You glance out your window and you dog is at it again – munching contentedly on the grass in your backyard. You may wonder just why he does this – after all, don’t you feed him enough?
Sarasota and Tampa homeowners are often perplexed and alarmed when their cats and dogs begin eating their grass, wondering if this is something they should be concerned about. Experts tell us that in most cases, the answer is no – but you can take some measures to try to stop the behavior.
Reasons Your Pet May be Eating Grass
There are several reasons why your dog or cat may have taken to eating grass.
- Not Feeling Well? A common theory which many people ascribe to is that their pet is ill, and feels nauseous. Pet owners have guessed that their pet is trying to ease their stomach, or to cause vomiting which will make them feel better. Experts agree this is likely not the case, however, as the animals (although smart) are not intuitive enough to come to that type of conclusion. In fact, in studies it was found that only 10% of dogs who ate grass didn’t feel well. This leaves the vast majority of animals eating grass for some other reason.
- Getting Too Bored? A more plausible reason, according to the experts, is that your pet is simply bored. While this is tough to remedy in a cat, you can absolutely provide more play time and exercise to your dog. Puppies are especially susceptible to boredom, but are also plenty of fun to play with! A tired dog is both happy and fulfilled – and shouldn’t react out of boredom.
- Experiencing Pica? Pica is an eating disorder which covers your pet eating anything which is not food. This can include grass, or more dire items which are completely inedible. Dogs experiencing pica often are trying to satiate some nutritional deficiency. Therefore if your pet is eating grass on a regular basis try giving them a high quality food with a abundant fiber component. In many cases this will stop the animal from eating inappropriately.
When to Be Concerned
Although eating grass is typically not harmful to your pet there are situations when you should be rightly concerned.
An animal who eats grass may vomit afterwards -in fact, many do. This in and of itself does not indicate an issue; however if you find this to be the normal daily routine, you may wish to bring them to a veterinarian. The biggest threat lies in the pesticides and herbicides which Sarasota and Tampa homeowners routinely use on their lawns. These chemical compounds are often quite toxic to your pet, and if they ingest them you should absolutely keep an eye on their behavior. Vomiting after ingesting chemicals is likely cause for a visit to their doctor.
If you have a lawn care service, ask them if the products they use are toxic to children and animals, and then be sure to keep both away from the lawn for a safe period of time.
In summary, if you have pets who are eating your grass you can try a few things. Increase their play and exercise times, give them healthy treats to gnaw on, and give them a quality, high fiber food. And be sure to educate yourself as to the toxicity of the lawncare products you choose to fertilize your grass. If you have any questions as to pet-safe or natural products, ask the experts at Big Earth Landscape Supply – or shop our online store. We are here to help.