Have you ever come home to find that your canine pal has chewed up your sofa, or eaten your shoes? This may extend beyond Fido’s natural need to chew. There is actually a specific name for this behavior: pica. The whats, whens, and whys of pica in dogs can vary widely. A local vet provides some information on it below.
Eating grass is one of the most common forms of pica. There are several possible reasons for this. Fido may be trying to get relief from an upset stomach, or he may be trying to compensate for a nutritional imbalance, which may have manifested as a craving. While most grass isn’t dangerous in and of itself, many plants are. Plus, a lawn treated with pesticides or chemicals is definitely not safe for your pooch to eat. Your furry pal could also pick up parasites.
If Fido snacks on your lawn, it isn’t usually going to be an emergency. Unfortunately, though, pica isn’t limited to grass. Our canine friends have been known to eat all sorts of things. Underwear and socks are two common items. Man’s Best Friend has also eaten rocks, nails, toyes, screws, batteries, watches, and, of course, homework, to name just a few. As one can imagine, these things are definitely not safe for your furry friend. Some can cause intestinal damage, blockages, or choking. Others, such as batteries, are highly toxic. In some cases, dogs’ ‘snacks’ will pass out the usual way. However, some cases may become life-threatening, requiring surgical intervention. Call your vet immediately if you suspect or know your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have.
Having Fido examined by a vet is the first course of action in pups with pica. It’s important to determine if your pooch has health problems or nutritional issues. Thyroid issues, diabetes, and malnutrition are a few possibilities. Your vet may recommend putting Fido on medication, supplements or changing Fido’s diet.
It’s also important to realize that sometimes dogs engage in pica due to mental or emotional issues, such as stress, fear, or loneliness. Make sure Fido has suitable playtime and toys, and spend lots of quality time with him. Puppyproofing is also a must. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have more questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your animal clinic, today.