Should Dogs Eat Grass?

August 8, 2012

Is grass healthy for dogs?  Why do they eat it?  Is there something missing in the canine diet?  Those are all legitimate questions with few answers.  Dogs eat grass to satisfy some internal instinct when they don’t feel well, possibly because grass contains minerals, vitamins and live enzymes that they believe make them feel better.  Some animals eat it just because it’s there.  Whatever the reasons for pets ingesting grass, it isn’t always a good idea.

Most pet owners know that pet-proofing the home is a necessary fact of life to protect our furry friends.  However, grass isn’t one of those items we usually think of as hazardous material.  It can be a real problem, though, because dogs with free access to a lawn will investigate and sometimes eat the green stuff.

Think about how you care for your lawn and shrubs.  Do you use a professional service?  Have you asked what chemicals they place on your grass and plants?  Or do you use pesticides yourself to improve the looks of your yard?  Chemicals on the plants and on your grass could kill your pets.  Even if they don’t eat the vegetation, they may walk on it and later lick those chemicals off their paws.  Ask your lawn service to give you a list of the chemicals they use on your property, even if they say they are safe for animals.  Then research that list on the Internet to be certain or ask your veterinarian.  Your dog’s life is far too special to take a chance on toxic chemicals.  For the sake of your pets, practice organic gardening and choose plants that don’t pose a danger to your animal’s well-being.

Where I live, nearly everyone’s property includes palms in various varieties.  Sago palms are common and can cause serious health issues for dogs.  When you plant annuals and perennials, try to use those that are not toxic to animals.   Certain flower bulbs, which dogs love to dig up, are poisonous if eaten.  Lilies are reputed to be toxic  to dogs and cats, although the bunnies in my yard certainly enjoy them.  Our dogs only go outside on leash, so they never have access to the plants or flowers and we are very careful about what goes on the lawn itself.

Our Weimaraner with his separation anxiety issues is the poster boy for tummy upsets.  We rush him outside on leash as soon as the heaves begin, and he invariably heads for a particular patch of grass to settle his stomach.  Obviously, that’s not a good idea.  It is up to us owners to keep our pets away from outdoor hazards.

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