getting at the wound. Elizabethan collars, the so-called “cones of shame” are uncomfortable and your dog will have to wear one for weeks. That’s just one of several precautions during neoplasene therapy:

  • The salve may cause pain when placed on the wound, so your vet may prescribe analgesics for your pet. Certain painkillers have their own side effects. Dogs receiving neoplasene therapy cannot receive anti-inflammatories.
  • Do not give your dog any supplements, including vitamins, without your veterinarian’s consent.
  • Buck Mountain Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of neoplasene, warns, “Prolonged contact with healthy tissue is to be avoided.”
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs should not receive neoplasene.
  • Treatment for any other common dog disorders must cease during neoplasene therapy. That means no arthritis supplements, whether prescription or natural.

Neoplasene won’t “cure” cancer, but in combination with other holistic treatments, including diet, it can help your dog live longer with a good quality of life. In a best-case scenario, your dog succumbs to the infirmities of old age, not cancer.

A picture of a vet brushing dog's teeth

How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Naturally

The majority of dogs suffer from some type of dental disease, and signs of dental issues are apparent as early as age 3. It is not natural for dogs to have plaque and tartar on their teeth, and it doesn’t happen to their wild carnivore cousins. This buildup, which leads to dental and periodontal problems, is preventable via holistic dental techniques. These techniques focus on the entire dog, not just the mouth itself.

Poor dental health affects more than the teeth or gums. The bacteria from tooth infections can travel throughout the body, leading to heart, lung, liver, and kidney disease. Even if your dog already has signs of teeth troubles, it’s not too late to begin a holistic approach, with guidance from your veterinarian.

 

Conventional Teeth Cleaning

If your dog requires conventional teeth cleaning, that means undergoing anesthesia. The vet uses an ultrasonic scaler for removing large pieces of plaque and tartar, and then each tooth is cleaned via a hand scaler. It can take several hours for your dog to recover from the anesthesia. Although deaths from anesthesia are rare, they do occur. If you use a holistic approach to canine teeth cleaning starting when your dog is young, he may never need to undergo veterinary cleaning under anesthesia. One caveat: If your dog is very small, dental issues are more common. That’s because little dogs still possess the full complement of 42 teeth, crammed into their tiny mouths. Brachycephalic breeds – those with short noses and “pushed-in” faces – are also more likely to need professional dental cleaning. These breeds include the bulldog, pug, and Boston terrier.

 

Food for Dental Health

The best foods for your dog’s dental health are those designed for the way canines naturally eat. That means most of their teeth adept at tearing apart animal protein – meat – with a lesser number intended to crush this food prior to swallowing.

A typical commercial diet is one of the primary causes of canine tooth decay. Such diets often contain sugar and are full of carbohydrates – a recipe for dental disease. Your holistic vet will recommend the best food for your dog, and that typically consists of a commercially made, gently cooked or raw diet or a high protein, low carb dry diet. Add a good quality digestive enzyme to their food or a pinch in their water bowl will keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher, too. Look for dental chews that contain essential enzymes and are free of sugars and rice products for safe, effective chewing.

 

Regular Brushing

Your vet or your groomer can instruct you on the best way to brush your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog resists at first, he’ll probably come to tolerate brushing and develop a taste for canine toothpaste.  Toothbrushes designed for children do well for small dogs, while you can use adult-sized toothbrushes on larger animals. Always use soft-bristled toothbrushes. Look for canine toothpaste containing antibacterial enzymes to limit bacterial growth. Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. If that’s not possible, brush them once daily or as often as you can.

 

Signs of Dental Issues

If you’re brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, you’ll notice any dental issues right away. Also watch your dog eat, so you can see if there’s any change in his chewing pattern or if he experiences eating difficulties. Signs of dental issues include:

  • Bad breath
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pawing at the mouth.

Take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. Even when using holistic dental techniques, dental problems can occur. In some dogs, genetic issues make them prone to dental disease.

A holistic approach to dental health benefits your dog’s entire body. Because your dog consumes an appropriate diet and good dental health minimizes the risk of systemic infection, you’re likely to have your best friend around for a long time.

 

References

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_4/features/Maintaining-Canine-Dental-Health_20501-1.html

http://animalwellnessmagazine.com/alternative-dental-care/

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/the-disturbing-cuase-of-dental-disease-in-dogs/