Why Does MY Dog Eat Grass?

Research by Hart and his colleagues at the University of California–Davis

With support from the school’s Center for Companion Animal Health, Hart studied 1,500 dogs that had eaten grass at least 10 times in the past year. 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? “We believe it’s a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors,” Hart says. “We know that wolves and cougars eat grass. That’s because they carry intestinal parasites. That’s just part and parcel of being in nature. Wild animals don’t have anything like the medicines we have for controlling worms. But by eating grass on a regular basis, they can prevent a buildup by purging their systems of these parasites.”

Hart’s study also revealed that younger dogs are more likely to eat grass than their adult counterparts. “This is also true in nature,” he says. “Younger animals have weaker immune systems, and they need all the protein they can get in order to grow.”

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,” Hart advises. 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 we studied 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, Hart says, 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. The 17 most common poisonous plants are listed in the table.

If your cat likes to eat plants, Hart suggests 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,” he says.

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 1.888.426.4435.

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How to House Train Your Puppy

Understand dog behavior

Dogs do not know right from wrong. What they understand is safe and dangerous. When your puppy comes into your house he doesn't understand that it is "bad" behavior to urinate on your carpet. We do this by catching your dog in the act. Punishing your dog after the behavior has occurred can confuse your dog, making the house training process much more difficult.

Start to develop a schedule – Putting your dog on a feeding schedule during the house training process can make your efforts much more successful.

Start to develop a schedule – Putting your dog on a feeding schedule during the house training process can make your efforts much more successful.

Acquire a kennel.

Most pups and dogs will not eliminate in their crate. When you need to go to work or have to leave the house for a while, you can put your pup in her crate. When you come home, you can immediately take her outside and not give her the opportunity to make a mistake in the house.

Have a designated area for
your puppy to "go."

When you get your puppy home the first day, start puppy housebreaking him immediately. After he has been briefly introduced to his home and new surroundings, take the puppy to the area you chose before bringing him home.

As soon as your puppy finishes, praise it excitedly and immediately take him inside. From that point on, take the puppy to the same housebreaking spot each time and encourage him with a command such as "go potty," "hurry up" or whatever you choose.

Be consistent using this single command only with the process of puppy housebreaking so that the puppy will learn to associate this act with the command.

Get everyone involved – if you live by yourself with your dog this step will be easy. If your dog lives in a house with more than one person, make sure that everyone is taking the steps to make the housetraining process quick and easy. The closer everyone sticks to the plan, the faster the training will progress.

Take up the puppy's water early in the evening and to not feed or water it after say, 6:00 at night.

Clean up any accidents (and there will be plenty) quickly and thouroughly.

There are products such as Icky Poo & Natures Miricle and others at pet pet stores.

Let him be free in the house with supervision at first, for longer periods not until you are sure he will ask to go out when he has to go.

This strategy should not take more than two weeks for him to get the picture.

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Holistic Health Care for Cats

Alternate Treatments

As we learn more and more about our furred friends, we're trying more and more ways of keeping them healthy and happy. One of these ways is holistic care. Holistic care refers to seeing your pet and his symptoms as an entire organism, a whole being, rather than "just" an upset stomach or "only" hairballs. Holistic care has been used in some cultures for thousands of years.

While allopathic medicine -- the type we're all familiar with -- treats each symptom, holistic medicine sees them as a guidepost to an underlying problem and treats that, instead. Allopathic and holistic medicine work best when used in tandem. Holistic health care can include:

It is important to find a holistic vet versed in both holistic care and allopathic medicine. The Pet People will be happy to help you find a holistic vet in the area, should you desire it.

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