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.


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.


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.


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Healthy Hungry Dog

The Importance of Organic, Raw and Healthy Dog Treats

You feed your dog only the highest quality foods. The same should hold true for treats. Avoid giving your best friend the equivalent of canine candy, and reward him with healthy treats consisting of organic and/or raw ingredients.

What is Organic?

By law, organic meat treats come from livestock that do not receive antibiotics or growth hormone, and in the case of cattle, are grass-fed. Plant products are synthetic fertilizer and pesticide-free. Of course, organic foods are never genetically modified.

When choosing a treat, read the label carefully. Look not only for organic ingredients, but few ingredients overall. With dog treats, less is more. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows a little leeway in foods labeled organic. Up to 5 percent of these foods may contain non-organic ingredients. Avoid treats containing:

  • preservatives
  • grains
  • sugar

Raw Treats

Raw treats are usually freeze-dried, and composed of beef, chicken or lamb liver. Such treats complement an overall raw food diet, based on the philosophy that raw is the natural way for canines to eat. As with any diet, there’s controversy, but dogs don’t care about that. They just love the taste.

Fewer Allergic Triggers

Food allergies in dogs manifest themselves as severe skin issues. If you’ve ever had a pet suffering from a food allergy, you know it’s difficult to treat. That’s because getting to the bottom of a canine food allergy is a matter of trial-and-error. It consists of feeding a new, single source of protein – such as kangaroo or rabbit – to the animal for three months or more, and seeing if symptoms resolve. If there is no improvement, it’s back to the drawing board with another novel protein. If symptoms cease, you must go back to the dog’s original, pre-trial food and see if the allergy re-emerges. It’s not a fun time for you or Fido.

Choosing organic treats reduces the odds of triggering a food allergy in your dog. These treats shouldn’t contain common causes of canine allergic reactions, including:

  • corn
  • soy
  • wheat

Made in the USA

You’ve probably heard reports of dogs getting sick or even dying after ingesting treats made in China or other developing countries. It’s not easy to tell where the materials from a treat originated unless that information is included on the package label. Tainted treats came from American companies that outsourced their manufacturing to other nations. The FDA reports that the majority of the cases involves chicken jerky, but also “duck, sweet potato, and treats where chicken or duck jerky is wrapped around dried fruits, sweet potatoes, or yams.”

If the package doesn’t contain information about where the ingredients originated and where the product was manufactured, call the company and find out.

Dental Hygiene

Organic treats can help your dog maintain healthy teeth and gums. These treats are best given right after your dog’s meals. Look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval.


When given in moderation, organic or raw treats shouldn’t cause your dog to gain weight. That’s because treats with healthy ingredients contain fewer calories than standard dog treats. The latter includes grains along with additives and fillers, all of which boost the calorie count. It’s the difference between a person snacking on a piece of fruit versus potato chips.

Treats and Training

Treats are an ideal reward for any type of training, whether your dog is learning obedience skills or still mastering the concept of eliminating outdoors. For obedience, tricks and other more intense training, your dog might receive a fair amount of treats in each session. While it’s always important to give your dog healthy treats, that’s especially true if he consumes several in a relatively short time period. Look for treats especially designed for training purposes.

High Value Treats

Not all treats are created equal, even if healthy. A nibble of holistic kibble is “low value” – tasty, but not exciting. A high value treat is an item your dog really loves, and will focus on whatever you want him to do to get his reward. Raw treats usually fall into this category. If it’s possible for your dog to love you even more than he already does, high value treats will do the trick.









Lavender Herb And Essential Oil

Essential Oils for Pets

If you’d like to take a more natural, holistic approach to caring for your dog or horse, include certain essential oils in your toolkit. Used medicinally for thousands of years, essential oils are the results of distillation from plant elements. Although there are dozens, if not hundreds, of essential oils on the market, several specific oils are your best bet for use in common canine and equine conditions. When buying oils, make sure they are 100% pure (non-diluted) and certified organic. Most oils can be used on dogs and horses at full strength. Cats are very sensitive to oils like oregano, peppermint, and some cedars, so it’s best to ask the supplier first and then dilute them with a carrier oil.

Using Essential Oils on Dogs

Remember to always dilute essential oils before placing them on your dog. The smaller the dog, the more dilution is required using a “carrier,”such as almond, coconut, olive oil, or aloe vera juice. Never place essential oils around the animal’s eyes, nose, mouth, anus, or genitals. Some dogs may experience reactions to particular oils, so keep an eye on them after application. If they appear uncomfortable, do not use that oil on your pet.

