Should I let my dog eat grass

Can dogs eat grass? Can the dogs eating grass mean that the animal is sick? This post will talk about grass consumption by dogs and whether these animals can feed on this type of food.

Should I let my dog eat grass

Yes, you can let your dog eat grass, and you can also offer some natural grass to your pet. Dogs in the wild eat some types of grass, in addition to gnawing on trees and branches. The dog is an omnivorous animal and can feed on various types of food such as meats and vegetables.

Grass can be of several species; that is why it is important to be careful to prevent the dog from eating toxic grass or doing any kind of harm to the dog’s health.

Do dogs only eat grass when they are sick?

No, dogs can eat grass when healthy. Grass can bring several benefits to the dog and its consumption can be encouraged by tutors.

Some tutors believe that seeing the dog eating grass is because he is feeling sick. In fact, healthy dogs can have this habit. And some sick dogs can also eat grass for relief of abdominal discomfort.

To know if the animal is eating grass because it is feeling sick, it is necessary to associate this behavior with other clinical signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, prostration and loss of appetite.

If the animal does not show any symptoms, grass consumption can be considered normal. For dogs that live in an apartment, there are some grams that are sold in pet stores specifically for dogs.

Benefits of grass consumption by dogs.

Grass is not a food used essentially to feed dogs, but it can have some benefits from its consumption by these animals due to the amount of fiber and vitamins present in its composition.

Main reasons for grass consumption by dogs

  • Aid in digestion;
  • Flavor;
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort;
  • Entertaining.

Aid in digestion

Grass is a type of plant rich in fiber, so the consumption of grass by the dog stimulates gastrointestinal motility, thus helping the dogs digestion.

Excess fiber from grass can also help in the formation of fecal bolus, thus preventing the formation of trichobezoar, that is, hairballs that can avoid intestinal transit, leading to serious health problems for dogs.

Flavor 

A few grasses can be appetizing to dogs. So, these might like to nibble on some leaves. Care must be taken as there are several plants that can be toxic to the dog. So, these plants should be avoided.

Ideally, dogs should feed on grass that the tutors knows where they come from. Grass on the street should be avoided, as not knowing what type of grass the dog is eating can lead to health risks for the animal. 

In addition, grass from outdoor areas such as parks, squares and streets can be used as a toilet by other dogs. Thus, the ingestion of grass from external areas can favor contamination with gastro-intestinal parasites.

Gastrointestinal discomfort

Some dogs may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort which can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common are worms, food poisoning and foreign bodies.

  • Worms are gastrointestinal parasites that can be a big problem for the dog’s health. These parasites can reduce the nutrient absorption by the dogs, leading to weight loss and even anemia in these animals. To avoid worms, dogs should visit the vet annually for stool exams and use of medications such as deworming.
  • Food poisoning can lead to abdominal discomfort due to the presence of intestinal gas. Dogs may experience vomiting, diarrhea, prostration, and lack of appetite. Some animals eat some grass to reduce the discomfort, but many times the dogs end up vomiting the grass ingested. It is important to take the animal to the veterinarian before the animal gets worse.
  • Foreign bodies can be objects or even trichobezoars that reduce gastrointestinal motility, which can lead to damage to the intestine. So, the dogs, when feeling the discomfort, end up ingesting some grass leaves, the fibers present in this food can stimulate motility expelling the foreign body without the need for a surgical procedure. However, consultation and evaluation by the veterinarian is always indicated.

Entertainment

Many dogs spend a lot of the day alone, so many animals end up bored, the search for new things to do to reduce anxiety causes these animals to have furniture destroying behavior. Another common behavior is that dogs destroy some plants and many times the animal ends up eating a leaf or another. The problem is that some plants can be toxic and end up making the dog sick.

When to worry?

If the dog doesn’t have any other symptoms and is just eating grass, there’s not much to worry about. However, if the dog starts to show symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, prostration, difficulty in defecation and the presence of blood in the stool, the tutor should seek help from a veterinary doctor.

In the veterinary evaluation, physical, imaging and laboratory tests can be performed to diagnose the dog’s health problem, thus making possible the appropriate treatment of the animal.

How to prevent the dog to eating grass

A healthy dog that expends energy on toys and play and eats a balanced diet does not tend to eat grass or any other type of plant.

To prevent the appearance of diseases that can lead to the consumption of grass by dogs, animals should periodically consult with a veterinarian. The Veterinarian will assess the animal’s conditions in addition to indicating balanced foods and physical activity practices such as the dog to prevent the dog from getting sick.

Conclusion

The consumption of grass by dogs can be a beneficial fact for animals. Not always that a dog eats grass is a sign that he is sick. Dogs can eat grass out of habit, because they like the taste of grass and sometimes they can end up consuming grass in moments of anxiety and stress. Dogs should go to the vet at least once a year for assessments of the animal’s health. Dogs can eat grass when they experience gastrointestinal discomfort, but along with grass consumption they also have other clinical signs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Should I let my dog eat grass

Health problems that lead the dog to eat grass?

The main problems that lead dogs to feed on grass are:

  • Poor nutrition;
  • Dehydration;
  • Worms;
  • Foreign bodies;
  • Abdominal discomfort.

How to make the dog stop eating grass?

By improving the dog’s quality of life and health status. Dogs that constantly visit the vet and are healthy, have a physical activities routine and a balanced diet, often do not need to feed on grass.

What foods are toxic for dogs?

Common foods that are highly toxic to dogs are:

  • Grapes and Raisins;
  • Xylitol;
  • Chocolate;
  • Tea;
  • Coffee;
  • Onions;
  • Garlic;
  • Alcohol.

Reference

Bjone, S. J., Brown, W. Y., & Price, I. R. (2007). Grass eating patterns in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris. Recent advances in animal nutrition in Australia, 16, 45-49.

de MIRANDA, A. L. S., Benito, S. O. T. O., & Melo, M. M. (2017). Intoxicações de cães por drogas recreativas: maconha e cocaína.

Feliciano, M. A. R., Saad, F. M. O. B., Logato, P. V. R., Aquino, A. A., José, V. A., & Roque, N. C. (2009). Efeitos de probióticos sobre a digestibilidade, escore fecal e características hematológicas em cães. Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, 61, 1268-1274. Chicago  

Macedo, H. T., Vendramini, T. H. A., Rentas, M. F., Risolia, L. W., Oba, P. M., Zafalon, R., … & Brunetto, M. A. CAPÍTULO X MICROBIOMA DE CÃES. Novos Desafios da Pesquisa em Nutrição e Produção Animal, 190.

Bjone, S. J., Brown, W. Y., & Price, I. R. (2007). Grass eating patterns in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris. Recent advances in animal nutrition in Australia, 16, 45-49.

Picture from flirck.com

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