At one point or another, we have all asked this question: “Why do dogs eat grass?” This behavior just seems so strange to us, right? I mean, when was the last time YOU ate grass? (I guess for those of us who have a shot of wheatgrass every morning, this isn’t so unusual – but our dogs?)
Luckily the answer to this question is quite simple – as is the remedy.
If you leave a dog to his own devices, he will eat all sorts of things that we as humans would consider to be unsanitary. The list may include things like grass, dirt, twigs, feces, flowers, bones, and rotting flesh from fallen prey. There is one common link between all these items though.
Can you guess what it is?
They are all nutrient-rich substances that come from living things (or in the case of dirt, containing living things). Dogs have a biological desire to eat food from living sources. Living food contains active enzymes and nutrients that simply do not exist in food that has been highly processed.
This is one of the reasons that the BARF Diet is so nutritious. Since these active enzymes are destroyed with the application of heat, dogs that are fed commercial canned and kibble diets do not have the opportunity to utilize the essential enzymes needed for digestion. This makes the utilization of nutrients much more difficult and puts stress on the pancreas to manufacture the enzymes necessary for digestion and can have long-term effects on the immune system.
So dogs will commonly take to eating nutrient-rich foods like grass and dirt to replace those nutrients that they are not able t extract or utilize from their bowl of kibble or wet food.
But sometimes even BARF fed dogs eat grass.
So then there’s the question: If the BARF diet contains so many nutrients and active enzymes, why would a dog still have the urge to eat grass?
As often the case with dogs who have recently transitioned over to a raw diet after a long history of cooked, canned, or kibble diets, the animal has developed an urge to eat grass, dirt, or mud to help aid in the transition to a raw diet. This is almost always a temporary condition and in this case, the solution is a enzyme and probiotic supplement.
E-BARF Plus is a green powder enzyme supplement with probiotics. It’s designed to aid in digestion and boost the immune system. It contains many healthful ingredients such as kelp, alfalfa, and wheatgrass that are designed to help your pet optimize the efficiency of the natural defense system.
We will often recommend E-BARF Plus to any dog transitioning to raw for the first 30 to 60 days to help ensure a smooth transition. We will also recommend this supplement to any dogs with known allergies, digestive issues like IBD, or dogs that are receiving an immune suppressant, like antibiotics, steroids or chemotherapy.
On the subject of allergies: if the challenges your dog is having are specifically related to hotspots and itching, then the answer is E-Omega Coat oil with omega 3, 6 and 9.
This supplement is designed to promote a healthy skin and coat by delivering a good dose of fish oils and other oils that are packed with healthy fats and nutrients. We have also found this to be effective for pups who are a bit more finicky than the rest. The coconut oil in the supplement increases palatability and makes it so that even the pickiest dogs will generally change their tune and gobble down their food.
So, what have we learned today?
Well for some of us, the answer is “nothing” because many of us are nutritional experts and know-it-alls when it comes to our dogs. But we were not always that way. For others, this information is brand new.
So remember, if your dog is eating leaves and grass it is no big deal. They probably eat much worse stuff when you are not looking. They are simply trying to get some active enzymes and missing nutrients into their body. Introduce a probiotic supplement, like E-BARF Plus in order to reduce or eliminate the issue.
Until next time, happy BARFing!
Evan Price is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. He is a true dog lover at heart with a particular interest in Dachshunds. Evan is also an avid sports enthusiast and bridge player. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.