When dogs eat nonfood items, such as grass and sharp objects, the behavior is known as Pica in dogs. Pica is actually quite common in pets; however, some of them take it to extremes. In fact, some dogs can become very destructive when they exhibit this behavior. If you have a dog that seems to enjoy eating strange objects, the following information can help.
Common Objects Dogs May Eat
There are many different objects your dog may eat if it develops pica, but it is not clear as to why dogs choose the various objects they decide to eat. Additionally, some dogs seem to enjoy eating one object over another. Nevertheless, the most common objects that dogs may eat if they have pica are listed below:
- Wool, Fleece and Stuffed Animals
- Paper Products and Grocery Bags
- Doors and Walls
- Rubber Bands
- Grass and Plants
- Shower Curtains
- Electrical Cords
- Dirt, Rocks, Cat Litter, Clay and Soap
Common Causes of Pica Disorder in Dogs
Why is my dog eating strange objects? There are many reasons why dogs may develop pica and begin eating strange objects. Additionally, while the behavior occurs more frequently in young animals, older pets may develop the condition as well. At any rate, the most common causes of pica in dogs are as follows:
- Dietary Deficiencies
- Underlying Medical Conditions
- Genetic Predisposition
- Boredom or Stress
- Compulsive Disorder
- Extreme Hunger
Treating Pica Disorder in Dogs
How to treat pica in dogs? While eating a bit of paper or dirt will not harm your dog, there are some objects that can cause serious problems if your dog chooses to eat them. For example, rubber bands and shoelaces could cause intestinal blockages, and some plants can be poisonous. Sharp rocks and electrical wires can even puncture your dog’s esophagus, stomach or intestines.
With that said, the best way to treat pica disorder in dogs is to remove the targeted objects from your home if possible. If you cannot remove the objects, place them out of reach of your dog. Other ways to discourage pica include giving your dog other things to chew on and spraying the targeted objects with Bitter Apple.
When to See a Vet
If the preventative tips described above do not work, you may want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. A full checkup can rule out any medical problems or dietary issues that may be causing your pet to eat strange objects. Additionally, if your pet displays the following symptoms, you will need to take it to your vet right away:
- Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
- Coughing or Choking Behavior
- Straining During Elimination/Constipation
- Sensitive Abdomen
- Change in Behavior/Depression
- Refusal to Eat and/or Increased Thirst
Eating strange objects, or pica, is quite common among dogs. Typically, this behavior is harmless. However, when dogs take the behavior to extremes, it can become a problem. If you notice your dog eating nonfood items, the information described above can help change your dog’s behavior.