Guest Post: Beware the Grasseater - The Trupanion Blog
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Guest Post: Beware the Grasseater

The following post comes from guest blogger Jennifer Stengel. Jennifer is 30 years old and lives in Boca Raton, Florida. She has been a dog lover her entire life and just acquired a new Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier puppy named Figment. Other than spending time with Figment, she enjoy playing the piano, cooking, reading, and bike riding. Read more about Jennifer on her blog and follow Figment on Twitter at @FigmentDog.

Figment in the grass.

There’s not much that brings a smile to face like watching my little Wheaten puppy, Figment, rolling around in the grass having a good time. I love letting him run around the backyard and bask in the sun. It’s so healthy for him to be outside and very important for his health that he gets enough exercise. Not to mention, he gets tired afterward which means less teething marks on my furniture 😉

I’d be content to sit out there for hours with him and just enjoy watching him roll around and have fun chasing his ball. But, there’s one problem with Figment’s outdoor playtime: He loves to eat grass!

Now, technically, I know that grass isn’t necessarily bad for dogs to ingest. Some dogs just like to eat grass. Some grow out of it, some eat grass their whole lives and it’s no cause for concern. True, it may make them throw up or it may cause loose stools, but in general, grass usually won’t hurt them. But, since when is grass just grass? First of all, there are all kinds of weeds growing in the yard. Not all weeds are safe for consumption, though most are ok for the dog to eat. Next, there are random wooden things — sticks, twigs, mulch… these should not be eaten. Moreover, I live in a community with an HOA that handles lawn maintenance. That means I have no control over the pesticides used on the lawn. These can be outright dangerous.  Not to mention the ducks… South Florida is full of ducks. And there’s a certain kind found all over, even in residential areas, that are not afraid of humans and love hanging out on everyone’s lawns. They poop all over the place and if threatened, may run or may actually pick a fight with a 6 foot tall person at times (or a 10 lb Wheaten Puppy). Who knows what diseases these birds may carry… the last thing I need is Figment ingesting some of their droppings.

So, I seem to find myself in a bit of a pickle. I want Figment to enjoy the grass and play outside for hours — it’s so healthy for him to get fresh air, sunlight, and off-leash exercise. At the same time, if anything happened to him and he got sick from consuming something dangerous, I would feel so guilty and don’t know how I’d forgive myself.

So, here’s the plan for now — Figment gets his time in the sun. I’ll let him play outside in the yard about 20-30 min a day. But I always stand nearby ready to pull anything out of his mouth that is inedible. I also must be on alert, ready to distract him from anything harmful. In the meantime, I make sure he gets his full share of exercise by going on jogs around the neighborhood at least 2x a day.

Does anyone else have grass-eaters out there? How do you deal with this? Do you let your dog roam free and eat away? Do you monitor his activities like I do?

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