Until recently, veterinarians could only speculate on the reason. Common theories included: The pet must be sick and needs to vomit. Or perhaps there is something wrong with his diet.
But according to new research, neither of these answers appears to be correct. A new study yielded some interesting results! They found that very few – about 9% – appeared to be ill before eating grass. And less than one in four vomited afterward.
Diet or lack of fiber also had no effect on the dogs’ desire to eat these leafy greens. So if most of these dogs weren’t sick, seldom vomited, and diet wasn’t a factor, why were they eating grass? It may be a trait leftover from more than 20,000 years ago, when canines in the wild ate grass to purge their systems of intestinal parasites. No one can say for sure!
The study also revealed that younger dogs are more likely to eat grass than their adult counterparts. So should you ever be concerned when your dog eats grass? Don’t allow your pet on a lawn that has recently been treated for pests or weeds.
If you are concerned about anything your dog has eaten, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. Hart says that pet owners should be alert to any changes in a pet’s behavior, such as a sudden increase in grass eating. Keep in mind that 9% of the dogs in the study showed signs of illness before eating grass. This suggests that the dog is trying to medicate himself. Grass isn’t bad when you’re living in nature. But your veterinarian has far more effective medications to treat the problem.
But What About Cats? Cats eat grass less often than dogs, but they tend to eat a wider variety of plants. This can present problems, because cats are increasingly kept indoors where the only plants available may be houseplants, several of which are poisonous. If your cat likes to eat plants, you could try putting out a homegrown or commercial grass garden. “By having grass readily available, cats will tend to avoid the other plants and will be less likely to go after something that might be toxic. Common symptoms that might indicate plant poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation and irritation of the lips.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435.
Source: This article appeared on healthypet.com http://www.healthypet.com/PetCare/PetsMatter