Ask the vet why your dog eats things that aren’t food
Many dog owners have this problem: your dog eats the most bizarre things. Guest what? Veterinary medicine has a term for it and a diagnosis even.
The consumption of nonfood items is called pica. Although pica can be a sign that a dog’s diet is lacking in nutrition, pica often occurs in puppies and young dogs as a result of boredom.
Puppies eat all kinds of objects, and they tend to explore their world with their mouths. Although we aren’t quite sure why puppies do this, many puppies tend to chew and eat a variety of inedible objects, from rocks to plastic bags and toys, clothing, and even pieces of wood. Most puppies grow out of this behavior as the morph into adult dogs, with only the mildest of discouragement from their owners.
Many adult dogs that eat inedible objects may do so out of destructive chewing. This is different from pica, in that destructive chewing starts off as just that, chewing. Most doggy chewing doesn’t lead to actual swallowing of the object, but inevitably your dog may swallow bits and pieces. Dogs have an ever-impressive ability to swallow something that is in the back of their mouths without second thought.
Less commonly , adult dogs may eat inedible things because of a medical problem, such as an infection with intestinal parasites. Other medical roots for inappropriate ingestion of non-food stuff could be metabolic disorders, a nutritional deficiency, a neurological condition, or age-related dementia.
There are of course those curious pups who fall outside the box of normal puppy investigation and continue to eat inedible items long after their puppyhood days have passed. If you live with an adult dog that has an “evolved” palate that you just can’t decipher, he or she may suffer from a compulsive disorder.
If this is the case, you will have likely noticed it, and thought he or she seemed bizarrely interested and intense about finding their favorite inedible treats, with rocks and plastic ranking in the top as favorite inedible food item. If it is truly compulsive, it will be a frequent behavior, so it isn’t regularly motivated to devour these strange and tasteless treats, you can relax.
What if my dogs eats grass? Should I be concerned? Grass eating in dogs is largely considered safe for dogs.
Stay tuned for later this week when I discuss how to resolve a pica problem.
In the meantime, tell me: what is the weirdest thing your pet has ever eaten?