Lavender and Peppermint Oil

If there are just two essentials oil you keep in your cupboard, make it lavender and peppermint oils. Lavender helps calm a nervous dog, and it’s a good tool for canines afraid of thunder, vet visits, automobile rides, or being alone. It’s also great to relieve scratching and itching from food and seasonal allergies. Elderly dogs with cognitive problems or sleeping disorders may benefit from lavender oil. Because lavender oil also acts as an antifungal and antibacterial, it’s useful for treating minor cuts or scrapes. Peppermint helps dogs who get car sick, just apply a small amount on their stomach before you travel. It also relieves hip and joint pain following extreme exercise or to help keep older pets flexible.

Cedarwood and Eucalyptus

If you don’t like the idea of putting powerful pesticides on your dog during flea and tick season, consider using essential oils to keep fleas and ticks at bay. You’ll have to check your dog for these pests daily and use a flea comb frequently to make sure they’re not harboring these bloodsucking creatures. Several essential oils, often blended together, can prevent flea and tick infestation in your dog. Your best choices are cedarwood and eucalyptus, which both work in repelling fleas.

Sweet Marjoram and Helichrysum

Various skin problems afflict dogs, resulting from parasites, allergies and other causes. Your vet must make the actual diagnosis of your dog’s skin issue. Different skin ailments often have similar symptoms, including hair loss and crusty, oozing sores. Certain essential oils can help canine skin issues, whether used in conjunction with conventional therapy or on their own. Sweet marjoram is useful for treating bacterial skin infections, while helichrysum helps relieve the pain and scratching of eczema and reduces skin inflammation. Helichrysum stops bleeding if you cut your pet’s nails too closely. Once again, lavender oil, used alone or blended with sweet marjoram or helichrysum, helps soothe many canine skin problems.

Respiratory Issues

If your dog returns from a boarding kennel or doggie daycare with a harsh, honking cough – but otherwise seems normal – your dog has probably picked up kennel cough. Although it’s always wise to have a vet examine your dog, kennel cough, or Bordetella bronchiseptica, usually runs its course in a couple of weeks without treatment. Think of it as a canine cold. Blend diluted lavender and eucalyptus in a diffuser, allowing your dog to breathe in this aromatherapy to ease congestion.  

Niaouli Oil for Ear infections

Many dogs, especially those with long, hanging ears, suffer from frequent ear infections. Your vet should always examine your dog if you suspect an ear infection. Niaouli oil, with its strong antibacterial properties, can help rid your dog of ear infections, and keep them from returning. Clean your dog’s ears regularly with a niaouli and lavender oil blend to aid in preventing infections.  

Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil should be used with care for dogs only, not for cats – it can be toxic if ingested internally and must be very diluted before used externally. It is helpful for cleaning cuts and scrapes, clearing up fungal infections and stops the itching from bug bites.

Essential Oils for Equines

Because horses are so large, giving them too much of an essential oil isn’t as much of a problem as it is with dogs. They can be applied neat on the chest, down the spine, on the legs and the coronet band. Some oils, although helpful in many situations, cannot be used when showing in rated events. Please check with the AHSA or governing body before you use them during a horse show.


Use lavender to help calm a nervous horse. Let the horse sniff lavender straight from the bottle, or put some of it on the forehead or muzzle. Other essential oils with calming effects on horses include valerian and chamomile. Hint – if you have a nervous rider, apply it on the chest or the mane – as the horse sweats, the scent will ride and keep the rider calm too!

Essential Oils as Fly Deterrents

Protect your horse from flies naturally and efficiently with homemade fly sprays containing essential oils. Mix citronella, peppermint, lavender and bergamot essential oils to repel flies, in a base of aloe vera juice and water. (Do not use the citronella oil used for lanterns on your horse. You want citronella essential oil.)

Hoof Care

Use tea tree oil to cure a horse’s thrush. If your horse suffers an abscess, blend a mixture of Epsom salts in warm water with tea tree, oregano and lavender oils to help it open. Soak the foot in the mix for 20 minutes, twice a day, until the abscess pops. Once the abscess blows and leaves a hole, apply wintergreen oil. It penetrates exceptionally deeply to kill bacteria in the hole.       



