Can Cats and Dogs Share This Green Treat? The Truth About Cat Grass for Dogs

What is Cat Grass?

Cat grass is a type of grass grown specifically for cats to eat. It typically contains wheatgrass, barley grass, rye grass, oat grass or a combination of these grasses. Cat grass is grown indoors in pots or trays and provided fresh to cats.

The main reason cat grass is grown for cats is to provide them with greens that they would naturally eat if hunting prey outdoors. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they must eat meat in their diet. However, when cats hunt prey animals like birds and rodents in the wild, they consume the contents of their stomachs which contains greens and plant material from the prey’s diet. Cat grass mimics this element that is missing from an indoor cat’s diet.

Some of the most common types of grasses used for cat grass include:

  • Wheatgrass
  • Barley grass
  • Oat grass
  • Rye grass

These nutritious grasses provide cats with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and dietary fiber. Cat grass gives cats a natural way to supplement their diet with greens and aid in digestion.

Nutritional Benefits of Cat Grass

Cat grass contains a number of beneficial nutrients for cats. Two of the most notable are fiber and chlorophyll.

The fiber found in cat grass aids digestion and acts as a natural laxative. It helps move hairballs and food through the digestive tract (source). The high fiber content makes cat grass an excellent supplement to support regular bowel movements and prevent constipation in cats.

cat grass aids digestion

Cat grass is also high in chlorophyll, which may help freshen bad breath in cats by reducing odors (source). Chlorophyll has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thought to promote overall health.

Additionally, cat grass provides vitamins and minerals like folic acid, vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Folic acid in particular aids the bloodstream (source). The vitamins and minerals in cat grass give cats an overall nutritional boost.

Is Cat Grass Safe for Dogs to Eat?

Cat grass is generally safe for dogs to eat in moderation, but supervision is still recommended. According to one source, dogs can consume cat grass without getting sick. However, there are some potential risks and side effects to be aware of.

Eating too much cat grass may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some dogs, resulting in vomiting or diarrhea. The grass blades can also pose a choking hazard if consumed too quickly. It’s best to feed cat grass to dogs in small amounts and monitor them to make sure they are tolerating it well.

For dogs that seem sensitive to cat grass, there are some safer grass alternatives to consider. Wheatgrass, oat grass, barley grass, and rye grass tend to be gentler on dogs’ stomachs. These can be grown at home or purchased in dehydrated form from pet supply stores. Always introduce new foods gradually to avoid adverse reactions.

Overall, cat grass is reasonably safe for dogs in moderation, but supervision is advised. Stop feeding it if any adverse effects occur and transition to a more digestive-friendly grass type if needed.

Benefits of Cat Grass for Dogs

As with cats, eating cat grass provides digestive benefits for dogs. Grass contains insoluble fiber that aids digestion and acts as a mild natural laxative [1]. The fiber moves easily through the digestive tract and absorbs water that eases waste elimination.

In addition, wheatgrass provides chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Chlorophyll may have anti-inflammatory effects in the GI tract and be soothing for dogs with upset stomachs [2]. The nutrients in cat grass support overall health.

grass satisfies chewing urge

Eating grass also satisfies a dog’s innate urge to chew and forage. Providing cat grass gives them an acceptable outlet for these natural behaviors [3].

However, while cat grass offers benefits, it should be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Consult your veterinarian on the appropriate amount to feed your dog.

Risks of Eating Cat Grass

While cat grass is generally safe for dogs to consume in moderation, there are some potential risks to be aware of:

Upset stomach or diarrhea – Eating too much grass can sometimes give dogs an upset stomach or diarrhea. The high fiber content in grasses may be difficult for some dogs to digest. It’s best to introduce cat grass gradually and monitor your dog’s reaction [1].

Grass blades can cause damage – The sharp blades of grass could potentially scratch the inside of a dog’s mouth or throat if they eat too much at one time. Make sure to feed grass in manageable amounts. Chew toys can also help slow your dog’s grass consumption [2].

Overall the risks are low, especially if cat grass is given in moderation. Stop feeding immediately if you notice symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or signs of damage to the mouth or throat.


Tips for Feeding Cat Grass to Dogs

If you want to offer your dog cat grass, there are some tips to follow to make it a safe and positive experience:

Supervise to prevent overeating. Dogs may be tempted to eat a large amount of grass quickly. Monitor your dog and limit the amount given in one sitting.

