Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Does your dog eat grass?
Nearly every dog eats grass sometimes, and some dogs eat it all the time. You would think that veterinarians would have a pretty good idea by now of why they do it. But they do not, mainly because no one has figured out how to ask dogs two important questions: “Do you like the taste?” and “If it tastes so good, why do you throw it up?”
Dog's have very liberal tastes. Dogs survived by scavenging. When they could not catch live prey, which was a lot of the time, they would eat the ancient equivalent of roadkill. When meat was not available, they would root around for tender leafy stalks, or roots, or an old polished bone. They are predisposed to like just about everything.
In addition, there’s some evidence that dogs get cravings for certain foods. It is possible that dogs occasionally get a hankering for greens, just as people do. It is not as strange as it may sound. Grass was part of their ancestors’ regular diets.
Dogs are omnivores, which means they eat meat as well as plants. They do not need grassy nutrients any more because most commercial dog foods are nutritionally complete. But dogs are not nutritionists. They do not know or care that they have gotten their vitamin or mineral quotients from a bowl of kibble. Their instincts tell them that grass is good, so they eat it. For many dogs, a mouthful of grass clearly tastes great. It is like a salad – they eat some, then want more.
It is a myth that dogs eat grass when they are sick, but watch out what grass your dog is eating.
Dogs have been eating grass for thousands or tens of thousands of years, and there is no evidence at all that it is bad for them. That is not the case, however, when grass has been treated with insecticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. Most products say on the label whether they are dangerous for pets. In any event, you should certainly keep dogs away from grass soon after chemicals have been applied. Most products break down fairly quickly, but they can be quite dangerous if your dog eats them while they are fresh.