Your dog does some very wacky things. In fact, at times, watching the antics of your pet is better than watching TV especially those that don’t have cable! So I bet you think to yourself –what are they thinking and why in the world are they doing that?
I’ve listed a few strange doggie antics that I think you will enjoy.
I was at the shelter this week and witnessed an odd behavior when a yellow lab was dipping his paw and splashing water in and all around his bowl as I filled it. In fact, as fast as I filled it, he was emptying it with his paw. He did not seem interested in drinking the fresh, cool water—oh no, he was just playing! I bet this happens once in a while in your home too. Well, when I asked the dog why he was scooping the water out of the bowl he told me he liked wet paws and licking them. Ah ha! That answer sort of made sense to me. I have witnessed dogs repeatedly licking their paw but obviously having wet paws in the first place was better than wetting them with their tongue.
Yep, my dog thinks the park is a gourmet buffet of tempting grasses for his palate. He will walk past dandelions, chives and many other types of edible plants to happily chew on a tall leafy plant that looks like really long grass.
According to Dr. Karen Becker, if your otherwise healthy, well-nourished dog nibbles on selected grass once in awhile, there’s no cause for concern. (as long as there was no toxins on the plants).
Dogs that selectively choose specific grasses to nibble on may be seeking out the plant’s medicinal qualities (many grasses are high in potassium and enzymes) or looking for a natural source of fiber. But then there are the frantic, non-selective grass eaters, which may mean a GI problem is brewing. I have seen this behavior in our back yard. Once in a blue moon he will run into the back yard and immediately start pulling grass out, roots and all, and scarfing it down like it’s a delicacy.
Dogs will instinctively search for natural remedies for the occasional upset stomach, and grass often does the trick, not to mention it’s usually easy to find. There is something about the texture of grass that triggers vomiting or a bowel movement in many dogs, which relieves tummy discomfort. But if the grass eating is chronic and especially if it causes your pet to vomit frequently, it’s time to make an appointment with your veterinarian.
In the meantime, I recommend upgrading your dog’s diet if she’s still eating kibble or any non-human grade commercial dog food. Most healthy dogs fed a balanced, species-appropriate diet don’t eat grass because they receive all the nourishment their bodies need from their food, and they rarely suffer from digestive issues. Adding probiotics and digestive enzymes can also benefit dogs with “sensitive stomachs.”
I purchase very expensive, grain free food and supplement it with home cooked meat. Being certified in canine nutrition I am certain that my dog is receiving optimal nutrition from a species-appropriate diet but if he continues to eat a good amount of grass, I would consider growing my own sunflower sprouts. Sprouts can provide an easy, inexpensive source of fresh, live, organic vegetation and are much more nutritious for your pet than grass.
Ever see your Dog Performing the Scratch Dance?
Every day when I walk my dog, he moves his bowels (obviously the reason for the walk). As I stand there waiting for him to finish, I get my bag all ready and the second he is done I bend down to pick up his excrement. Guess what? I get a face full of grass, dirt, leaves or snow depending on the time of the year. That’s a fine thank you for the walk! It’s bad enough that I have to carry the stinky stuff back home but to get a face full of dirt/grass/snow is not my idea of facial!
So why is this annoying behavior occurring? It seems that many of the dog’s ancestors (wild dogs and wolves) kicked at the ground after pooping to hide and also mark their territory. Dogs have glands in their paws that have pheromones and by scratching the ground they release their individual scent onto the dirt. Ever have to physically pull your dog away from sniffing a tree, fire hydrant or specific flower? They are learning about the dog that has previously been there. So let’s doe-si-doe!
Why Does My Dog Eat Poop?
You witness your dog gobble up a turd he found outside like it’s a filet migon. Gross, right? So what is with this disgusting habit? Well, dogs eat poop for lots of reasons.
Again, according to Dr. Becker the scientific name for stool eating is coprophagia. Sometimes, there’s an underlying medical problem like an enzyme deficiency or pancreatic insufficiency. Intestinal malabsorption and GI parasites are also common medical reasons underlying coprophagia.
If your dog is on a poor-quality, processed dry food diets he will often seek out other sources of digestive enzymes to make up for a chronic enzyme deficiency brought on by a biologically inappropriate diet.
Coprophagia can also have a behavioral cause. Dogs that are feeling anxious or stressed may eat poop. Additionally so will dogs who have been punished for inappropriate elimination, which includes many puppy mill dogs.
Dr. Becker’s recommendations for curbing/eliminating this behavior include feeding a diet containing human-grade (preferably unprocessed) protein and supplement with probiotics and digestive enzymes, and insuring your dog has toys that stimulate her brain and alleviate boredom. Also insure he is well-exercised. You may want to consider experimenting with some of the over-the-counter coprophagia deterrent products. Make sure you look for a non-toxic product that doesn’t contain MSG.
If despite your best efforts your dog’s poop eating behavior isn’t improving, or is getting worse, I recommend making an appointment with your vet to rule out any underlying medical reason for the behavior.