Have you ever come home and found that Fido has eaten your sneakers, or chewed up your sofa? Chewing is natural behavior in dogs, but some of our canine pals go further than that, and eat things that aren’t food. There’s actually a specific name for this behavior: pica. A local vet offers some information on it below.
The whats, whens, and whys of pica in dogs can vary widely. One common form of pica is eating grass. There are several possible reasons for this: your pup may be trying to soothe an upset stomach. Or, he may be trying to address a nutritional imbalance, such as a lack of fiber. It isn’t necessarily an emergency if Fido eats your lawn, but there are some concerns. While most grass isn’t dangerous in and of itself, many plants are. Plus, a lawn that has been treated with chemicals or pesticides is definitely not safe for dogs to eat. Your furry buddy could also pick up parasites.
Fido Ate What?
Unfortunately, pica isn’t limited to grass. Man’s Best Friend has eaten all sorts of things. That list includes socks, underwear, rocks, nails, screws, toys, watches, phones, necklaces, wedding rings, batteries, and, of course, homework. As one can imagine, this can be a very dangerous habit. Many of these types of items are toxic, while others are choking hazards. Others can cause gastrointestinal damage or blockages. Sometimes, these ‘snacks’ will pass out the usual way. However, that isn’t always the case. Instances of pica can become life-threatening, and sometimes require surgical intervention. Call your vet immediately if you know or suspect that Fido has eaten something he shouldn’t have.
If you know or suspect that Fido is engaging in pica, take him to the vet for a thorough exam. Pica can be caused by medical problems, such as thyroid issues, diabetes, or malnutrition. Your vet may recommend changing your pup’s diet, or putting him on medication and/or supplements.
If your pet gets the all clear, you may need to address other elements of his care. Dogs do sometimes engage in pica due to mental or emotional issues, such as stress, fear, or loneliness. Make sure Fido has suitable toys, and is getting enough activity, walks, and playtime. Puppyproofing is also a must. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your animal hospital!