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Have you ever come home and found that your dog has chewed your new shoes, or torn up your sofa? If so, you’re not alone. We all know that dogs need to chew, but some of these behaviors go a bit beyond that. There’s actually a specific name for this behavior: pica. This means eating things that aren’t food. A local vet offers some information on it below.
One of the most common forms of pica in dogs is eating grass. There are several possible reasons for this. Your furry friend may be trying to soothe an upset stomach. He may also be trying to address a nutritional imbalance, which can sometimes manifest as a craving. It isn’t usually going to be an emergency If Fido snacks on your lawn, but it’s not great, either. While most types of grass aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, plenty of other plants are. Plus, a lawn that has been treated with chemicals or pesticides is definitely not safe for your pooch to eat. Parasites are another concern.
Unfortunately, though, pica isn’t limited to grass. Fido has been known to eat all sorts of things! Socks and underwear are two common items. Man’s Best Friend has also eaten nails, screws, toys, watches, batteries, rocks, and, of course, homework, to name just a few things. Pica of this sort can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal. Some items can cause choking or intestinal damage or blockages. Others, such as batteries, are highly toxic.
If you’re lucky, Fido’s ‘snacks’ will pass out the usual way, with no lasting damage. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some cases of pica can be life-threatening, and may require surgical intervention. Call your vet immediately if you know or suspect your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have.
The first thing to do is have Fido examined by a vet. It’s important to determine if your pooch has nutritional issues or other health problems. Diabetes, thyroid issues, and malnutrition are a few possibilities. Your vet may recommend changing your pup’s diet and/or putting him on medication and/or supplements.
Keep in mind that sometimes dogs engage in pica due to mental or emotional issues, such as stress, fear, or loneliness. Make sure your canine pal has suitable toys, and is getting enough exercise and playtime. You’ll also need to be extra careful with puppyproofing. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your animal clinic, today.