Some of the best pet experts in our location answer the most important questions about our pets.
Q: Why does my dog eat grass? It’s less of a problem when I feed her better grade, commercial dog food, but she still does it.
A: One school of thought suggests that dogs eat grass sometimes because they are experiencing stomach upset, and they have a sense that tells them this will help. Since they don’t digest grass well, they usually throw it up. But, you have to wonder if dogs eat the grass because they are nauseous, or does eating the grass causing nausea? Actually, eating grass is normal behavior for dogs … they just seem to like it. It does not mean she’s lacking certain vitamins or nutrients in her diet — and as long as there is not the concern of toxicity (through pesticides, mushrooms, etc.) there is no cause for alarm with either eating it or throwing it up. Dogs prefer long blades of grass, so one way to help cut down on this is to keep your grass cut very low.
Q: I have a female mixed hound – 70 lbs. When walking she has the habit of scooting [sitting and rubbing her butt on grass] several times with her tongue darting in and out. She is otherwise very healthy and kept clean. What could be the problem and solution?
A: Scooting is usually a sign that a dog’s anal sacs are full. Anal sacs are two glands that lie at the 4 and 8 o’clock position to your dog’s anus. They hold an odiferous liquid that generally is expressed by the pressure of defecation. However, sometimes the gland openings can become clogged; and when this happens, a dog (or cat) will sometimes scoot to attempt to relieve the pressure and discomfort that the engorged glands will cause. If they do express them on their own, you’ll usually smell an odor (that is hopefully on the grass, and not your carpet). Your veterinarian (or groomer) can express the glands for you to provide relief. The scooting can also be a sign of allergies, which can cause itching around the anus — your veterinarian can help to determine which is the culprit.