Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.
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Why does my dog eat grass?

One of the most common questions we get here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is “Why does my dog keep eating grass?” Unfortunately, we’re sorry to say there is no real answer to this age-old question even though there have been 100’s of studies done over the years from US Davis down to top animal behaviourists.

There are several theories, one of which goes back to ancestral days with a wild dog’s needs to fulfil its dietary requirements.

What People Commonly Think:

  1. They don’t feel well and are trying to make themselves vomit. However, about 75% of normal, healthy dogs eat grass and plants without ever vomiting or regurgitating and less than 10% of dogs will vomit/regurgitate shortly after eating grass. Many believe a dog will graze on grass to alleviate an upset or gassy stomach. If eating grass is a new behaviour for your dog or the occasional graze turns into aggressive, all out gulping of grass and plant material, this could be a sign of an underlining illness and should be brought to your veterinarian’s attention.
  2. They have internal parasites that they are trying to rid themselves of. There are wolf studies that think the grass and plant material helps to lower parasite loads or aid in digestion by providing fiber and nutrients but statistics still show that 70% of domesticated dogs with balanced diets and good parasite control still eat grass. Perhaps this is just simply a passed down trait from their less domesticated ancestors.
  3. They eat grass simply because they are bored. Some dogs will develop behavioural eating patterns such as Pica which is the term used for eating things other than food. This is often noted in young puppies and some think it can either be related to boredom as well as a nutritional deficiency in the diet. If you suspect boredom, you can start by increasing your dog’s amount of daily exercise or introducing a new toy or activity into their routine. If you are concerned about their dietary needs or suspect a nutritional disorder, consult with your family veterinarian for advice on a balanced, daily diet.

Although nobody really seems to know exactly why dogs eat grass, most experts will agree that the occasional grazing itself in not harmful to your pet and it seems to be quite normal. However, grazing in unknown areas which could contain fertilizers or pesticides is another story and could be quite harmful to your pet. If your dog is a grazer, you may want to monitor him or keep him on a leash in unfamiliar environments. A new study even suggests dogs eat grass simply because they like it!

Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital

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Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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Last updated: May 29, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.

1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day then we were pre-COVID.

2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE

If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

4. OPERATING HOURS

During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet’s much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business.

We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

We are continuing to expand our hours to better serve our clients and social distance our team with 1 vet and 1 tech here until 11:00 pm, 7 days a week.


Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital