Luscious green grass—your canine best friend probably loves to run through it, roll in it and munch on it. Is this good for him? That depends on what exactly he's doing with the grass, and any underlying allergies.
The best type of grass for your doggy, bar none, is one that has not been treated with any fertilizers or pesticides. These chemicals are second only to pollen when it comes to causing veterinary problems for your pooch, and in addition to itchy skin and irritated eyes, fertilizers and pesticides can cause actual poisoning. If your pet frequents the grassy frontier of your yard, it's best to avoid chemical treatments altogether.
The doggy proclivity for grass munching, followed almost immediately by grass barfing, is well known. Is this actually good for our furry friends? Possibly. Veterinary consensus is that this behavior is usually related to gastric inflammation, meaning that your pooch is relieving an upset tummy by eating (and throwing up) indigestible grass.
Some cases of chronic grass consumption, though, may be compensation for inadequate nutrition. If you or your vet suspects this, adding high-fiber veggies and fruits to your pet's diet may be in order. Kale, collard greens, broccoli, parsley, spinach, pineapple, papaya and apples are all recommended, or you might want to go for a grassy solution in the form of young, digestible oat or wheat grass ("cat grass"), either whole or juiced.
Doggies tend to love the great outdoors and spend a great deal of time frolicking in the grass. This can suddenly seem quite tragic when your pup comes down with symptoms of a grass allergy.
So what is the grass-loving pooch to do? Some allergic pups have a contact dermatitis reaction to touching grass, but the vast majority are actually allergic to pollen, and their skin conditions are secondary effects of huffing those insidious little particles.
Pretty much every single type of grass you are likely to encounter is a potential allergen. Even if you find a hypoallergenic grass, your pup is likely doomed to the land of itch during allergy season because there's no way to stop pollen from blowing into his path—sometimes from dozens of miles away.
Your best bet is to wipe your pooch down with doggy or baby wipes when he comes in from his wilderness adventures during allergy season, and seek veterinary advice for especially severe symptoms.
The best type of grass for your dog, regardless of how he ultimately makes use of it, is not only chemical-free, but well maintained. A frequently watered yard collects less pollen from outside sources and keeping your grass trimmed without ever letting it flower will keep your particular plot as allergen-free as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.