Your pooch is lying next to you on his favorite spot of grass. He’s looking up at you with those soulful eyes as he takes a bite out of that green blade. You pet him lovingly and say “good boy” before giving him another chew. Suddenly, you hear a loud slurp coming from inside his mouth. You look closely and see wet fur sticking out and all you can think is: What is that disgusting thing?!
You’ve just witnessed your furry friend having a grass-induced fit. If this sounds familiar, chances are you’re dealing with one of two issues: allergies or digestion problems. There are some subtle differences between these conditions, but both result in your pup chewing on things other than food when they get stressed. We’ll explain what causes each problem so you know how to help your best friend.
What Causes Grass Allergy in Dogs?
Allergies are immune responses to external substances (like pollen) causing inflammation and swelling in various parts of our bodies. In people, allergic reactions typically manifest themselves in the form of hives. Some pets suffer similar reactions called hypersensitivities, which can also cause diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itching and difficulty breathing.
These reactions occur within minutes of eating something their sensitive stomachs find unpleasant. Hypersensitivity reactions happen because allergens are foreign particles to the body. When we ingest them, they’re broken down into smaller pieces and absorbed through the small intestine.
Once there, they encounter specialized white blood cells known as mast cells. Mast cells contain chemicals that trigger the release of histamine, which is responsible for many allergic reactions. Histamines dilate smooth muscle tissue throughout the body, including air passages such as the lungs and throat. This results in congestion, narrowing of nasal passageways, runny nose, …