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WHY YOUR CAT OR DOG EATS GRASS





DOGS

Nearly 80% of dogs who have access to grass will occasionally eat it. Pica is the technical term for the disorder characterized by eating things that aren’t food. Sometimes pica indicates that your dog has some type of nutritional deficiency, though it is often simply a sign of boredom, especially when practiced by puppies and younger dogs.

In fact, most veterinarians consider it a normal dog behavior. One small-scale study of 49 dog owners whose dogs had regular access to grass and other plants found that 79% of the dogs had eaten plants at some time. Another survey about plant-eating dogs found that grass was the most commonly eaten plant.

1. Upset Stomach-Some people propose that dogs might turn to eating grass when they don’t feel well as a way to make themselves vomit, and then feel better. Others dispute this idea, on the basis that dogs are not proven to be smart enough to decide to treat an upset stomach by eating grass.


2. Fiber-Other suggested reasons why your dog might be eating grass include improving digestion, treating intestinal worms, or fulfilling some unmet nutritional need, including the need for fiber.

Three days after putting the dog on a high-fiber diet, the owner reported that the dog stopped eating grass entirely. On the chance that your dog’s pica behavior is caused by a nutritional deficiency, switching to a better dog food, especially a high-fiber variety, could help alleviate the problem. And, of course, there is also the possibility that your dog simply likes the way grass tastes or feels. Dogs need roughage in their diets and grass is a good source of fiber. A lack of roughage affects the dog’s ability to digest food and pass stool, so grass may actually help their bodily functions run more smoothly.


3. Boredom-If you suspect your dog is eating grass because they are bored, it might be beneficial to be sure they are getting enough exercise. Engage them in some fun activities. Try tossing a Frisbee or playing another interactive game with them, or buy them a sturdy chew toy to keep them occupied.

Dogs in the wild balanced their diets by eating what they hunted—all of what they hunted including meat, bones, internal organs, and stomach contents of their prey. Eating an entire animal provided a fairly balanced diet, especially when the prey’s stomach contained grass and plants that fulfilled the dog’s need for fiber.

Dogs are not true carnivores (strictly meat eaters), but they are not exactly omnivores (meat and plant eaters) either; dogs in the wild consume anything that helps fulfill their basic dietary requirements.

Although most experts agree that grazing itself isn’t harmful, one thing to keep in mind is that certain herbicides and pesticides used on lawns can be quite toxic, especially if ingested. Additionally, a number of common house and garden plants are toxic, which could lead to problems if your dog munches on them along with the grass. ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center .







CATS

1. Your cat could be seeking health benefits

Your cat may graze on grass to boost its vitamin levels. Grass contains a nutrient called folic acid, which helps move oxygen through the blood stream. Some experts theorize that eating grass may also help ease sore throats, while others believe cats do it simply because they enjoy the taste and texture.

2. To quicken its bowel movements

Your cat has predatory instincts and, as a result, it hunts small animals such as mice and birds. These animals have little bones, fur and feathers, not all of which can pass through a cat’s digestive tract with ease. For this reason, cats may use grass as a laxative to help with digestion.

3. To induce vomiting

As cats lack the enzymes to break down too much grass, they may eat it to induce vomiting and clear out indigestible material (such as fur and feathers) from their stomachs. If your cat’s predatory habits concern you, see this article on how to stop your cat killing birds .




Veterinarians sometimes recommend providing your cat with appropriate greenery to eat, such as cat grass or catnip so it won’t graze on anything that may have been sprayed with chemicals or fertilizers. A cat garden can also make a colorful display. Felines enjoy attractive edible flowers such as zinnias, marigolds and Johnny-jump-ups, as well as catnip, cat thyme, oat grass, rosemary and bean sprouts.




WHY DOGS EAT POOP

Dogs eating poop is also considered common dog behavior. In fact at least 1 in 6 dogs will eat poop.

1. One of the most basic reasons that a dog may eat poop comes from natural behavior learned by their Mother. Mother dogs may do it to clean up. After having a litter, mothers will often eat the poop of their puppies to keep the den clean. This is normal behavior, and not every mother stops when her puppies are weaned. Puppies may also learn this behavior from their mother and carry it forward.


2. Another reasons dogs will eat poop is to ingest the nutrients in it. If you supplement the diet with nutrients, it will have less reason to search for other sources. There are a couple of supplements you can use.

  • Vitamin-B: Studies have shown that dogs with a vitamin-B deficiency have an increased likeliness of eating poop.

  • Enzyme Supplements: Today's dogs eat a much different diet than those from the past, and it often lacks the amount of meat-based proteins in place of carbohydrates.


3. If your dog is eating its own poop, the stool may consist of undigested food. That’s an indication of a potential medical issue.


4. Your dog may not feel well. Coprophagia, especially if it’s a new behavior, can happen when something is medically wrong with your dog. It can be a sign of diseases of the intestinal tract, the liver, or brain. You may also notice sudden weight loss, vomiting, or other behavior changes. Visit your veterinarian to rule out intestinal parasites, diabetes, thyroid conditions, or other diseases.


5. It could be a sign of anxiety. Another potential cause of canine stool-eating could be that your dog is nervous. It may happen if the animal has been punished for soiling in the house. If the dog is caged, goes to the bathroom, and eats the poop, it may be a behavior to avoid anxiety.

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