In this week’s column and the next, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about some common misconceptions about pets. This week we’ll concentrate on dogs and we’ll follow up with cats next time.
Let’s start with dogs eating grass and whether you should be concerned. First of all, this very common and not usually a cause for alarm. Many people think that eating grass is a sign of an upset stomach, this is not necessarily true.
While the chloroform in grass probably does help settle a dog’s stomach, he may just be eating it because he can, or, simply because it’s fun. I have several tall grasses in my own yard that my dogs love. My sheepdog always goes straight to it when her stomach is upset and then usually proceeds to toss it back up a few minutes later.
On the other hand, my little poodle mix loves to just chew on it, especially when he’s excited and playing. Unlike his big sister, he doesn’t swallow it, the grass is just like a big chew toy for him.
Finally, I have another dog that loves to chew on grass and weeds when we take walks. A walk is like going to the salad bar to him. If I don’t rein him in, he’ll stop to chew and eat whatever he can find along the path.
All that said, there are some precautions that you should take. First of all, if your grass is treated with chemicals your dog shouldn’t even be spending time on it, let alone eating it. Same goes for your neighbor’s grass, if you walk your dog past lush lawns, assume it’s treated and avoid letting your dog near it.
If your dog is eating grass and vomiting often, it’s best to see the vet to determine that what’s going on. He may need something simple, like a change in diet.
Finally, educate yourself on what greenery might be poisonous in your own yard as well as what to look out for if you take your dog on unfamiliar paths and trails.
There are a couple of other misconceptions that we can clear up quickly as they pose no threat to your dog’s health. First there’s the myth that one year of a dog’s life is equal to seven years in human terms; not true. You can find formulas online that will help you determine how to get a comparative age for your dog according to size and breed. Just google ‘dog aging chart’ to find information.
Next week, just in time for Halloween, we’ll talk about our feline friends and whether or not you should worry about a black cat crossing your path.
Shelter needs: Due to the months of being at full capacity, we are desperately in need of dog and cat food, both wet and dry. Effects of the pandemic have made it difficult to find some foods on the shelves of our local stores. But these are generally available online and can be delivered directly to the shelter. The following are most needed: Canned dog food, canned cat food (pate’ style), Purina Kitten Chow, dry cat food (no red dyes, please). Thank you!