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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine • Since 1993
Idaho • Montana • Nevada • Oregon • Utah • Washington • Wyoming

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Regional, Monthly All-Breed Horse Magazine
Distributed throughout the Greater Rockies Since 1993

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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Dog Hair & Mule Sweat

with Natalie Riehl

editor@rockymountainrider.com

 

August 2010 Issue

 

      My dog is a voracious grass eater. She loves nothing better than to go out in the yard, lie in the shade and “graze.” Yes, she reminds me of an equine with their love of the green stuff…even though she weighs just eighteen pounds!

     Unlike my experience with the cats, I do not find piles of undigested forage on the carpet. The feed quite readily makes it clear through her system.

     So there I was, waiting for the water trough to fill, enjoying the summer’s morning before it got too hot and watching the dog lie nearby happily chewing on pasture varieties of grass.

     Why do dogs eat grass? Many sources say they may feel ill, have mineral deficiencies, need fiber in their diet, and that wild wolves and foxes eat it. It’s a perfectly normal behavior for a dog.

     My dog is not feeling sick. I doubt she has mineral deficiencies because she is fed an excellent brand of dog food made with human-grade ingredients. She also gets her share of human food. Yes, she may need fiber; I don’t know.

     It’s true that she goes berserk when she sees the neighborhood fox and barks at it from the safety of our living room. But, fortunately, that is the limit of her identifying with them.

     Frankly, I think she eats grass because she likes it. She enjoys the flavor and the texture. Sometimes it’s difficult to get her to stop eating it and come into the house.

     She has broadened her quest for vegetable matter and follows us out to the garden where she begs for sugar snap peas and baby carrots. She’s not quite as keen about beans, and she is not at all interested in beets.

     We don’t use herbicides on the lawn because we don’t want the dog to ingest any poisons. She is so happy simply eating grass, how could we possibly say “No”?

------------------------

     The water tank takes forever to fill and a few minutes later, I looked down at the dog to find that she’s switched to nibbling a well-seasoned morsel of equine “processed grass.”

     I can accept “fresh”; but “processed” is a “No-no” in our household.

     Why do dogs eat horse manure? Once again, the speculation is that it provides residual minerals the dog craves. There may be an imbalance of “good bacteria” in the dog’s gut. It seems to be a fact of life from most horsepeople who have observed dogs around horses: they’ve never met a dog who didn’t like horse poop.

     If you’re worried about parasites, my vet tells me that the worms in horses are specific to horses, and dogs can’t get them. However, just as it’s a good idea to keep your horses dewormed, you should also check for parasites in your dog. And keep your dog away from manure passed from a recently dewormed horse; that really could make them sick.

     Depending on who you are and how you handle life’s little ups and downs, giving the dog a breath mint may be preferable to giving the dog a bath for the numerous delectable substances it might find to roll in!

Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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