Treating Pica: 3 Ways You Can Make Your Dog Stop Eating Inedible Items

Posted on: 17 June 2016

If your dog tends to eat everything it sees, including non-food items, such as rocks, sticks, socks, and plastic bags, it has a condition called pica. There are several causes of pica. Some dogs gobble up items that they don't want other pets in the household to take away from them. Others eat non-food items out of boredom or a psychological condition. Some cases of pica are even caused by certain medical conditions. The problem with pica is that it can be deadly if your dog eats something it can't pass normally. For this reason, you should keep your dog from eating inedible items. 

See Your Doctor

As mentioned, some cases of pica are related to health problems. Most of these issues center around digestion and the digestive tract. If your dog has a digestive disorder, such as parasites or food poisoning, they may try to eat non-food items to "fix" the problem. Some dogs that are lacking essential nutrients will also crave certain non-food items. If your dog is engaging in pica behavior, the first thing you should do is see your veterinarian to rule out any health problems.

Exercise Them More

Many dogs display pica behavior because they are bored or don't have enough physical activity and stimulation in life. This might be why pica is pervasive in high-energy breeds like labs. If you have a high-energy breed, your dog needs lots of exercise. A couple of walks each day along with a few physically challenging games should be enough as long as your dog gets lots of interaction with the family. It might also help if your dog has a place to run and let off steam regularly. 

Deter Your Dog

Pica as a behavioral or psychological issue rarely goes away completely. However, you can deter your dog and prevent the behavior through diligence. To keep your dog from eating dangerous items, give them plenty of toys and treats that they can have access to at all times. Toys that have treats in them are ideal. Keep in mind that your dog is very intelligent and will get bored with the same old toys. Be sure to change things up a bit. You can also deter pica behavior by spraying their favorite types of things to much on with deterrent spray. 

Pica is a serious condition that could put your dog in the operating room or worse. If your dog tries to eat strange things, talk to your vet today and start taking steps to discourage the behavior. To find out more, speak with someone like Canal Road Animal Hospital.