As we welcome the holidays, we decorate our homes by bringing the outdoors in. With trees, flowers and more, you may notice your furry friend munching on leaves. Please be mindful that some of these plants (like sharp pine needles or poinsettias) may be toxic and potentially harmful if ingested.
While we don't have an absolute answer for why animals that are carnivores would eat grass, it does make sense. Carnivores in the wild would eat the tummies of their prey, (which would contain grasses and vegetable matter) so their gastrointestinal (GI) tract would expect some amount of greens.
Live grasses contains healthy fibers that can help the GI tract maintain a healthy biome and motility.
They also contain vitamins, phytonutrients, chlorophyll, folate, and antioxidants that can help the body's immune system fight cancer and decrease inflammation.
Grasses can help dogs and cats avoid hairballs from hair that they eat, help them manage GI parasites, and help rid them of some GI irritants.
Animals who eat grass to the point of vomiting are either reacting to some illness or toxin, are trying to get it out of their system, have a nutritional imbalance, a need for more fresh protein (thick-bladed grasses smell like protein after a rain), or some hyperacidity that they are trying to manage.
Too much vomiting is not healthy so it's best to look at the nutrition, fiber content of the food and freshness of the food to try to stop the behavior.
Some people try adding fresh greens that they get at the grocery store or some fiber like ground psyllium to the diet.
Sometimes even well fed animals will eat some grass because it is a natural behavior.
Be careful not to let pets eat any toxic houseplants or any grasses that have any pesticide or herbicide on them as those can be toxic to pets – – even after they have dried.
With these tips, we hope you and your little carnivore can have a safe and happy holiday this year!