Updated: Jul 1
I'm sure my dogs have cow in their genetic makeup! Seriously, they spend as much time munching on the different grasses in my yard as they do running, playing and sniffing!
When I first saw them doing it I thought surely something must be wrong! But actually, it's perfectly normal for dogs to forage on different grasses. They're actually doing what we call self-selection, which is looking for specific plants that their body needs. Their senses can pick out the different chemicals in the plant and, if their brain decides they need it, it becomes super delicious to them...and they can't resist a nibble!
Now this is great if your dog has access to a garden with lots of different plants and grasses. But unfortunately, many of our homes have been artificially planted with one and only one species of grass because, well, it's pretty and uniform. But that doesn't really help out our dogs much, does it?
Well I have a simple solution for you! Build a sensory garden for your dogs! It's really simple! Just build a raised bed for flowers or vegetables or designate a patch of lawn to create your doggy self-selection center!
You can plant it with a wide variety of beneficial herbs that your dog can choose from depending on his or her needs. Here's a list of plants with beneficial effects that you can start off with:
Catnip: this has relaxation properties and stimulates playfulness
Chamomile: dogs suffering from anxiety or skin/stomach upsets will be attracted to this plant’s scent
Clary sage: good for highly strung animals and those with hormonal imbalance
Hops: a calming plant often selected by hyperactive and stressed dogs
Lavender: helps to reduce anxiety and other nervous conditions
Marigold: dogs experiencing grief or emotional distress will often sniff out this plant
Marshmallow: known to help dogs with delicate stomachs
Meadowsweet: often selected by dogs with digestive problems, arthritis and rheumatic conditions
Mimulus: used as a remedy for dogs that are nervous, timid and shy
Mint: good for cooling properties and will often be selected by dogs who suffer from skin irritations
Plantain: helps gastric irritation and inflammation
Thyme: chosen by dogs with bacterial infections, skin irritations and diarrhea
Valerian: often selected by anxious dogs for its calming effect
Vervain: valuable for treating and nourishing nervous system disorders such as depression
Violet: nervous dogs or those who have recently changed home may enjoy sniffing this plant
Yarrow: great for animals with inflammation, urinary problems and internal and external wounds
Peppermint: chosen by dogs with upset stomach, gas or nausea
Basil: known for its antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties
Fennel: dogs with intestinal colic, cramps or gas will choose this plant
Angelica: selected by dogs suffering from anemia, inflammation or pain
Milk thistle: helps detoxify the liver and helps with any problem related to the liver, kidneys or pancreas
In addition, if you'd like to plant some beneficial herbs that you can pick and dry to keep in your pantry for specific pup problems, get my free guide, 10 herbs for your home pharmacy, which includes 10 must have herbs for common ailments, plus specifics on how to give it to your dog.
Now put on your coveralls, go outside and get to gardening!