Why does my dog eat grass?
There are so many ideas out there that I am not going to go into them…except the one that I firmly believe to be the right one. Dogs rely on their instinct. When their body tells them something is wrong they will try to remedy it. As humans we rely on technology and outside influences so much that we have basically lost our instincts. Observe your dog as much as you can. Their behavior will tell you that is something is wrong. Possibly BEFORE it becomes too late to help!
So, why does my dog eat grass? I firmly believe it is due to gut imbalance. (you will find out sooner or later that I believe a LOT of issues stem from gut issues. Your dog’s gut makes up 80% of the immune system. Built up with essential good bacteria, it is necessary for good digestion and absorption. So many issues arise from not having a good gut system. And you know what? It is relatively simple to add nutrients to rebuild those good bacteria in the gut. However, it is not a fix it once and done. Addition of healthy whole foods to the diet is imperative and a life long necessity.
Say your pup gets into the trash or something stinky in the yard and just gobbles it down. Because that is what our dogs do, right? Well, if your dog has a gut filled with trillions (yes, trillions) of healthy gut bacteria then your dog will probably have no reaction or very little passing easily. But if your dog’s gut is lacking those essential ‘good’ bacteria you may wind up with diarrhea, inflammation, allergies, gas, bad breath, toxicity, or worse. So how do we get these trillions of healthy gut bacteria? Easy, peasy!
…but not just any probiotic. You will need to be careful. So many manufacturers have jumped on the probiotic bandwagon and have created subpar options. Beware of a kibble that advertises. “Added probiotics!” Do you really believe that a food that is cooked to 400 degrees for 5 minutes will have active Live Probiotic cultures?! No! (Kibble doesn’t have a lot of things, but that is a discussion for another day.) So how do I find the right probiotic for my pup and cat?
I have listed several here that are good options. Some you can make yourself and some are store bought, relatively in-expensive. Choose whatever is easiest for you and the most palatable to your pet. I rotate my probiotic options frequently as my dog gets bored easily and I feel they will get a better blend of cultures by doing so. These options work whether you feed kibble or whole raw or cooked foods.
Fermented Vegetables – You can buy these at the grocery store but be very careful that they don’t include onions. Start with small amounts so your pet gets used to it before increasing the amount to about 1 tsp or so per 15lbs.
Yoghurt – choose one grass fed, organic, plain and made from pasteurized milk. These may not have enough strains so this may be better as a supplement. I say this from experience not, knowledge of your dog or cat.
Kefir/Raw Goat or Cow Milk – This can be made at home with Kefir cultures and Raw Milk. It also comes packaged by several good Raw Feed Companies. I prefer Primal, which is mixed with excellent additives such as Turmeric, & Cinnamon and Answers which ferments all their products to aid and boost the digestive process.
Powder or Capsule Probiotics – These are non-diary options. These are an option (not my preference as I prefer whole foods, but don’t let me turn you off them if they work well for you!) To be sure to pick the right one with the minimum amount of strains for your pet. At least 4 billion CFU to start with!
It is best to stay away from probiotics that are meant for humans. While they may not do harm, they may be a waste of your money if they are not the essential strains that your dog needs. Look for the following on the bottle. CAVEAT – don’t ever buy a probiotic that won’t freely give you the strains. Any “Proprietary information” on the label is something you shouldn’t trust!!!
1.) Bifidobacterium lactis: A friendly bacteria often found in yogurt that is known to help stimulate immune responses.
2.) Bifidobacterium animalis: A unique bacteria that promotes optimal health and protection within the digestive tract. Has been shown to reduce the time for acute diarrhea to resolve in dogs.
3.) Lactobacillus acidophilus: Guards the health of your pet's entire digestive tract. May improve frequency and quality of stools in dogs with sensitive systems.
4.) Bifidobacterium longum: Keeps your pet's digestive system running smoothly, and helps enhance their immune system.
5.) Bifidobacterium bifidum: Helps promote a healthy balance of flora in your pet's intestine and is especially useful for enhancing immune response.
6.) Lactobacillus casei: Works with other helpful organisms, and helps to encourage the growth of other "good" bacteria.
7.) Lactobacillus plantarum: Helps ensure that the nutrients in vitamins and supplements are getting to your pet's cells.
8.) Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Assists your pet's elimination and occasional intestinal discomfort by working to stabilize their intestinal microflora. Is one of the highest concentrated bacteria found in normal healthy dog gut flora, and can help crowd out the bad, pathogenic bacteria.
9.) Lactobacillus bulgaricus: Works with other Lactobacillus strains to provide your pet with a potential source of dietary antioxidants.
10.) Bacillus coagulans: Helps enhance your pet's intestinal health and provides back-up for sporadic intestinal discomfort.
While you may not find all of these, look for a brand that carries as many of these as you can!
To summarize, even if your dog seems perfectly healthy, the addition of a good probiotic will increase his/her immune system and ward off incoming issues. It is suggested you start a good probiotic when starting an antibiotic regime. Antibiotics tend to kill ALL bacteria not just the bad! We need to keep the good bacteria alive and well. Yeast issues may arise from the use of antibiotics with no probiotics. I’ve seen it happen many times. Steroids work in as much the same devastating way.
I like to use several different types of probiotics. Not all dogs are going to welcome the fermented vegetables, while some may scarf it down! (lucky you!) It may be easier to get a powder or a pill down a dog than worry over a picky eater. I utilize the Primal Winter Squash Elixir and a blend of Answers Cow Kefir and Primal Goat Milk. I recommend trying small first and adding as you go! And yes, we carry several varieties in the shop several pictured here. As always I am available to answer questions or offer my opinion at the shop or online!