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Ask Dr. Aziza: Why Do Dogs Eat Grass And Other Answers to Your Top-Asked Questions

23 Jun 2021 | Written by Freshpet

Our Freshpet Vet expert, Dr. Aziza, is back with answers to your most-asked pet questions! From behavior and care to health and physiology, we get to the bottom of the things you’ve always wondered about your four-legged friends.

Q: Why do dogs eat grass?

A: There are three main reasons why dogs eat grass. The first reason is that it could be an instinctual behavior – research studies showing that wolves occasionally eat grass. The second reason is that it could be behavioral – anxiety can cause attention-seeking behavior or it can be a playful experience. The third reason is that it’s your dog’s way of trying to balance their diet – it’s one way to introduce fiber into its diet if it is not well balanced.

Q: What’s the best human food I can give my pet as a snack?

A: High-quality, low-calorie human foods make the best types of snacks. Opt for pet-safe fruits and vegetables such as fresh green beans, carrots, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries, as these are packed with nutrients. Make sure to stay away from human foods that can be toxic, like grapes, raisins, garlic, onion, and macadamia nuts, as these foods can cause damage to their organs like their kidneys.

Q: What food is best for my dog or cat?

A: The best food for your dog or cat is one that is well balanced, tastes good, and supports your pet’s lifestyle and medical concerns.

Q: Do dogs dream?

A: Research studies show that not only do dogs dream, but their sleep and dream patterns are very similar to those of humans in that they replay moments from their day. Scientists have also found that puppies and senior dogs dream more often than their middle-aged counterparts – how cool is that?

Q: How often should I give my pet a bath?

A: Generally it is recommended to bathe pets at least once every three months, however, that drastically changes based on breed. Hairless breeds need weekly baths but on the other hand, breeds that have long coats need to be bathed and groomed every month, especially if there is no daily grooming at home.

Q: Is my pet overweight, or just ‘fluffy’?

A: Recent studies have shown that about 60% of cats and dogs are overweight or obese, despite the fact that 40% of pet parents believe that their pets are an acceptable weight.

Dogs and cats come in all shapes and sizes, so there isn't a “one-size-fits-all” approach when determining obesity. Therefore, veterinarians utilize body condition scores to account for differences in body shapes. It’s also worth mentioning that usually, “fluffy” is not a term that would describe a healthy body weight.

Q: Why do both dogs and cats have whiskers?

A: Whiskers, or vibrissae, are a great way that dogs and cats receive tactile information from their environment. These specialized hairs help dogs and cats to learn and navigate their environment. They translate physical contact into neural information allowing them to calculate their surroundings, which prevents them from colliding into objects, sense changes in the air, and assist during playtime or hunting activities.

Q: Why do cats sleep so much?

A: For the most part, the reason why cats sleep so much is tied to their genes. Cats are hardwired to be hunters who conserve their energy throughout the day to prepare for the few hours dedicated to hunting. Although now pets, cats retained this convenient ancestral behavior and have incorporated it into their life of luxury, no hunting needed.

It’s important to note that cats can also sleep for long periods when they’re not feeling well. Sickness and disease can cause cats to go into hiding mode and they instinctively know that rest is a way to heal the body.

Finally, cats go through cycles of light and deep sleep, which gives a new meaning to “sleeping with one eye open”!

We hope that you found the answers to questions you’ve always wondered about. Still have questions about something that wasn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments and we’ll see if we can cover them in our next Q&A round-up!

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