Why Does My Pet Eat Grass?
If you’re like most pet owners, you’ve probably noticed your cat or dog eating grass from time to time. Maybe you’ve brushed this behaviour off as a bizarre habit (it can’t have been the oddest thing your pet has done!), or maybe you’re wondering why?
Well there is a reason why your cats and dogs are craving the sharp, green blades of grass in your garden or the houseplants that you so carefully try to keep out of their reach.
- Why Does My Dog Eat Grass?
- Why Does My Cat Eat Grass?
- Is it safe for cats and dogs to eat grass?
- Nutritional Deficiencies
- Preventing the Grass Munchies
- Time for a Vet Visit?
Why does my dog eat grass?
In short, there is not one reason why dogs eat grass, but it’s important to know that it’s completely natural.
Members of the canine family have long been scavengers, meaning that they’re prone to make a meal out of anything in front of them. As long as their bodies are getting the nutrients they need, dogs don’t care what they eat. Because your favourite lap dog doesn’t hunt and eat prey like its wild counterparts, your pup may be craving plant foods.
After all, wolves eat grass, too—somewhere between 11 and 47 percent of them in fact!
2. Upset Stomach
Dogs may also eat vegetation when they have an upset stomach. Eating grass can help your dog to vomit, or it might even cause them to. However, studies have failed to prove that this is the reason dogs do eat grass.
Once they are back to normal afterwards, this is not a cause for concern, but if it’s prolific behaviour, you may need to look at ways in which their diet might be improved.
3. It Tastes Good!
It’s likely that most dogs eat grass simply because it tastes good, particularly during Spring and Summer months when the grass is fresh and lush!
Why does my cat eat grass?
To date, studies have yet to prove exactly why your cat might decide to munch on your lawn, but there are a few widely accepted theories.
1. To Help Indigestion
Felines, on the other hand, tend to prefer a hearty helping of grass in their diet in order to prevent indigestion. Whether or not your cat lives indoors, outdoors, or both, it’s important to understand that members of the cat family eat every part of their prey.
Yes, this means bones and other indigestible parts!
Eating grass, which prompts felines to vomit the contents of their stomach, may have begun as a way to eject these inedible portions from their digestive tract. Even cats that don’t live outdoors and have an opportunity to hunt and eat live prey are well familiar with stubborn hairballs. In these cases, eating grass (and subsequently vomiting) can prove equally beneficial.
2. Folic Acid
Grass juice contains folic acid which is found in a cat’s mother’s milk. Folic acid is a vitamin which helps digestion and supports cell growth. If your cat feels like they have a nutritional deficiency, they may try eating grass to balance this deficiency.
If you think this might be the case, take a look at the nutritional information on your cat’s food, and maybe speak to your vet about your cat’s nutrition.
You can also check out Nutri-Vit Plus, which is a high-calorie and tasty nutritional supplement for cats. It provides a range of essential vitamins and minerals, including folic acid.
Is it safe for cats and dogs to eat grass?
Eating grass is a natural activity for dogs and cats, when it’s done in moderation. However, if your grass has been treated with pesticides or herbicides it can be harmful to their health.
Excessive grass eating might also be an indication of nutrition deficiencies or of some more sinister stomach issues your pet may have.
If you think that your dog or cat may be eating too much grass, or if they’re vomiting very frequently after indulging, it might be time to take a closer look.
Consider your furry friend’s diet. Is your cat or dog getting the nutrients they need? Try checking the ingredients of the diet you’re currently providing your pet, then assess how much you’re feeding him each day.
It’s possible that a need to eat grass can be due to a nutritional deficiency, so always be conscious of your pet’s diet and speak to a vet if you’re uncertain whether or not he’s receiving the vitamins and minerals he needs.
Preventing the Grass Munchies
While it’s perfectly normal for your cat or dog to munch on grass, you might notice a few worrying signs such as a preoccupation with grass or a tendency to eat grass rather than actual food.
If this is the case, double-check the diet, since an inadequate diet could result in stomach upset or nutritional deficiency prompting excess grass consumption. You might try changing foods or introducing a new type of food to your pet’s daily consumption.
If you do make changes, keep them gradual and careful so that you do not make any possible problems with indigestion worse!
Time for a Vet Visit?
Again, it’s important to understand that a dog eating grass or a cat indulging in greenery is perfectly normal behaviour.
However, there’s nothing wrong with finding concern in your pet’s grass-eating habits. If you get the feeling that your dog or cat eating grass is becoming a too-frequent occurrence, go ahead and give your local vet a call.
A few signs in particular will help you to understand when it’s necessary to seek professional attention in order to help curb your pet’s grass addiction. Most certainly check with a vet if you notice:
- Excessive grass consumption
- Your dog or cat eating grass in place of their regular food (such as wet food, kibble, or treats)
- Your pet eating grass (and vomiting said grass) multiple times within a few hours
- General signs of illness including lethargy, excessive vomiting, dehydration, weakness, or a change in personality
Unless you notice one of these signs, there’s probably no reason to worry, but when in doubt, play it safe.
And remember that, particularly for indoor cats who may not often find the grass they crave at their disposal, a houseplant of plain grass can be a great treat. This cat grass can be purchased in pots and maintained indoors for cats to nibble at their leisure or whenever they have the urge to expel a particularly rough hairball. Even better, you can rest assured that this grass is safe and healthy for your kitty.
If you’ve got a green thumb, you’ll be pleased to know that you can even grow your own pet grass for both cats and dogs! Whatever you do, remember to allow them to indulge every now and then. It’s in their nature, after all.