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Why Do Pets Eat Grass?

There are various conjectures and theories on the subject of grass-eating. Eating grass seems to be a normal behavior for pets, despite what other things we think that their diet should consist of. There have been numerous studies that have tried to find a connection with grass eating and illness, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, or lack of roughage in the diet.

Unfortunately, none have produced any tangible connection to any particular problem. Some pets may just like the taste or texture of grass. In the wild, dogs take in grass as part of their diet when they eat herbivores. As a result, they may be accustomed to the flavor of grass, and continue to require it as part of their daily diet. Pets may eat grass because their prepared diets are lacking in greens. As a result, pets sometimes seek out a certain type of grass to eat.

Dogs might have more of a proclivity towards eating grass because, unlike cats, dogs are herbivores that survived in the wild as scavengers. This tendency allows for fruits and vegetables to fulfill for nutrition. Grass actually offers nutrition that is essential to a dog’s diet, so a dog might consume grass if they are not being fed with adequate nutrients.1

Do Dogs Eat Grass to Make Themselves Vomit?:
Most veterinarians believe that vomiting occurs naturally as a consequence of grass eating, and not because the dog was trying to make itself vomit due to an upset stomach. When dogs eat grass, the grass can act as an irritant and causes vomiting. However, if a dog does have an upset stomach, dogs might seek out grass as a quick remedy to expel anything that is upsetting them.

The only evidence that indicates that this might be the case is that dogs often tend to chew grass without swallowing it or nibble on grass when well. On the other hand, dogs who might be feeling ill tend to gulp down the grass in large quantities. However, this may be because they find the texture of the grass enjoyable to consume.2

Is Eating Grass Helpful or Harmful?
Grass acts as an internal cleanser, which in turn may expel mucus and bile. It also cleanses the bowl and can expel worms. Cereal grasses contain enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. In addition, grass contains chlorophyll, which was once used for relieving pain, treating infections, ulcers, and skin diseases before antibiotics were developed.

Some pet owners grow grass specifically to give to their pets to prevent or treat diarrhea, anemia, cataracts, fleas, tumors excessive shedding and other pet health problems. Pets that are fed grass on a regular basis are less likely to crave outdoor grass.3

The problem with eating whole grass is that each blade is covered with microscopic barbs that can cause stomach and throat irritation. It is these barbs that cause sickness in animals that have consumed grass and if grass did not contain the barbs, then the grass could likely be consumed and digested without much difficulty.

How Can I Stop My pet From Eating Grass?
As previously stated, grass contains essential nutrients for a dog’s diet that may be the driving force in grass consumption among dogs. These nutrients can also likely aid cats and may lead to consumption from cats as well. To prevent your pet from consuming grass, simply ensure that their diet is comprehensive and they are getting all the nutrients they need from their current food.

Additionally, if your pet enjoys the texture of grass and consumes it despite having adequate nutrition, there are replacements for your pet to chew on that will not upset their stomach. Because the barbs of grass are what upsets pet stomachs, grass without these barbs or fresh juice from grass make great alternatives for your pet.

NOTE: Make sure that your pet does not eat grass that has been treated with fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides to avoid an upset stomach and potentially serious complications.

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