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Why Do Dogs Eat Things They Shouldn’t? How Can I Prevent Them from Doing So?
Does your dog eat items that aren’t food, like paper, dirt, poop, rocks, or clothes? Are you worried about why they are eating these things, and how you can stop them?
Well, firstly, know that you’re not alone! Many dogs eat non-food items, so many that this is actually a diagnosed condition called ‘pica’ (eating specifically poop is called coprophagia). Whilst if your dog eats non-food items once or twice it’s probably not a big deal, if they regularly eat non-food items, you may want to consult with your vet.
For obvious reasons, eating things that aren’t food can cause health problems in dogs; the items they eat may be toxic, disrupt their digestive processes or get stuck in their intestines! Moreover, it can indicate that there is an underlying health problem causing your dog to eat these things.
Read on to learn about why dogs might have pica and coprophagia, and how you can fix these conditions.
What causes Pica?
Pica is a condition wherein dogs crave for and eat non-food items. Some dogs may eat only one kind of object, whilst others eat a wide range of items – they can eat anything from golf balls to stones, but what seems to be most common is for dogs to eat clothing items belonging to their owners. Socks, underwear and stockings seem to be the most commonly eaten non-food items, followed by dog beds, sofa and cushions, and children’s toys.
“In these cases, it seems that dogs eat them purely due to the scent associated with them,” says Lawson Wood, a dog expert at Simplegrad and Assignment Services. “Pets may be used to eating food smelling like their owners, and associate all items that smell like their owners with feeding time.”
As far as coprophagia is concerned (the ingestion of feces), this can be due to fecal matter containing undigested food and smelling appealing to dogs. Eating poop is not always dangerous and most dogs do it at some point or other – but it can cause stomach problems!
However, there are some more serious causes for pica, which is why you should always consult your vet to find out if there is an underlying problem. These can include nutritional imbalances and malnutrition, hormonal imbalances, diseases like diabetes and thyroid problems. Vets will test for this with blood, urine, stool and digestion/malabsorption tests. They might also have parasites or worms causing them to have a bigger appetite than usual!
Pica can also be triggered by mental health problems. Emotional issues like separation anxiety and stress can cause dogs to be destructive or self-destructive, and in other cases, animals might be simply bored.
What Can I Do About It?
Pica treatment depends on the underlying cause, so you should first visit your vet and find out why your dog is eating pants!
If there is a health problem, this will need to be remedied by your vet. These are usually the easiest to address: if your dog is malnourished, you will need to add supplements or different food stuffs to their diet. Switching diets, curing parasites and taking medicine are also common fixes.
Dogs with pica might need smaller, more regular meals if they are dealing with digestive mishaps.
“If it’s caused by emotional, behavioural issues, you may need to consult a doggy psychologist or professional obedience trainer to combat these issues,” says Saniya Morrison, a writer at Essayroo and Australianhelp. “You will need to treat anxiety and boredom by providing your dog with more stimulation and activities to combat these problems. Try adding extra walks or games into their routine to tire them out. You can also try a wider range of chew toys to keep them, and their mouths, busy!”
If no underlying causes of your pooch’s pica can be discovered, you can simply remove items that they like to eat from their reach. Keeping clothes in drawers and hampers works well, as well as keeping the floor clean of toys and other bits and bobs they will chew on. Remember that food safety for dogs begins with their owners – secure your trash, pick your dirty socks up off the floor, and shut doors to the bathroom and kitchen if your dogs are regularly eating household items!
Beatrix Potter is a dog expert at Academic Writing Service and Finance Writing Service UK writing services. Beatrix is a proud owner of French bulldog named Ponch. She also is an online proofreader at Essay Services website.