Why does my dog eat grass and weeds?

Dogs are omnivorous animals and can eat both vegetables and meat. But why do dogs feed on grass? And why do dogs eat weed? To answer these questions, this post will talk about feeding some vegetables by dogs and what are the benefits and harms.

Why does my dog eat grass and weeds?

Main reasons for the consumption of grass by dogs is that the grass can have a pleasant taste for dogs in addition to helping with digestion and reducing gastrointestinal discomfort. Some grass can be used as entertainment by dogs.

Dogs should not ingest plants as weed. Weed can intoxicate the dog leading to nervous changes that can lead to the animals death. Most of the time dogs can ingest this type of plant accidentally, so it is important to take care that the animal does not have access to this type of vegetable.

Grass in the dog’s diet

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. Grass for being beneficial to the dog can be used as a form of entertainment for the animals.

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.

Some dogs may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort which can happen for a variety of reasons. The most common are:

  • Worms;
  • Food poisoning;
  • Foreign bodies.

Worms are gastrointestinal parasites that can reduce the dogs nutrient absorption, leading to weight loss and even anemia in 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 gasses. 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 that can stimulate gastrointestinal motility expelling the foreign body without the need for a surgical procedure. However, consultation and evaluation by the veterinarian is always indicated.

Ideally, dogs should feed on grass so that the tutors know 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.

Weed in the Dog Diet

Unlike many grass species, Weed is a plant that has toxic components for dogs. After ingestion of weed by the animal, the drug is metabolized in the liver and the active compound formed acts mainly on the central nervous system with clinical signs such as:

  • Dilated pupils;
  • Tremors;
  • Too much drooling;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Lethargy;
  • Seizures.

Usually the consumption of weed by dogs happens accidentally. Many dogs can ingest it along with other foods and thus become intoxicated. It is important to leave this type of plant separate from the place where the dogs are. And in case of poisoning, the dog should be taken to the veterinarian for proper treatment.

Vegetables allowed in the dog’s diet

Vegetables and fruits can benefit many dogs’ diets. Before offering any food to the animal, it is important to consult a veterinary nutritionist so that he can establish a balanced diet for this species.

For dogs that eat industrial food, vegetables can be used as a snack. Since industrial foods supply all the dogs’ nutritional needs.

Some vegetables and fruits that can be eaten by dogs:

Vegetables:

  • Lettuce;
  • Green cabbage;
  • Parsley;
  • Spinach;
  • Carrot;
  • Broccoli;
  • Beet;
  • Pod;
  • Potato;
  • Pumpkin;
  • Yam.

Fruits:

  • Banana;
  • Kiwi;
  • Strawberry;
  • Melon;
  • Cashew;
  • Mango;
  • Watermelon.

What to do in cases of poisoning

In addition to weed, some grass species and some plants can be toxic to dogs. Consumption of this type of food should be avoided.

If the animal eats some toxic plant, some symptoms can be observed such as:

  • Loss of appetite;
  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Prostration;
  • Weight loss;
  • Fetid odor in the mouth;
  • Neurological signs.

After observing the consumption of the toxic plant, the animal should be taken to the veterinarian. If you do not know if the plant that the dog ate is toxic, it is recommended to take a leaf or a plant branch to the veterinarian.

The animal will be under observation and received fluid therapy and medication to prevent intoxication symptoms. With proper treatment, dogs can recover and live normally. However, when not treated, there can be an aggravation to the dogs health, which can lead to their death.

Conclusion

Dogs can have a varied diet as they are omnivorous animals. So, they can eat grass, which is rich in fiber and vitamins that can benefit dogs. However, some foods like weed can be toxic and lead to damage to the dog’s health. Before introducing a new food into the dog’s diet, a veterinary nutritionist should be consulted, to avoid nutritional imbalance in the dog’s diet and to prevent the dog from feeding on toxic foods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why does my dog eat grass and weeds?

 What happens to a dog that eats weed?

The dog can become intoxicated and thus present complications that, if not monitored and treated, can lead to death.

Main symptoms of weed ingestion by dogs:

  • Dilated pupils;
  • Tremors;
  • Too much drooling;
  • Loss of motor coordination or involuntary movements;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Lethargy;
  • Seizures.

What to do when the dog has diarrhea?

The tutor should seek a veterinarian immediately. Since the loss of water and nutrients can lead the dog to dehydration and death.  

And with veterinary treatment, the animal tends to improve and go home healthy.

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.

Filho, T. A. B., Moreira, A. W. L., De Amorim, B., Viana, D. C. C. D. S., & Rocha, G. D. O. O excesso de carboidrato na dieta dos cães domésticos.

Picture from flirck.com

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