Today we’re going to talk about couch grass for dogs. Also known as Elymus repens, couch grass is a perennial species of grass native to Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. It has been found in other climates as well but is mostly considered a weed in milder northern locales.
Couch grass is noted for its creeping rootstalks, which make it a rather invasive species because it will grow quickly across grasslands. This grass is also noted for its usage as forage, with all sorts of grazing animals using it for food. Grassland birds, like finches, eat couch grass seeds and caterpillars also use it for food.
Despite being the bane of existence for gardeners, couch grass is very interesting for herbalists. It has several medicinal properties and can be used by humans as well as pets. The rhizomes have anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, plus they can be used as a diuretic. Cats and dogs alike tend to eat the leaves, which is a great help if your four-legged friend has an upset stomach or any kind of digestive concern.
What is Couch Grass good for?
Therapeutic Uses of Couch Grass For Dogs
It should be noted that dogs that consume couch grass may vomit it right back up again. This is no cause for concern, as this is part of the digestive process. It is believed that dogs instinctively know to eat couch grass to induce vomiting and subsequently cool the blood. This interesting tidbit once again reveals that our pets do know best when it comes to their health and wellbeing.
- How to make couch grass tea: Couch grass can be made into a tea to assist with digestive issues and to soothe the digestive system. Simply add two teaspoons of cut rhizome to water, bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Serve to your dog cooled. In some instances, flavor can be added with cranberry or other berries to help with digestion. The tea may not induce vomiting like direct consumption of the couch grass.
- Couch grass diuretic effects: While there are no known clinical trials of couch grass in humans, consumption for dogs is not only safe but valuable. Dogs using couch grass see benefits in terms of their overall digestive health, as it can serve as part of irrigation therapy for the urinary tract. Either by consuming it raw from the ground or using the aforementioned tea, the diuretic effects of couch grass can work wonders for your pet.
- Prevention of kidney stones: There is one recorded study that reports the effects of couch grass on rats, specifically related to calcium oxalate urolithiasis risk. This refers to calcium salts in the urinary tract and there is some evidence to suggest that the risk manifests similarly in dogs. Couch grass may have an effect in the prevention of kidney stones, which in turn suggests that it could be a bit of a wonder grass in terms of urinary conditions.
- Dog’s Best Friend: There have also been studies as to the nutrition found in couch grass, specifically related to sheep. And while we do not know any conclusions that suggest couch grass is particularly healthy, there is evidence to suggest that munching down on some of the stuff does a body good. With so many animals noshing on couch grass as part of their diets, it’s entirely probable that this invasive weed truly is dog’s best friend.
Couch grass is seen as an irritant for many gardeners and people just trying to maintain a good yard. This is considered an invasive weed and it can be hard to maintain couch grass because the rhizomes are prone to going wherever they want. That can make this herbal treatment a nuisance to cultivate but nevertheless a joy to use.
When it comes to couch grass for dogs, there are no known side effects beyond the vomiting that may take place when dogs consume it raw from the ground. This vomiting is, once again, part of a normal digestive cleansing process and should not be any cause for alarm. As with any herbal treatment, there may be allergic reactions to consider. For the most part, however, this is a safe grass.
Reasons to Use Couch Grass for Dogs
The availability of couch grass for dogs is one of the best reasons to use it on a regular basis. It may wreak havoc on gardeners, but herbalists find it to be one of those miracle products that can be consumed by almost any pet with great results. While the nutritional value of couch grass isn’t exactly known, it does have anti-inflammatory properties and makes for one heck of a diuretic.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen