How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Anything and Everything

Too often, dogs eat things that are toxic or inedible.

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:

#1. Keep toxins and other dangerous objects out of reach.

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!

#2. Walk your dog or keep them otherwise entertained every day.

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.

#3. Give your dog plenty of attention and love.

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.

#4. Watch your dog closely when they’re chewing on toys.

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.

#5. Use a dog repellent spray.

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.

#6. Consider dare care.

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.

#7. Don’t reward bad behavior.

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.

#8. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in Carroll Gardens.

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!

What to do if Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn't

Does your dog eat just about anything in sight?

Pica is a compulsive behavior disorder that causes dogs to eat things that aren’t edible. In our last blog, we went over several reasons why many dogs develop pica. But understanding why your dog is eating something they shouldn’t is just the first step; you also need to know what to do when your dog eats something that could obstruct their digestive system or something that could be toxic to them. That’s why your go-to animal hospital in Carroll Gardens has come up with this guide on what to do when your dog eats something they shouldn’t.

When Your Dog Ingests a Toxin

In 2016, the Animal Poison Control Center run by the ASPCA was called by more than 180,000 pet owners whose dog or cat ate something toxic, and that number doesn’t even include any of the other poison control centers or the many pets who are treated by local veterinarians. The fact of the matter is that there are many different things around your home that could be toxic to your pet, and before we get into what to do when your dog ingested a toxin, you need to know what they are.

Common Toxins Dog Owners Should Watch Out For

  • Human Medications - These include prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as natural supplements and herbs.
  • Table Scraps - Not all table scraps are toxic for dogs, but many are, including chocolate, onions, coffee, garlic, raisins and grapes.
  • Rodenticides and Pesticides - Never store or spray pesticides or rodenticides around your dog.
  • Pet Medications - Though these medications are safe when given according to your veterinarian’s instructions, they can be dangerous if your dog gets into the bottle and consumes too much.
  • Houseplants - There are many plants that can be dangerous to your pet, including chamomile, lillies and aloe vera.
  • Household Items - Keep household items, like paint, cleaning products and gardening products, well away from your dog.

Signs of Toxicity in Dogs

You may not always know when your dog has swallowed a toxin, and it’s important to be aware of the signs of toxicity in dogs:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising
  • Inability to urinate
  • Irregular heartbeat
Of course, the time it takes for these signs to show up, as well as the severity of these signs will depend on what and how much your dog consumed. Additionally, some dogs may not show any signs of toxicity at all, so make sure that you watch for other signs, like a spilled container, torn packaging or an empty wrapper. Regardless of whether your dog is actually showing symptoms, if you have reasons to believe they ate something toxic, don’t wait to take action.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog Ate Something Toxic

Get your dog someplace safe.
The very first thing you should do is get your dog away from the toxin in question so that they cannot consume any more. If you have other animals, keep them away from both the toxin and your dog.
Call your veterinarian right away.
Whether your pet has diarrhea or they are acting perfectly normal, you’ll want to make sure that you call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you think they ingested a toxin.
Don’t try to induce vomiting unless your veterinarian tells you to.
Many people go straight to inducing vomiting when their dog eats a toxin, but it’s important to know that, in some cases, this can actually make matters worse. For instance, if your dog ate something that is caustic, forcing them to vomit it back up could lead to severe esophageal irritation.
Prevent your dog from grooming themselves.
Don’t allow your dog to groom themselves, as the substance still could be on their paws or fur. If your dog needs a bath consult your veterinarian first as some chemicals can be absorbed by your dog’s skin.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Other Objects

If your dogs eats any object that is inedible like socks, shoes, a tennis ball, sticks or bone fragments do not wait to contact your veterinarian. While these items may not be poisonous for dogs, they can cause other issues. Some things can get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract, leading to an obstruction, and sharp objects like sticks and bone fragments could puncture your dog’s intestines. In either case, surgery may be required to remove the object. If you think your dog ate something they shouldn't, don’t take a chance. Instead, contact our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens — The Vet Set — right away. While there are luckily treatment options that can help your dog to recover from ingesting something they shouldn’t, it’s much easier to prevent it from happening in the first place. Learn how to prevent your dog from eating things they shouldn’t when you stay tuned for our next blog.

