Dogs come with many instinctive behaviors. One of those behaviors is the incredible knowledge of what weeds to eat and when. One reason a dog eats grass is to induce vomiting. He may have eaten something that disagrees with him, and the grass goes into the stomach and binds whatever it contains, which is then expelled. It's an adaptive behavior that protects the dog against indigestion and food poisoning. As a result, dogs that have access to the right kind of grasses, those with wide, serrated edges, rarely get food poisoning. Another reason dogs eat grass, wheat grass, for example, is as a digestive aid.
Dogs have an infallible knowledge of which weeds to eat. These weeds are often the very same that are found in capsules in the health food store to boost immune systems or any other body system. Should you stop your dog from eating weeds? Absolutely not! He knows much better what he needs than you do. Just make sure you don't expose your dog to areas that have been sprayed with chemicals.
Dogs also seem to have a sense of the medicinal value of various plants. When one of our Newfoundlands became arthritic, he would seek out the large patch of poison ivy we have on our property. During our daily walks, he would make it a point to stand in that patch for a few minutes, eat the grass that grew there, and then move on. At first we couldn't understand his behavior. We subsequently discovered that Rhus Tox, a homeopathic remedy for achy joints and rheumatism, is made from poison ivy.
_Chapter 23: Ten Reasons Why Dogs Do What They Do 347
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