Reduction in grass eating behaviours in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, in response to a mild gastrointestinal disturbance

McKenzie, Samantha J., Brown, Wendy Y. and Price, Ian R. (2010) Reduction in grass eating behaviours in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, in response to a mild gastrointestinal disturbance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 123 1-2: 51-55. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2009.12.003


Author McKenzie, Samantha J.
Brown, Wendy Y.
Price, Ian R.
Title Reduction in grass eating behaviours in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, in response to a mild gastrointestinal disturbance
Formatted title
Reduction in grass eating behaviours in the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, in response to a mild gastrointestinal disturbance
Journal name Applied Animal Behaviour Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0168-1591
1872-9045
Publication date 2010-02-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.12.003
Open Access Status
Volume 123
Issue 1-2
Start page 51
End page 55
Total pages 5
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Abstract Grass eating behaviour in the domestic dog may be related to gastrointestinal distress. To explore this theory, the current study observed grass eating behaviours in dogs fed a standard diet with and without supplementation of a fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). The FOS diet temporarily induced loose, watery stools to Simulate a mild gastrointestinal disturbance. During both FOS Diet and Standard Diet periods, dogs were presented with couch (Cynodon dactylon) and kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) grasses, and the time spent eating grass and the number of grass eating and vomiting events was recorded. Our study found that dogs spent significantly more time eating grass when fed the standard diet and producing normal stools than when they were fed the FOS diet and producing loose stools, suggesting that dogs do not use grass to self-medicate a diarrhoeal gastrointestinal disturbance. However, this does not preclude that other forms of gastrointestinal disturbance may be self-medicated by grass eating behaviours. Importantly, dogs did not use grass as an emetic, as there were only two vomiting events and 374 grass eating events observed. Alternatively, the reduction in grass eating may be attributable to a feeling of satiety caused by the fermentation of FOS. For further clarity, future research should examine the effect of other gastrointestinal disturbances, such as constipation (hard, dry stools) or nausea, on grass eating behaviour in the domestic dog. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Formatted abstract
Grass eating behaviour in the domestic dog may be related to gastrointestinal distress. To explore this theory, the current study observed grass eating behaviours in dogs fed a standard diet with and without supplementation of a fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS). The FOS diet temporarily induced loose, watery stools to simulate a mild gastrointestinal disturbance. During both FOS Diet and Standard Diet periods, dogs were presented with couch (Cynodon dactylon) and kikuyu (Pennisetum clandestinum) grasses, and the time spent eating grass and the number of grass eating and vomiting events was recorded. Our study found that dogs spent significantly more time eating grass when fed the standard diet and producing normal stools than when they were fed the FOS diet and producing loose stools, suggesting that dogs do not use grass to self-medicate a diarrhoeal gastrointestinal disturbance. However, this does not preclude that other forms of gastrointestinal disturbance may be self-medicated by grass eating behaviours. Importantly, dogs did not use grass as an emetic, as there were only two vomiting events and 374 grass eating events observed. Alternatively, the reduction in grass eating may be attributable to a feeling of satiety caused by the fermentation of FOS. For further clarity, future research should examine the effect of other gastrointestinal disturbances, such as constipation (hard, dry stools) or nausea, on grass eating behaviour in the domestic dog.
© 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keyword Canis familiaris
Diarrhoea
Domestic dog
Feeding behaviour
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 28 Mar 2010, 10:07:43 EST