This is a guest post by Dr. Elizabette Cohen
One of the most common questions my pet parents ask me about is that their dog is eating grass and if that behavior is okay.
Dogs can eat grass for a variety of reasons, from helping them overcome nausea, to improving digestion, treating intestinal worms or fulfilling an unmet nutritional need – including the need for fiber. (And of course, there are some dogs that just like the taste.)
If you or your veterinarian suspect your dog might be seeking leafy greens for digestion, you could try switching to a food that is more easily digestible. Most highly processed pet food today is produced from lower quality, rendered proteins and processed at very high temperatures. This means that the digestibility and ultimately the ability for the food to be used effectively by your pet’s body is reduced when compared to whole foods. As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” And our pets are what we feed them. Here’s what to look for:
- Food that is easy to digest. The closer to nature a food is, the more easily digestible it is. A minimally processed diet is easier for your dog to digest than highly processed kibble.
- High Quality Protein Sources. The best protein sources for our pets are muscle meats like chicken or beef, and eggs. These proteins are in their most natural states when they are unadulterated – meaning not part of a low quality meat or poultry “meal” or by-product meal. You can also get to know the food’s “biological value”. It’s a scale of the protein's usability by the body, so the higher the value, the better the body can incorporate that protein into usable, absorbable nutrition. Eggs are the absolute best protein and are given a biological value of 100, which is the highest value. Chicken and beef are a close second. On the contrary by-products have a low biological value.
- Prebiotics and probiotics. These are very important for proper digestion and a healthy digestive tract. There are "good" bacteria in our gut as well as our pets, which help the immune system. Prebiotics, such as chicory root, provide the food for the probiotics to grow and thrive.
Humankind, 100% Human Quality food for dogs is a great option for dogs with digestive issues. In fact, preliminary results from a study with the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine show that significantly more nutrients are digested, retained and absorbed from the chicken found in Humankind® compared to the highly processed chicken meat, chicken/ poultry-by product meal or corn meal that is found in traditionally manufactured feed. It’s just one of the reasons why I feed my own dog Luna, Humankind.
The next time you see your pet going for grass think about their food.
Dr. Elizabette Cohen consults with Humankind and is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, the New York City Veterinary Medical Association and the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association. She serves on several veterinary medical boards. Dr. Cohen has been the WCBS news radio pet reporter since 2004 and continues to deliver “Healthy and Happy Pet” reports heard every Saturday and Sunday.