Top 15 Antioxidant-Rich Pet Foods and Supplements

Antioxidants are any substances that impede oxidation in the body. That’s the literal meaning of “antioxidant,” but these molecular compounds are important because they protect cells from damage by “free radicals.” Those are atoms with odd numbers of electrons, formed when certain molecules and oxygen interact. Free radicals form a chain reaction and harm cells, but antioxidants can stop the chain reaction before damage is done. The most common antioxidants include:

  • Vitamins A, C and E
  • Alpha lipoic acid – sources include kidney and liver
  • Co-enzyme Q10 – a compound made in the body
  • Curcumin, or turmeric
  • Grape seed extract
  • Lignan – found in plant material such as flaxseed
  • Lutein – found in plant leaves and egg yolk
  • Lycopene –  a carotenoid found in tomatoes
  • Selenium –  a lack of selenium impairs antioxidant protection, but it is toxic in high doses
  • Silymarin – the active ingredient in milk thistle.

While any pet benefits from antioxidant-rich pet foods or supplements, animals suffering from chronic inflammation are in greatest need. That includes dogs or cats exhibiting arthritis symptoms, combating skin ailments, or fighting immune disorders. Quality foods filled with antioxidants can help delay age-related cognitive impairment in canines and felines and improve eyesight.


Top Antioxidant-Rich Pet Foods

Acana – Only fresh, local, sustainable ingredients go into Acana’s dog and cat foods, and nothing is ever outsourced. Available only as dry food.



SoJos – All dog and cat foods contain human-grade ingredients and no chemical additives. Order freeze-dried food or the pre-mix, to which you add homemade dog and cat food. The pre-mix ensures your pet receives all the necessary antioxidants when you make his meals.



Orijen – This Canadian company produces biologically appropriate food for dogs and cats from fresh, regional ingredients. Orijen does not offer canned pet foods, but its dry foods contain freeze-dried ingredients, and completely freeze-dried dog food is available.



Stella and Chewy’s –This company offers freeze-dried or frozen raw meals for dogs and cats, all containing premium meats and organic fruits and vegetables. Thaw raw meals before feeding.



Taste of the Wild – These grain-free canine and feline foods mimic the animal’s ancestral diet. Taste of the Wild is available in canned and dry formulas.



Wellness – Wellness foods for dogs and cats consist of real meat, vegetables and fruits, and are full of antioxidants. Wellness pet foods also contain probiotics and omega fatty acids. Canned and dry foods are available.



Top Antioxidant-Rich Supplements

NaturaVet Aller-911 Skin & Coat Soft Chews – These tasty soft chews provide natural sources of antioxidants and help to support a healthy canine and feline immune system. They assist in ridding the body of environmental pollutants and aid in eliminating allergy-based coat and skin problems. http://animalconnectionva.com/product/naturvet-aller-911-skin-coat-soft-chews/ NaturVet Aller-911 Skin & Coat Tabs – The same product in tablet form. http://animalconnectionva.com/product/naturvet-aller-911-skin-coat-tabs/

Dr. Harvey’s Coenzyme Q10 – Coenzyme Q10 supports cardiovascular health and is especially recommended for older dogs and cats.  https://www.drharveys.com/products/dogs/121-coenzyme-q10-supplement-for-dogs


Grizzly Krill Oil for Dogs – This powerful antioxidant supplement contains astaxanthin, a natural substance found in wild krill in Arctic waters.



Life Line Organic Ocean Kelp Dog and Cat Supplement – This kelp-based supplement contains antioxidants along with essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids.



Mountain Spring Antioxidant Vitamin Pet Chews – These U.S.A.-made chews – and treats – are made from the finest natural ingredients using the company’s proprietary extrusion process.



Nu-Pet Feline Granular with Antioxidants – Even finicky cats will like this product, which helps boost the immune system.



Nutro Ultra Antioxidant Blend Adult Dog Biscuits – This blend contains whole brown rice, oatmeal, flaxseed, salmon meal, blueberries, pomegranate, oat fiber, dried pumpkin and more.  http://www.amazon.com/Antioxidant-Dog-Biscuits-Blueberry-Pomegranate/dp/B005J3XI2A


Primo Pet Products “Essentials” – A digestive enzyme/probiotic/vitamin/mineral blend that brings back balance to the diet and overall well being of dogs or cats. We recommend anyone feeding a dry or canned food add this supplement to bring back valuable “life force” to processed food.



Always consult your animal care provider before giving your pet supplements. Even though antioxidants are generally safe, there is always a possibility of over-supplementation and possible toxicity, depending on the animal’s diet or overall health. Pregnant or lactating animals should not receive certain supplements, nor should pets undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Always tell your animal care provider if your pet experiences any side effects from a supplement, and discontinue the supplementation until the animal has an examination.