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/

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/

Dog with Vestibular Syndrome

Natural Treatments for Vestibular Syndrome in Dogs

Old age ain’t for sissies, and that’s as true for dogs as it is for people. Elderly –and sometimes middle-aged – dogs may develop vestibular syndrome, which also goes by the name “old dog vestibular syndrome.” Another term is “canine idiopathic vestibular syndrome,” with idiopathic meaning “of unknown origin.” Although symptoms of vestibular syndrome are scary, the good news is it’s not a life-threatening condition and most dogs recover fairly well.

Vestibular Syndrome

The vestibular system, located in the brain and inner ear, maintains the body’s balance and orients it to its position in space. When the vestibular system is out of whack, the affected creature no longer has a sense of where his or her body is positioned. Vestibular syndrome comes on rapidly, which is one reason it’s so frightening to dog owners. A perfectly healthy older canine suddenly develops various neurological issues. Signs of vestibular syndrome include:

  • Head tilt
  • Circling
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Falling over – one side only
  • Nystagmus – eyes moving back and forth
  • Rolling
  • Wide stance
  • Other neurological problems
  • Loss of appetite – due to nausea from balance problems
  • Vomiting – also resulting from nausea.

Some of these symptoms are found in serious diseases, such as strokes, severe infections or brain tumors. That’s why it is always necessary to get a definite diagnosis from your animal care provider.

Natural Treatments

Severely affected dogs may require sedatives to help them relax, or motion sickness drugs to stop vomiting. If your dog is less afflicted, natural remedies such as lavender essential oil can help them calm down. Rather than place the oil directly on the dog, put drops on the collar or a bandana around the neck. Other natural methods and means to help dogs with vestibular syndrome include:

  • Acupuncture – treatment can help a dog suffering from vestibular syndrome. Try to have the first acupuncture session as soon as possible after diagnosis. Some dogs show improvement within a few hours.
  • Gentle exercise – inactivity in an old dog only makes his joints stiffer and can delay the recovery process. Your vet will advise you on suitable ways to walk your dog, such as using a special harness to help keep him upright.
  • Physical therapy – a veterinary physical therapist can design exercises specifically for your dog and his symptoms.
  • Floor mats – invest in some inexpensive floor mats with good grip, and place them around your dog’s bed and other places she likes to rest. The more secure footing provided will help her get up and moving.

If a practitioner is available, you may want to consider reiki, T-touch, or energy healing to help your dog recuperate.

Food and Water

Because your dog feels nauseous, they may not want to eat or drink. It’s easy for a dog with vestibular syndrome to become dehydrated and require intravenous solutions from the vet. One way of getting nourishment and liquids into your pet is by feeding chicken broth with some boiled chicken. It’s gentle on the stomach and a good start to getting your dog eating and drinking again. Make sure your dog always has water available and offer it regularly if reaching the bowl on his own is problematic.

Time Heals

The most natural treatment for vestibular syndrome is tincture of time. Most dogs recover from vestibular syndrome within days or weeks, although a head tile may remain permanently. A second instance of vestibular syndrome is rare, but does occur. If your dog does experience a recurrence, you’re less likely to panic the way you did initially, but it’s still wise to have the vet examine your pet.

 

References

http://vestibular.org/sites/default/files/page_files/Vestibular%20disease%20in%20dogs%20and%20cats.pdf

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2011/oct/old_dog_vestibular_disease-11847

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/vestibular-disease-in-dogs/856

http://peterdobias.com/blogs/blog/14495125-vestibular-syndrome-in-dogs-natural-treatment-and-prevention