Dog Eating Grass and Being Sick. A Helpful Guide.
The habit of eating grass is quite common in our canine friends. There are controversies surrounding the topic, but it is not exactly harmful. Your dog is not likely to get sick from eating grass, but it is possible. Dog eating grass and being sick can be stopped in a natural way. Take a minute of your time and follow this link to see how.
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Some of the possible illnesses that your dog may contract from eating grass are usually associated with internal parasites. However, your dog may also exhibit signs of sickness from eating treated grass. You should make sure that you take him to see a vet before concluding on anything.
In most cases, dogs do not get sick from eating grass. However, this exposes them to different risks such as contracting intestinal parasites. These parasites are quite common in our canine friends. We are going to look at each one of these parasites in details, including prevention and treatment.
Hookworms, scientifically referred to as Ancylostoma caninum, are common but dangerous in dogs. These hook-like parasites are known for feeding on the tiny blood vessels in the dog’s intestines. Dog owners who have had to deal with hookworms will tell you about the discomfort it brings about to their dogs.
However, hookworms are treatable as well as preventable. The parasite has three stages in its lifecycle; egg, larvae, and adult. Eggs pass through feces of the infected host and into the environment. During this time, the egg will transform into larvae. The larvae will survive for weeks in the environment until they are in contact with your dog. On consuming the latter, it moves down the dog’s stomach tract and into the intestines where they hook themselves on the walls.
The larvae will then mature into adult hookworms and lay eggs. This means that the cycle is repeated, which makes it hard to control. It is important to understand how easily your dog can contract hookworms.
Causes and risk factors of hookworms
Ingestion the most common way of contracting hookworms. This means that if your dog eats contaminated grass or soil, he is likely to get hookworms. It is therefore important to make sure that your dog is protected from such by regular deworming. In fact, if you have a grass eater, it is best to consult your vet on how often you should deworm your puppy. Poop eating also exposes your dog to contracting worms. For instance, if your healthy dog happens to eat poop from an infected animal, he will definitely contract the worms.
This means that you will have to be careful and deworm your dog as regularly as possible. This is especially if you have a poop or grass eater. It would also be of help to stop your dog from eating grass and poop.
Direct contact with contaminated surface also tops the causes of hookworms. This includes sniffing contaminated soils or poop will have your dog infected. Well, we all know how curious our dogs get, and especially when they want to figure out things. Unfortunately, our dogs use their limbs and snout to discover things. This means that as he is looking around he may end up sniffing and touching contaminated areas with his snout.
Puppies are actually at a large risk of contracting hookworms through direct contact. This is because they love exploring new things and thus might end up sniffing and touching contaminated grass, poop or even soil.
This is why your vet may recommend regular deworming for prevention.
Puppies can contract hookworms from an infected mother. Usually, this through nursing since the milk may contain hookworm eggs. Upon consumption, the eggs will initiate the lifecycle of the worms. It is quite a task to eliminate, or even detect hookworms in puppies.
Symptoms of hookworms
You should not take it lightly when you have a dog infected with hookworms. This is because the worms can even lead to the death of your dog. Some of the common symptoms of hookworms may include;
Anemia – this is caused by the hookworms feeding on the tiny blood vessels in the intestines. This is due to a large number of worms hooked on the intestinal walls.
Diarrhea – A dog with hookworms may also produce bloody diarrhea. This means that your dog may be bleeding from the worms hooking themselves on the intestines.
Severe weight loss – hookworms will feed off your dog’s nutrients. This means that even after feeding your dog, he is not able to completely absorb the foods into the bloodstream. This leads to malnourishment and weight loss.
General body weakness – Since your dog is unable to absorb important nutrients into his body, he will, therefore, be weakly. He may even appear sickly.
Other symptoms may include pale gums, itchy paws, and even poor growth.
Diagnosis and treatment
Your vet will have to perform a fecal float in order to detect the presence of worms in your dog’s waste. This, however, is not a very effective method to detect worms in puppies. For this reason, your vet may recommend proper dewormers every now and them for your puppy.
In the case your dog has hookworms, your vet is going to advise on the right treatment to go for. Your dog may be required to repeat treatment after a few weeks. In severe cases, your dog may require a blood transfusion.
Roundworms are actually the most popular and common internal parasites. Most dog owners have had to deal with these parasites at some point in life. Unlike hookworms, roundworms will live freely in your dog’s gut. This means that they will not hook themselves rather live in the stomach and intestines.
Your dog will contract roundworms from coming in contact with contaminated surfaces. This may be through licking or sniffing contaminated stool or soil. This makes it a common occurrence since dogs love to sniff and lick around.
Dogs that eat poop or grass are even at more risk of contracting roundworms. Even though unlikely, eating raw prey could also increase the chances of getting roundworms. For instance, your dog may get roundworms from eating a rodent, roaches, and birds. This is why it is important to avoid raw meat for dogs. It is also important to keep your household free of burrowing animals and rodents.
