Eating grass is common among dogs and cats, and it usually does not indicate a health problem.

DOGS: There are a variety of reasons that a dog might want to help maintain the lawn. Some studies suggest that dogs eat grass because they do not feel well, while others say that eating grass is a way for dogs to improve digestion, deal with intestinal worms, or fulfill an unmet nutritional need, such as a lack of fiber.

Dogs cannot digest grass, as they lack the enzymes needed to break it down. Therefore, there is little nutritional value in it for them.

Some think it is just an act of boredom. If this seems to be the case, try engaging in some fetch or bringing the dog for a walk to get some exercise and a little exploration of the neighborhood.

If a nutritional issue is suspected, try switching to a diet high in fiber and see if the grass-grazing decreases.

CATS: On the other hand, cats like to eat grass, and it may even be beneficial to their health. Some studies suggest that grass serves as a natural laxative for cats and can help break down fur balls as they pass through the digestive track.

While most experts agree that the act of eating grass is not harmful, it is important to remember that if the lawn has been treated with a pesticide or some other chemical, it can be harmful if ingested by a pet.

Also, several plants are poisonous to pets, and it is important to keep potentially toxic plants away from areas that a dog or cat may frequent, especially if they are grass eaters. For a complete list of harmful plants, visit www.aspca.org.

If a health condition is suspected, make an appointment with the vet to have the pet examined.

NO PLACE FOR PETS: Wishing everyone a Happy Mardi Gras! Reminder: Parade routes can be dangerous and stressful for pets.

Crowds can be overwhelming, and the potential to lose a pet is greater when there are hundreds of people around. If a pet gets lost on a parade route, it will be quite the adventure to find it.

Paradegoers in the vicinity may not be pet-friendly, could be intoxicated or have small children that are fearful of animals, so it's best not to put a pet in a situation where it can be harmed. Even if the family pet is not a biter, when put in a stressful environment, it may bite out of fear. Consider leaving them home this Carnival season, where they are safe and secure.

JOIN TEAM SPCA: Run (or walk) for the animals on Team LA/SPCA in the Crescent City Classic as a charity participant and receive swag bags with merchandise, free entry to NOLA on Tap 2018, pre- and post-event perks, a chance to win two JetBlue tickets, Damn Dog swag and a 3-month membership to New Orleans Athletic Club. Learn more about becoming a charity participant in the CCC and register for Team LA/SPCA at www.la-spca.org/ccc.

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact info to lostandfound@la-spca.org. In Jefferson Parish, send to molsen@jeffparish.net and bbourgeois@jeffparish.net. In St. Bernard Parish, send to cluna@sbpg.net.

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail.com or visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org.