As a dog owner, one of the biggest concerns you can have revolves around unspoken health issues in your dog.
Canines are amazing and intelligent creatures, yet they can be hurt through the most innocuous of means.
Many times, though, illnesses and conditions that a dog can suffer from will stem from what they eat.
And since dogs tend to be so happy to explore and adventure, they might take to eating some dangerous plants and the like!
For example, lots of dogs seem to like eating dandelions.
Is that a good thing, though?
Why do dogs eat dandelions?
There is no solid evidence which tells us exactly why dogs might eat dandelions but there is much more information on why dogs eat the next best thing, which is grass.
Although researchers are still not totally certain why dogs do eat grass!
A popular and long held belief is that dogs chew grass to induce vomiting.
Sounds very sensible, don’t you think?
After all grass is very hard to eat and so it would get stuck in a dog’s throat causing them to throw up.
But a small study in 2008 cast doubt on this idea.
Other ideas are that dogs each grass because they have intestinal worms or that their diet lacks fibre.
Wolves eat grass.
A study of their poop revealed traces of grass in up to 47% of the samples.
So could it be that dogs have inherited this trait from wolves or is grass eating just something that many animals do?
We should perhaps see dandelions in the same light.
That dogs eat dandelions because it is a perfectly natural thing to do.
Are dandelions poisonous to dogs, then?
While a dog can certainly stomach eating a dandelion, since it is non-toxic, it could become dangerous if it is covered in pesticides and herbicides.
You should try and keep that in mind. Seeing a dog eating a dandelion is often going to be good for its digestive strength and its stomach overall, but you should only let your dog eat dandelions which you have grown yourself and know that they are either not using a herbicide/pesticide or is using a pet-friendly variation.
You should therefore look to find other ways to get the benefit of a dandelion into their diet. You might wish to try and find a way that allows you to get the benefits that the dandelion plant brings into your dog without having to worry about them eating a compromised dandelion plant.
Should I consider using dandelion supplements with my dog instead?
Yes, you should. Dandelion supplements are a great way to make sure that your dog can get a happy blend of healthy benefits that it might not get otherwise. For example, you can find that this is a great source of major vitamins such as A, B, C, D, and K but it can also give your dog another easy way to take in protein into its system.
On top of that, you can benefit from added iron, zinc, and manganese being given to your dog. For that reason, you should definitely consider looking to find the benefits of dandelion greens which are present in food products. These supplements can be given in your dog’s food, or it can be taken in a variety of other forms. As opposed to eating the plant, though, this works brilliantly.
Are dandelion supplements good for my dog’s health?
They certainly can be, yes. When used as part of a healthy diet and a consistent avoidance of the plant itself, you can find that dandelion supplements can help your dog:
- Improve the health and the condition of their liver for years to come.
- Provide good, lasting digestion improvement as time goes on.
- Help a dog with limited or otherwise sluggish digestion to get better.
- Maintain healthy balance in blood sugar levels for a dog.
- Retain a stronger heart, helping to improve general health and resistance.
What is dandelion root? Does it help or benefit my dog?
For dogs that are suffering from poor digestion, though, it can be beneficial to pick up some dandelion root and in particular dandelion root supplements. These are great for combatting the issue and giving your dog a better chance of improving things like their ability to retain healthy blood sugar levels and also their ability to digest their food.
Despite the fact that dandelions can be a confusing plant in how they react with our dogs, they can have some benefits. They are often stated to be toxic, but the reaction would typically come from a man-made substance that was used to ‘help’ the plant. Unfortunately, this can lead to negative side-effects in your dogs.
The main benefit of having dandelion root (especially via supplements) is the fact that it can help a dog to fight off many issues that they might have with digestion. When given to a dog on a regular enough basis, it could provide some long-term benefits.
How dangerous are weed killers for my dog? What about fertiliser?
Sadly, you will need to be quite wary around any kind of weedkiller that you use around the garden. While it can be helpful for killing off poisonous plants and the like, there are some pretty significant issues here. For example, the vast majority of weed killers have glyphosate and this substance can be poisonous to a dog.
Try and keep that in mind, as very few weedkillers out there are pet-safe. The signs of poisoning include burns, sores, and vomiting combined with diarrhoea.
What other garden plants could be harmful to my dog?
Sadly, it isn’t just dandelion that you need to worry about. Sadly, many key plants that you might have at home, and other pieces of nature, can be dangerous to your dogs. Some of the items to keep a close eye on your dog’s interactions with include:
- Acorns, which can be poisonous and could cause bloody vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Could also cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
- Conkers look nice to a dog, but just about any part of a chestnut could cause your dog to fall ill. It will often be sick, suffering from an upset stomach and could even choke them.
- Fungi such as mushrooms that grow around the place are very likely to cause a negative reaction with any dog. Try and avoid them if you can, as it isn’t likely to do your dog much good.
- Ivy is a common vine around the place, and it could cause an upset stomach in most dogs, so try and avoid them eating it as it could also cause skin issues for your dog.
- Spring bulbs are a very common sight in most gardens, including daffodils, but unlike (natural, untouched) dandelions you should make sure that your dog does not eat them. Tulips, daffodils, and the like are all quite dangerous to a dog.
Stopping your dog from eating dangerous plants
There are various ways that you could try and get your dog under control and stop it from having such an odd habit. Eating dandelions and other listed dangerous plants are something to take quite seriously. With that in mind, we recommend that you try and carry out the following:
- Walk your dog on a leash when you are out and about together. Your dog is much more likely to stick to your rules if you have control over where it can go.
- Praise your dog once you pull it away from dandelions. Give it the positive reinforcement that not eating dandelions and other dangerous plants and your dog will soon learn.
- Try and get rid of any weeds and other plants that grow in your garden that you have not specifically planted. Keep your dog away from purposely planted items, and again praise on doing so.
- Avoid using a punishment, though. Many dogs can be quite rebellious and will eventually lose respect for a punishing owner, causing them to do double damage by acting out against your will.
- Try and watch how your pet interacts around strange plantlife; you might be able to find a way to help them feel comfortable around the plants without having to take a bite.
It can be tough to look after a dog, purely because it can take so much effort to police what they are eating. If you have a dog at home who has a habit of eating plants and the like, then you need to really focus on what the dog is doing.
Keep a clear and considered eye on what your dog is eating, though, and you should be much more likely to help avoid any mishaps in the future. Raising a dog is tough but raising a dog who has a penchant for eating otherwise dangerous plants can be even more challenging!
Using the tips above, though, you should avoid the problems associated above.