The life cycle of roundworms
The lifecycle of roundworms is a little more complex than that of hookworms. This is because the cycle involves migration from different body tissues. It is important to understand that roundworms are more common and life-threatening to puppies than adult dogs.
The fact that these worms can migrate from one part of the body to another only makes it difficult to treat. It also makes it possible for unborn puppies to contract the worms from his mother. This is because the larvae can migrate through the placenta. For this reason, puppies can be able to pass roundworm eggs after they are born. This increases the risk of repeat and makes it hard to control.
Puppies are also at risk of contracting these worms when exploring. This is because he is likely to eat grass or even his and other dog’s poop.
Diagnosis and treatment
Your vet is most likely to observe your puppy to diagnose roundworms. This may include looking for symptoms including pot belly, and diarrhea. To make a conclusive diagnosis, your vet may also observe the puppy’s feces to look for worms.
Treatment of roundworms is not as complex as such. In most cases, it is usually simple and quite effective in eliminating the eggs and preventing future occurrences.
This is also a common vice in dogs, as much as the last two. However, tapeworms are quite different from roundworms and hookworms. For instance, tapeworms will have a completely different lifecycle. Like hookworms, tapeworms will attach themselves to the intestines of your dog through the hook-shaped mouthpieces.
The flat-shaped parasite will then feed on the dog’s intestinal lining and thus reducing the number of nutrients he absorbs. Tapeworms grow rapidly and can get as long as 8 inches. Adult tapeworms will then shed from the other end and pass the segments through fecal matter.
Tapeworms cannot be related much to grass eating as they cannot be ingested directly.
Is my dog sick prior to eating grass?
Scientifically, it has not been proven whether dog eating grass is associated with being sick. Even though there are claims that gastrointestinal upset may prompt a dog to engage in grass eating. However, there is no proof that a dog has the capability of treating himself.
This means that no matter how bad your dog feels, it is unlikely for him to self-medicate. How true are these claims? Look at the case where your dog licks his paws to itch. Isn’t he trying to sooth it and thus has the capability to try and make it better? Therefore, we can conclude that your dog may be feeling ill before eating grass. However, we cannot say for sure that his ultimate goal is to try and vomit.
There are a limited number of studies that try to argue that dog eat grass because they are sick. One study found out that only 10% of the dogs appeared sick prior to grass eating. 25% of the same number got sick/vomited after eating grass. This makes the above-discussed claim inconclusive.
In the wild, dogs eat grass for various reasons. In fact, there are claims that dogs may eat grass in efforts to eliminate worms from the intestines. This is argued that the grass may help pass adult worms in the feces by wrapping around the latter.
Will, my dog get sick from eating grass?
Most dog owners can attest to having dealt with grass eating behavior at some point in their dog’s life. The answer to this question is; possibly but very unlikely. Your dog may get sick from eating grass in that he might consume contaminated grass. This may put him at the risk of contracting worms that will put his life in danger.
Other than consuming parasites, your dog may get sick from eating treated grass. This is because lawn chemicals are harmful to your dog. He may develop an upset stomach but usually, this does not require a trip to the vet-care.
In addition, dogs that have allergies may also suffer while grazing. For instance, if your dog suffers grass seed allergy, he is definitely going to have it bad upon grazing. In this case, you should keep your dog away from the grass.
If your dog happens to vomit right after eating grass, it is not a sign of an illness. However, some dogs may want to eat grass from nutritional deficiencies. Your dog may be in need of fiber in his diet prompting him to eat grass to compensate for the nutrients. In a study observing dogs that eat grass for lack of fiber, dog owners reported that changing to a more natural diet stopped the habit.
Dog eating grass may not lead to an infection, and also may not be as a result of an existing illness. In some cases, dogs eat grass because they like how it tastes. It is also as a result of natural instincts where dog’s ancestors are proven to have eaten grass as well.
Should you stop your dog eating grass?
Despite the studies, there is a need to stop your dog from eating grass. This is to keep him from getting internal parasites and also to curb undesirable behaviors. Well, dogs can also be quite needy when it comes to attention. It takes a few minutes of your departure before your dog gets bored. This leads to undesirable coping methods that may include grass eating. Therefore, you should make sure you train you to dog out of boredom.
It is also an important step to make sure you treat underlying anxiety. This is another common reason why your dog is grazing. Like humans, dogs also experience extreme fear of some things. You should make sure that your dog is not exposed to such. You may consider taking him away from the fear-causing element.
It is your responsibility to take care of your dog. Dog eating grass and being sick is not a good sign even though most dogs vomit after grazing. If the sickness prevails, you should consider taking him to the vet for an examination. If he suffers from allergies, the vet will recommend the best antihistamines.
It is also important to deworm your dog regularly to keep him free of parasites. Keep your dog away from eating grass in parks and other public places. If he is a chronic grass eater, you may consider getting him a specific grazing place where you clean and keep safe for him.