Purple Fountain Grass & Dogs

Overview

Protecting your dog from accidental poisoning means more than keeping him away from radiator fluid and rat poison. Every plant in your yard represents a possible hazard, because if Fido can reach it, he will try to eat it. As a responsible pet owner, evaluate each landscaping choice in terms of your beloved animal's safety.

About Purple Fountain Grass

Pennisetum setaceum "Rubrum" is an ornamental grass popular for its striking coloration and long flower racemes that together give it its common name, purple fountain grass. It requires very little maintenance, tolerates many climate and soil variations (as long as temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit) and isn't susceptible to pests.

Plant-Based Nutrients

Dogs are not actually carnivores. They're scavenging omnivores with digestive systems designed to take advantage of any available food source. If your dog starts feeling peckish while he's running around outside, he might snack on grass, fruits, berries or any other hand plant material with possible nutritional value. He might even be seeking nutrients that are missing in his regular diet. If your dog makes a habit of grazing, consider adding herbs and cooked vegetables to his daily meals.

Natural Indigestion Remedy

Another reason your dog might eat grass is to settle an upset or gassy stomach. He won't be doing it specifically to induce vomiting, but this is a common side-effect. A tendency to graze doesn't necessarily indicate a sick pet, but if your dog is eating grass in huge gulps rather than nibbling and chewing, consider taking him to a vet for a check-up.

Non-Toxic Status

Pawprints & Purrs, Inc. lists purple fountain grass as a non-toxic plant. Plants on their non-toxic listing have not been reported as having "systemic effects on animals" or as having "intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract." This is no guarantee that eating purple fountain grass won't produce some symptoms, such as "vomiting, diarrhea, depression, or a combination of all three." But these symptoms tend not to indicate serious medical conditions. You can generally expect them to go away on their own. If they do not, bring your dog to the vet.

Possible Irritant

The grass blades themselves can be rather sharp, and are thus likely to have a negative impact on a dog's digestive system.

Keywords: purple fountain grass, Pennisetum setaceum rubrum, dogs eat grass, dogs grazing, toxic plants

About this Author

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little is a freelance writer, blogger, and web designer from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a graduate of the professional SF/F workshop Viable Paradise (2006). Recent published work appears at TwilightTales.com and Pangaia.com, with a short story forthcoming at Ideomancer.com (March 2010).