|Barked: Sun Apr 19, '09 6:30am PST |
|Hi, Roxy! Here's something from an online article:
Why is My Dog Eating Grass?
Causes for a Canine’s Urge to Eat Grass
© Mia Carter
There are several reasons why a dog may be eating grass, ranging from an upset stomach to an instinctive need for more fiber in the diet.
It’s not uncommon for a dog to eat grass, and some canines exhibit this habit more so than others. But it’s a behavior that leaves many pet owners perplexed.
“This is one of the most common questions I get from dog owners,” explained Dr. Michael Levine, DVM, who added, “Sometimes, it’s an indication of something else, like an upset stomach or a diet low in fiber, but it can also be due to something more simple – some dogs simply enjoy the taste of grass.”
An occasional grass salad is not unhealthy, providing that there are no pesticides or other chemicals present on the grass.
Here’s some of the most common causes for this common canine habit:
An Upset Stomach: Many dogs seek out grass when their stomach feels unsettled, upset or overly full. Dogs have very sensitive nerve-endings in their stomach, therefore experts believe that the long thin strips of green stimulate the stomach in a way that triggers vomiting.
In the wild, the ability to induce vomiting can be a valuable skill. Dr. Levine explains: “In the wild, an upset stomach can be deadly. So at the first sign of a problem, it’s a dog’s instinct to try to bring up the meal that’s the source of the discomfort. In the wild, this could save an animal’s life if the food contained a toxin or other dangerous substance and it’s an urge that our domesticated dogs have retained.”
A Need for Fiber: Like humans, animals instinctively seek out foods, nutrients and other substances that their body is lacking. Many studies have revealed that dogs who do not have sufficient fiber content in their regular diet are more likely to seek out grass.
“Many owners report a decrease in grass eating behaviors when more fiber is added to the daily diet in the form of fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, celery and lettuce. Fresh food supplementation also has the benefit of adding interest to meal time and it’s a wonderful source of nutrients,” Dr. Levine explained.
Some Dogs Just Like Greens: In nature, canines are scavengers to a large degree, so plants are a natural part of the dog diet, often indirectly as many prey animals are herbivores and by consuming the animal, the dog also consumes the plant matter that’s present in the prey’s digestive system.
So if a dog is not getting sufficient fiber from their prey, it’s not uncommon for a dog to seek out plant matter like greens, fruits, vegetables and berries. These foods have been a part of the canine diet for thousands of years, and it’s reasonable to expect that dogs will continue to seek out roughage in the years to come. Grass is perhaps among the most accessible of plants, even in an urban environment, so, many dogs have developed a taste for grass simply due to its wide availability.
Dr. Levine concluded, “As long as your dog is eating fresh grass that’s free of chemicals, there’s really no reason for concern unless it’s excessive – that may suggest a problem such as chronic gastrointestinal upset, which is something we would want to investigate. But otherwise, it’s really nothing to worry about – it’s just a normal part of a dog life.”
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