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It is not uncommon for dogs to munch on plants, steal twigs, or simply forage around in the garden bed or lawn.
Not only is this habit destructive, but it is also dangerous for the dog since there is a wide variety of plants that are toxic to these canine companions.
So, it is imperative to choose pet-safe plants to ensure optimum safety for your pet.
Zebra grass is among the most common landscaping and gardening choices for modern property owners.
But is it safe for dogs?
Well, here is a quick breakdown of this ornamental grass’ safety limits, especially with regard to dogs.
What is Zebra Grass?
Miscanthus Sinensis, simply referred to as zebra grass, Japanese silver grass, or “zebrinus”, is a distinctly variegated cultivar known for its arching leaves with horizontal gold rings.
It originated from Japan and its environs.
This perennial ornamental grass also features white, silvery flowers that add to its aesthetic appeal and make it a very common choice for landscapers.
What’s more, zebrinus has a propensity to grow to massive heights of up to 7 ft. and clump together in bushy hedges.
As such, this ornamental plant species makes for an imposing and eye-catching addition to any garden or yard.
In addition to its silvery flowers, yellowish rings, and towering height, zebra grass is also a formidable utility for any yard—it is highly tolerant to drought, thus offering year-round ground cover, and is deer-resistant.
Is Zebra Grass Toxic to Dogs?
The short answer is: No, zebra grass is not toxic to dogs.
According to ASPCA, Cordyline australis, also known as palm lily or giant dracaena, is the only ornamental grass that is toxic to dogs.
Therefore, you should not worry much about your dog’s occasional grass-eating habits if you have this cultivar in your lawn or garden.
Nonetheless, zebra grass still poses a significant risk to your pet.
It is possible that the dog will ingest harmful chemicals after eating zebra grass. These include toxins such as fertilizers or pesticides used in the foliage’s cultivation.
Another major risk is wilting or drying zebra grass. While this plant is naturally non-toxic, it may still be harmful to dogs if they ingest its disease-ridden variant.
Watch out for black spots or signs of wilting on your zebra grass to ensure it is not drying from a disease.
Lastly, the grass might also be contaminated with parasites from traces of animal poop.
Consuming such contaminated grass will cause the dog to get intestinal parasites that bring about further health complications.
If you spot any alarming signs on your zebra grass or regularly use chemicals to treat your yard or garden, keep your pet away from these areas.
However, if your dog swallows, chews, or licks a grass that you suspect to be contaminated, rush him to the closest veterinarian for an emergency checkup.
And if you suspect that your dog may have been poisoned because of the chemicals or fertilizers you used in your yard, consider taking a picture of the fertilizer’s or pesticide’s ingredient label to help guide the vet in efficiently treating your dog.
You may also be interested in: Is Monkey Grass Poisonous To Dogs?
What Will Happen If My Dog Eats Zebra Grass?
First things first, why would a dog eat grass in the first place?
Well, while grass is a non-food item, dogs are still likely to consume this plant material at one point or another due to a number of reasons.
It might be the dog suffers from a condition called pica whereby the pet craves and consumes non-food objects.
The condition is often caused by nutritional deficiency, boredom or anxiety in dogs.
Alternatively, the dog might want to explore outside its limited dietary range or it might use grass to regurgitate the substance that is causing its stomach upset.
Yes, your dog may occasionally eat grass as an emetic to help it vomit when it is unwell.
Grass strands tickle the dog’s inners, prompting it to regurgitate the substance causing its stomach upset.
Learn more here: Why Is My Dog Dry Heaving And Eating Grass?
Now that we understand, why a dog may sample some zebra grass, let’s focus on what can happen if a dog consumes this ornamental grass…
So, what can you expect if your dog consumes zebra grass?
The good news is that, like most ornamental grass varieties, zebra grass is non-toxic.
Moreover, being natural scavengers, dogs are naturally designed to throw up as natural protection from consuming non-food or harmful substances.
Therefore, if your fur baby consumes zebra grass, the dog’s stomach will most likely reject the grass, causing them to vomit.
However, your dog is still at risk of consuming drying, disease-ridden, or contaminated variants of the grass.
In such cases, consider visiting the nearest vet immediately for an emergency checkup.
The most common symptom of an underlying health issue caused by eating toxic zebra grass is unusually frequent vomiting.
Other symptoms to look out for include a sudden loss of appetite, vomiting multiple times in less than 24 hours, weight loss, unusual smell in dog poop, and bloody diarrhea.
By and large, the next time you are landscaping or plan to add ornamental grass to your in-ground garden, zebra grass should be among your top horse contenders.
This highly variegated cultivar is drought-tolerant, highly aesthetic, and deer-resistant.
More importantly, it is non-toxic to dogs. You do not have to worry much about your dog’s health if it consumes grass.
Nonetheless, you need to regularly look out for signs of contaminated zebra grass for the sake of your dog’s wellbeing.
Get rid of any strands with black spots or dried patches. Also, make a habit of collecting animal poop from the grass daily.
Lastly, while zebra grass is not toxic, erect a fence around it to prevent your dog from indulging in the plant matter if you use chemical compounds, such as fertilizers and pesticides, to maintain your lawn.
Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.