Ever wondered why dogs and cats tend to eat odd things at times, such as dirt, grass, feces, etc.? There are many reasons, one of which is the need to purge toxins from their system, especially after a long winter. Other reasons include a need for key nutrients. “Pica” is the name for this. It’s really a normal behavior. When an animal eats soil, he or she is usually in need of key minerals and other nutrients that they’re likely not getting from their food. Stool eating can be due to health issues or just plain learned behaviors. Some dogs will start eating poop when they aren’t absorbing enough nutrients, have parasites, or have issues with their pancreas. When they eat grass, the chlorella and other nutrients contained in it provide nutrition. It’s very nourishing, (kind of like a salad), and the texture of the grass (barbs) can also act as a stimulant or irritant to help the animal purge (vomit) something in their stomach that is making them feel ill. It’s important to be observant of your pets and their actions, as they may need to be checked out by a veterinarian.
One of the risks associated with grass eating is ingesting highly toxic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, which can cause many health issues. You can remedy this by adding powdered grasses, such as wheatgrass or barley grass juices, (yes, juices), or powders that you know come from clean sources, to your pet’s food. Wheatgrass juice, (or just plain wheat grass), is considered rejuvenating. It helps cells replenish enzymes, vitamins, hormones and nucleic acids, and restores vitality. It aids in cleansing the lymph system by restoring balance to the body, reduces inflammation, removes toxins and metals from the cells, nourishes the liver, skin, muscles, kidneys and many other organs, including the brain, and helps build and balance the blood and neutralize toxins. Blood sugar imbalances and chronic health disorders can improve as well.
It’s easy to grow organic wheat grass at home. Kits are available online. You can juice it for your pet or just let him/her mow off the grass from a container. If the task of growing your own wheatgrass seems too daunting, you can use powdered grass blends to sprinkle on food instead. Examples are “Barley Dog” or “Barley Cat.” I use “Calderra Greens,” which are for both humans and pets. It’s a blend of organic certified barley, alfalfa, wheat and oat grass juice powders and sea vegetation. The grasses are grown on volcanic soil and low temperature processed so the enzymes and soil organisms are intact.
Other greens you may want to consider are seaweed, kelp, blue green algae and spirulina. Seaweeds are considered the best of green foods as they are easy to digest. They are one of the richest sources of minerals and amino acids found in plants, nutrient dense, and immune system enhancing.
Kelp is also high in nutrient value. It helps animals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and colitis by aiding digestion. It’s also a good source of iodine, which helps the thyroid.
Blue green algae and spirulina are high in protein and nutrients as well.
As you can see, there are many “green” options available for enhancing your pet’s health. All the above are easily given with food or as a treat. Just a little each day is a great addition to your pet’s diet. Just remember to start out slowly with very small portions and watch to make sure your pet tolerates it well. If your pet shows you he or she doesn’t enjoy it, then it’s best to try something else.
Readers are reminded that it is entirely of their own accord, right and responsibility to make educated choices about their pet’s health care.
Jenny Magli, a certified Natural Health Consultant for pets and their people, is available for consultations and presentations, and lives in Rumely with her husband and five clowns (three dogs and two cats). She can be reached at (906) 235-3524, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was reprinted with permission from the Summer 2013 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2013. All rights reserved.