Introduce slowly and monitor for reactions. Start with just a few blades of grass and watch for any signs of digestive upset. Gradually increase the amount if your dog tolerates it well.

introduce slowly to dogs

Choose pet-safe, organic cat grass. Opt for cat grass that is grown pesticide-free and guaranteed for pet consumption. Products specifically marketed for pets contain dog-safe seeds.

Pick grass when it is young and most nutritious. Cat grass has the most concentrated nutrients when it is shorter and before it goes to seed.

Offer hydration. Provide plenty of fresh water when giving cat grass to help it pass smoothly through the digestive tract.

Supervise chewing. Make sure your dog chews the grass thoroughly before swallowing to prevent choking hazards.

Talk to your vet, especially if your dog has health conditions. Get professional advice to ensure cat grass will not interact with any medications.

Watch for signs of illness and discontinue use if any occur. Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy may indicate the grass is not agreeing with your dog.

Alternatives to Cat Grass

While cat grass can be beneficial for dogs, there are some other safe alternatives you can try as well. Here are a few good options:

Wheatgrass – This is very similar to cat grass in terms of nutritional value. Wheatgrass contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants that can support your dog’s health. It has a soft texture that most dogs enjoy. Just be sure to introduce it gradually in small amounts.[1]

Dog grass blends – There are blends made specifically for dogs that contain oats, barley, and wheatgrass. These provide balanced nutrition. Look for organic, chemical-free options. Only feed in moderation to avoid stomach upset.[2]

Safe fresh greens – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, lettuces, and herbs like parsley or cilantro are healthy options. Introduce new greens slowly and one at a time. Feed in moderation and avoid anything treated with chemicals.[3]

When exploring alternatives, introduce new options slowly, watch for signs of stomach upset or allergies, and consult your vet if you have any concerns.

Signs of Illness

Some signs that eating cat grass may be causing illness in dogs include:

Vomiting – If your dog eats a large amount of grass, the grass may irritate the stomach lining or intestines, causing vomiting. Vomiting immediately after eating grass is the most common sign of an upset stomach.

Diarrhea – Along with vomiting, diarrhea is another possible sign of digestive irritation or upset from eating grass. Some dogs may have loose stools or experience diarrhea after ingesting cat grass.

Loss of appetite – If cat grass is upsetting your dog’s stomach, they may show a decreased interest in food or refusal to eat. A loss of appetite after eating grass can indicate nausea or discomfort.

Damaged mouth or throat – In rare cases, cat grass with sharp blades or tough stems may scratch or puncture the tissues of the mouth, throat or intestines if swallowed. This can lead to pain and infection.

If your dog shows any persistent gastrointestinal signs after eating cat grass, it’s important to see your veterinarian to check for underlying issues and proper treatment.

When to See the Vet

While eating grass occasionally is normal for dogs, you should contact your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any concerning symptoms after grazing on grass or cat grass. Signs that warrant a vet visit include:

Persistent vomiting or diarrhea – If your dog continues to vomit or have diarrhea after eating grass, this could signal an underlying health issue. Persistent gastrointestinal upset warrants a vet visit for evaluation.

Visible injury or obstruction – Check your dog’s mouth after eating grass to make sure there are no grass awns or other vegetation stuck in their gums, throat or teeth. Grass awns can cause abscesses or infection. Also watch for signs of gastrointestinal obstruction, like vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or bloating. Obstructions require immediate vet care.

Poisoning or pesticide exposure – If you suspect your dog may have ingested toxic plants, chemicals or pesticides, seek veterinary help right away. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, weakness, tremors or seizures.

Bringing a sample of the grass or plant your dog ate can help your vet identify potential toxins. In case of suspected poisoning, prompt veterinary treatment greatly improves outcomes.

Key Takeaways

In summary, cat grass can generally be safe for dogs to consume in moderation but owners should take precautions and supervise their pets.

It’s best to introduce cat grass slowly and monitor your dog’s reaction. Stop feeding it immediately if any adverse effects are noticed.

While cat grass offers nutritional benefits, dogs have different dietary needs than cats. Make sure your dog’s primary diet provides complete and balanced nutrition.

dogs have different needs

Consider alternatives like wheatgrass or dog-safe veggies if your dog does not tolerate cat grass well. And be vigilant for signs of illness, seeking veterinary advice if concerns arise.

With proper precautions, cat grass can be a healthy supplemental treat. But ultimately cat grass is intended for felines, so carefully observe how your dog responds before allowing regular consumption.

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