You’ve probably noticed that your dog or cat may occasionally nibble on a few blades of grass now and then. While this behavior is quite normal for pets, it’s something that nevertheless leaves you wondering: why do they do it?
Sometimes, pets eat grass to help them induce vomiting to remove unwanted or harmful contents from their stomachs, including hair, bones, bad food or toxins. Experts believe that this behavior may actually be innate as it does seem to function as a form of self-preservation.
Grass may also contain nutrients pets need. To begin, it’s an excellent source of fiber which aids in digestion and the formation of stools. Fiber can also protect the intestines from sharp objects (like bones from prey) by wrapping around it. That way, the potentially harmful object can pass through the body or be vomited up without damage to either the gut or esophagus.
Additionally, grass has chlorophyll and B and C vitamins. Research has shown that the former has antioxidant, anticancer, detoxification and blood-stimulating properties. And vitamins, of course, are essential for proper metabolic functioning.
It’s also interesting to note that your pet’s carnivore relatives (wolves and lions, for example) as well as your dog or cat will usually eat the intestines first. This is because they typically contain digested grasses that prey animals (which are usually herbivores) have consumed. Intestines also have enzymes which are essential to predator health.
If your animal pal is eating items other than grass–for example, dirt, clay or chalk–or is vomiting severely, then you need to bring him or her to the Pet and Bird Clinic as soon as possible. This kind of behavior is not normal and could indicate more serious health problems. We understand that your pet is important to you. That’s why we provide only the highest quality veterinary care. When you have questions, we have answers: contact us today!