Dogs and cats are primarily meat eaters, so why do we sometimes catch our pets chewing on grass in the yard? As strange as it seems, it’s actually quite common behavior and it’s not necessarily dangerous. In fact, it can actually be a good sign in some cases. Read on to understand what exactly attracts your pets to those glorious blades of greenery.
Most cats are pure carnivores, so they actually can’t digest plant matter. In fact, some plants can even be poisonous to your pets! Luckily, grass is harmless, but it can help expel unwanted toxins from the body. When cats need to get rid of bones, hair, fur, or other indigestible materials, they may eat grass as a laxative or to trigger a natural gag reflex. Similarly, dogs often use grass as a way to ease an upset stomach.
Eating grass often results in vomiting, but unless the vomit is excessive or contains blood, owners don’t have to be too concerned. Just make sure to keep your pet well hydrated and keep an eye out for any other symptoms of distress. If the grass eating and vomiting persists over a long period of time, however, it could be a symptom of a different problem. Your pet’s foliage habit could be their way of treating worms, food allergies, overeating, etc. The best way to find out is getting your pet checked up by the veterinarian. Better safe than sorry, right?
Dogs are naturally omnivores in the wild, so grazing on your front lawn may be their way of satisfying a natural instinct to consume greens. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should start feeding your dog a vegan diet. Their diet still needs an adequate amount of quality protein from meat, but they may be craving a fibrous supplement.
Likewise, cats may eat grass even if they can’t digest it because grass contains dietary benefits. For example, it has folic acid, which regulates oxygen. If your pets are regularly eating grass, this may be a sign that they are lacking vital nutrients. Consult with your veterinarian about making changes to your pet’s diet if you believe this is an issue. You can start incorporating certain fruits and vegetables for dogs and vitamins for cats.
Let’s face it, there’s not much for animals to do when they’re stuck at home all day. Cats and dogs are intelligent, playful, curious creatures and they may simply want to know what grass tastes like. If they like how it tastes or feels, they may just continue gnawing on it for fun. It’s similar to how humans like to eat sugary treats or fast food! It may not necessarily be healthy, but it satisfies a specific craving.
While eating grass may be normal, there are still precautions owners need to take for their pets. Grass in public spaces could be treated with harmful pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals that are harmful when they are digested. Certain plants are also toxic to animals and it can be easy for your pet to accidentally ingest them when they’re grazing grass.
To prevent your furry friends from consuming the wrong plants, limit their grass eating habit to your own yard where you can control the environment. There are also specialty wheat and oat grass kits designed for in-home use if you don’t have an outdoor area. And if your pet does enjoy a little nibble outside once in a while, keep an eye out to make sure they’re not overdoing it. Lure them over with a little treat – it’s sure to be more appetizing than a handful of grass!
We hope that answers your question! There are a lot of reasons your pet could be attracted to eating grass and that’s okay as long as they are carefully monitored before, during, and after their “snack”. Our Anaheim veterinarian is trained to treat both domestic and exotic animals at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center. If you have questions or you would like to book an appointment, give us a call! We’re happy to help.