Why Does My Pet Eat Grass and Plants?
There are a lot of different theories on why our cats and dogs eat grass and other household plants. Most pet owners are familiar with the theory that cats and dogs instinctively eat grass when their stomach is upset to induce vomiting.
When it comes to cats, this theory seems to hold true. Because cats can’t properly digest large quantities of vegetable matter, eating grass will force them to regurgitate which can clear their digestive tract of indigestible matter. In the wild this would include the feathers, fur and bones of their prey. For an indoor cat, this would most likely be their own fur from grooming.
Because dogs are omnivores and can more easily digest plant matter, this theory doesn’t fit as well. With dogs, it is more likely that they instinctively eat grass and other greenery to get important phytonutrients that are not included in the commercial diets that we feed our pets. Getting these other nutrients and extra fiber from grass can help improve your dog’s digestion, which they may or may not be aware of!
While evidence certainly does point to our pets eating grass to improve their digestive health, it can also be explained more simply. Some experts believe that indoor cats and outside dogs will eat grass and other household plants out of boredom. Being cooped up in a backyard or apartment all day while mom and/or dad is at work can leave your pet wanting to break the monotony. If this is the case, providing your pet with plenty of mentally stimulating toys and games can help break this habit.
The wrong grass can be dangerous!
While eating grass can be beneficial for pets and people, the type of grass makes a huge difference. Common lawn grass can be treated with pesticides and other dangerous chemicals. It also won’t contain the nutrients your cat or dog is craving. Think about it like iceberg lettuce versus spinach. In even more dangerous situations, grass and plants around the house could have come in contact with rat poisons that could potentially be lethal to your furry loved ones.
Eating grass has its benefits!
While wild grass and plants can have their dangers, the right grass can be hugely beneficial to your pet. Newly sprouted wheatgrass made specifically for pet consumption is packed with vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants and amino acids. Just a few of the nutrients you will find in wheatgrass are Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium, and vitamins such as A, E, and B12. It is also packed with fiber to aid in digestion. Much like the wheatgrass shots that people will add to their health shakes, wheatgrass for pets is considered incredibly beneficial.
More importantly, some pets, especially cats, just seem to enjoy eating grass and household plants. When we offer them a healthy and safe option, they will be less likely to ingest something harmful!
Looking for wheatgrass? Look no further!
At Pet’s on Broadway we regularly stock wheatgrass! We only sell organic wheatgrass, grown locally in Lebanon, Oregon. Here in the store, we not only feed wheatgrass to our own adoptable cats, we also feed it to our bunnies, rats, guinea pigs and birds. The great benefits of this nutritional snack can be had by most of your pets!
Some common houseplants that are dangerous for pets:
Most types of Lilies
Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Yew (common shrub)
English Ivy (common ground cover)
Here are some visual examples of common plants that can be toxic to pets. Always check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns regarding a houseplant or if you believe your pets has ingested something potentially dangerous.