If you’ve had a chance to read our first blog in this series, then you already know about the many reasons why dogs eat things they shouldn’t, and in our last blog, we talked about what you should do if you think your dog ingested something toxic or inedible. In most cases, dogs who have ingested something they shouldn’t can be treated, but it’s much better for everyone involved if you can prevent your dog from doing this in in the first place. But, if your dog is a compulsive eater, what can you do to prevent it from happening? Here are a few steps you can take to prevent your dog from eating anything and everything:
First and foremost, if you know your dog will ingest just about anything, you should make it a point to keep any and all toxins and dangerous objects far away from your dog. If your dog can’t get to it, they can’t ingest it!
Boredom is a big reason why some dogs chew on shoes, socks and other objects that can be dangerous for them to consume, so make sure you do your part to keep them mentally and physically entertained. Walking your dog every day, playing with your dog and training your dog to do new tricks are all great ways to keep them from being bored.
Dogs are social animals, and sometimes, dogs who don’t get enough attention will act out, like by eating something they know they shouldn’t, simply to get a reaction out of their owner. Don’t make your dog resort to acting out in order to get you to pay attention to them. Take time out of your schedule to spend one-on-one with your dog every single day to show how much you care about them.
Many chew toys for dogs, like bully sticks, can blur the lines between toys and food making it confusing for some dogs. Any time your dog is chewing on a toy with parts that could be torn away and ingested, like stuffed animals with beaded eyes, or any toys meant to be chewed on but not ingested, like rawhides, keep a close eye on your dog. However, if your dog has had a history of ingesting those types of toys in the past it’s best to avoid them altogether.
If there are objects in your house that your dog constantly chews on that you can’t get rid of, like furniture, you may be able to keep your pet away by using a dog repellent spray. These sprays are non-toxic, so even if your dog powers through and chews on the object anyway, the spray won’t hurt them.
If you are gone for long periods of time for work, school or anything else, and you know that your dog likes to get into things, it might be best to consider day care for your dog while you’re away. Day care provides both mental and physical stimulation leaving your dog tired and happy when you pick her up.
As we mentioned in our third point, some dogs will eat things because they know they will get a reaction out of their owner and they are looking for attention. If you think that your dog may be eating things to get attention, it’s important that you don’t react if you catch them eating something they shouldn’t. Even a bad reaction is a reaction, but if you simply ignore your dog, it will teach them that eating inedible objects is not the way to get your attention.
In most cases, pica — a condition that compels dogs to eat things that are inedible — is a behavioral issue that can be trained out of a dog, but that’s not always the case. There are many health conditions that can cause your dog to eat anything and everything. In order to rule out health concerns, you’ll need to visit your veterinarian. Additionally, some dogs compulsively eat because of stress or anxiety, and your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication or offer up other interventions to help to calm your dog.
Ingesting toxins and inanimate objects is a surefire way for your dog to end up in the emergency veterinary clinic, and we hope that this blog will help you learn how to prevent your dog from eating these things and help to keep them safe. If you think that anxiety or a medical condition is contributing to your dog’s pica, schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today!