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Have you ever come home to find that your pooch ate your couch cushions or chewed up your shoes? If so, you are certainly not alone! Although this behavior—technically known as pica—can make for some funny stories, it’s actually a very serious matter. Eating inappropriate objects can cause serious injuries in dogs, and can even be fatal! Here, an Oconomowoc, WI vet discusses Fido’s unusual eating habits.
If your dog has a habit of eating things that aren’t food, it’s extremely important for you to keep a close eye on him, and watch for any warning signs of illness. If Fido has eaten something he shouldn’t have, getting him to the vet’s quickly is crucial, and could even save his life! Some of the things to watch for include a lack of appetite and/or thirst, vomiting, unusual vocalizations or behavior, grumpiness, lethargy, and dizziness.
The list of items our canine buddies have ingested is definitely an eyebrow-raiser. Screws, nails, remote controls, jewelry, rocks, stuffed animals, socks, cell phones, and underwear are just a few of the things Man’s Best Friend has eaten. It’s worth noting that many dogs like eating grass. While this behavior is technically pica, it isn’t a cause for concern in and of itself, as regular grass isn’t poisonous or dangerous to our four-legged pals. However, Fido could get sick from eating grass that has been treated with toxic chemicals, such as pesticides or fertilizers. Parasites are another concern.
Before you can address Fido’s behavior, you’ll need to figure out the root cause for it. Unfortunately, this may be easier said than done. Pica can be caused by a variety of things, including parasites, boredom, anxiety, curiosity, or even malnutrition. Start by having your vet do a full exam, to rule out any medical issues. It’s also important to make sure that your pooch is eating good, nourishing food; is getting the right type and amount of exercise; and that he has plenty of fun, safe toys to play with. Some puppyproofing is also in order: you’ll want to remove, secure, or protect anything potentially dangerous. Taste deterrent products may also help. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Please contact us anytime! As your Oconomowoc, WI animal clinic, we’re here to help!