If your dog eats everything !
Pica is the consumption of non-food substances. Coprophagy, the technical term for the eating of feces, is one of the most common forms of pica in dogs. Both coprophagia and pica in general can cause problems for pets, and sometimes are the result of an underlying medical condition.
Most cases of pica in pets are behavioral in nature. Still, it’s important to rule out any medical conditions such as malnutrition, liver disease, anemia, and parasites. Once we know your pet is eating non food items for behavioral reasons, we can start to look at causes and prevention.
Common behavioral reasons for pica include:
Stress or anxiety
Fear of punishment (in the case of stool eating, eliminating the evidence of an accident in the house may help the dog avoid being punished)
In most cases, pica does not go away on it’s own. It’s often a compulsive behavior, regardless of how it started or the reasons for it.
If there isn’t an underlying medical condition, the following measures can be taken to help prevent pica and treat the behavioral issue.
Make sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Ask us about your dog’s breed, age, and lifestyle for recommendations. Most dogs need at least 60 minutes of exercise per day – hunting and sporting breeds need much more.
Consider environmental enrichment such as food puzzles, games, and a dog walker if you are away from home a lot to decrease boredom
Eliminate access to objects that your dog may eat
Consider training your dog to wear a basket muzzle, if she eats objects in the yard. Never leave a muzzled dog unattended.
Leash walk your dog and distract him from eating objects or poop with treats and praise. Teach him the “leave it” command.
Try covering the objects with a bitter apple spray or cayenne pepper.
Provide lots of safe toys and chewing objects that your pet can’t swallow.
If your pet continues to eat foreign objects, consider a referral to a veterinary behaviorist who can help you get to the root of your pet’s behavior