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Many pet parents might not know this, but their canines can benefit from a bit of greenery in their diet. While some dogs are fine grazing in the front or backyard, wheatgrass offers a healthier alternative.
Wheatgrass is the freshly sprouted first leaves of common wheat plants (although some wheatgrass may also consist of other healthy grasses). While it’s typically humans who use wheatgrass, it turns out that it’s beneficial for dogs, too. Here’s what pet parents need to know.
Wheatgrass is chock full of nutrients, including:
Vitamins (A, C, and E, in particular)
Minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium)
These nutrients don’t only benefit humans. As it turns out, they offer some significant benefits to dogs, too.
The antioxidant compounds in pet grass (vitamin C, chlorophyll, and flavonoids) fight free radicals in the body, reducing the effects of chronic inflammation. They may help with various conditions, including skin issues, heart disease, arthritis, and cancer.
Many of the nutrients in wheatgrass help rid a dog’s body of harmful toxins, essentially cleansing their blood and vital organs. That cleansing can improve circulation, regenerate the liver, boost energy levels, and improve general health.
Wheatgrass is a good source of fiber, which is good for a dog’s digestion. It can help keep a dog regular and avoid or alleviate constipation.
The chlorophyll in pet grass helps reduce the toxins and bacteria that cause bad breath (and body odor!), freshening a dog’s breath. Even with this benefit, wheatgrass shouldn’t be a substitute for regular toothbrushing. Daily brushing should always be the first line of defense. Wheatgrass, dental chews, and water additives can help maintain optimal oral health.
Despite being the first leaves of the common wheat plant, wheatgrass doesn’t contain gluten. Pet parents with gluten-sensitive dogs can safely provide this nutritious grass to their pets. If they have any concerns, they should consult with their vet first.
Dogs may graze in the yard to fulfill unmet nutritional needs, satisfy their urge to chew, or because they’re bored. Eating grass isn’t inherently bad for them. However, many people treat their lawns with pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and herbicides. Some yards may have wild mushrooms growing among the blades of grass, which can be toxic to dogs. Pet parents can provide pet grass as a safer, more nutritious alternative to grass growing outside.
If a pet parent notices that their dog eats grass frequently, they may want to speak with a vet to see if there’s an underlying issue. For instance, if a dog eats grass out of boredom, they may benefit from more mental or physical exercise. If the dog shows signs of stomach upset while also eating grass, they may have an undiagnosed medical issue.
In general, pet grass is safe for dogs. However, consuming too much may cause uncomfortable side effects, including indigestion, nausea, or vomiting.
Some pet stores carry wheatgrass. Alternatively, pet parents can grow their own at home. It’s a relatively quick and easy process to grow safe, nutritious wheatgrass for dogs.
With Bell Rock Growers Pet Greens Self-Grow kit, pet parents can easily grow pet grass right out of the bag. It only takes about a week to get ready-to-use wheatgrass. Moreover, pet parents don’t have to worry about herbicides, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals. The kit contains only certified wheat seed and a growing medium.
There are many ways pet parents can add wheatgrass to their dog’s diet. One of the easiest is to leave potted grass near their food and water bowls. Doing so may engage their natural foraging instincts. If the dog is unsure of the plant, pet parents can help them understand what to do by pulling off a blade or two and feeding it to them by hand. While convenient, this method isn’t right for all dogs, though.
If pet parents don’t want to leave a whole plant on the ground, they can keep the grass out of reach and chop some clippings to add to their dog’s food bowl. They can also provide a few blades as a healthy treat or reward.
No matter what method a pet parent chooses, they should consult with a veterinarian before adding anything extra to their dog’s diet. A vet can provide additional guidance on the ideal serving size for their specific canine.