Why Some Dogs Will Eat Anything

Some dogs will eat just about anything.

Dogs have been known to devour a wide variety of objects that aren’t edible and certainly aren’t meant to be consumed. For example, Ozzy, an American Bulldog, swallowed a tennis ball whole, while Bear, a Pomeranian Poodle mix, has eaten everything from her own poop to shoes and dead birds. The formal name for compulsive consumption is called pica, and it can cause a lot of trouble, but before we go into how to prevent your dog from eating anything and everything, it’s important to understand why they do this. Here are just a few of the many reasons why some dogs will eat just about anything:

#1. Dogs explore the world with their mouths.

Human babies learn about the world through their mouths, and dogs do, too. Puppies are born deaf and blind, which means that they have to rely on their skin, nose and mouth to learn about their environment. Additionally, puppies don’t have opposable thumbs, and they use their mouths to pick things up and carry things around. Young puppies may not know how to properly differentiate between eating things and carrying them around in their mouth, and that learned behavior can follow them into adulthood.

#2. Dogs have scavenging in their blood.

Dogs, as well as their wild ancestors, are natural scavengers, eating whatever they can find. In fact, it was this natural instinct to scavenge that helped to build the relationship between dogs and humans that we now enjoy today. Dogs were naturally drawn to scavenge the garbage humans threw away because it was easier and took less energy than hunting. And, even though today’s dogs are fed plenty of high-quality dog food, their natural instinct to scavenge hasn’t gone away, which can cause them to eat almost anything they find.

#3. Dogs can exhibit compulsive behavior when they are stressed.

Stress and anxiety can affect dogs just as much as it can affect people. When a dog is subjected to environments where they are in danger or in an otherwise stressful situation, it can cause them to start eating things that are inappropriate as a way to relieve the stress. Some dogs are anxious and restless even in the best environments. If you think that your dog might be eating things they shouldn’t due to stress and anxiety, consult your veterinarian.

#4. Dogs are instinctive bingers.

In the wild finding food on a regular basis is not always possible. So when a pack of dogs took down prey they would often eat the whole thing in one sitting. This is because it might be days or weeks until they get another meal, and it’s not like they could store it somewhere safe for later on. As we mentioned in our second point, domestic dogs nowadays don’t have to binge because they get regular meals. But that doesn’t mean that the instinct to binge has been eliminated.

#5. Dogs eat things when they’re bored.

Boredom, which is often caused by a lack of mental and/or physical exercise and sometimes a lack of company, can cause a dog to eat things that they shouldn’t. Just as people will eat when they are bored, so will dogs. However, dogs can’t peruse the pantry or the refrigerator, so it often leaves them to dig in the trash or even to chew on objects that aren’t edible. Make it a point to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated with regular walks, games and other activities.

#6. Dog eat things to get attention.

Sometimes, dogs act out in order to get a reaction from their owners. If your dog isn’t feeling like they are getting the amount of attention they want from you they may eat things they know they shouldn’t simply because it causes you to react and give them attention, even if that attention is scolding them. For a dog that doesn’t get a lot of attention from owners even a scolding can be a welcome change.

#7. Dogs can gain insatiable appetites due to medical issues.

Not all dogs who eat anything and everything do so because of instinct or bad behavior. Sometimes, dogs feel hungry all the time because they are suffering from a medical issue. A few of the health conditions that can cause pica in dogs are Diabetes Melitus, a stomach tumor, hookworms, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, hyperthyroidism and many more. Now that you know what can cause dogs to eat just about anything, it’s time to learn what to do when you think your dog ingested something they shouldn’t. Be sure to stay tuned for our next blog to learn more! In the meantime, if you suspect your dog has ingested something inappropriate, don’t wait to get your dog the help they need. Contact our veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens right away.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm This 4th of July Part 2

The 4th of July is almost here, and it can be an anxiety-ridden holiday for any dog.

It’s perfectly natural for a dog to get anxious on the 4th of July, even if that same dog is calm the other 364 days out of the year. Dogs have no idea what fireworks are; all they know is that they made incredibly loud noises, and that can really freak them out. Thanks to all of that fear and anxiety, dogs can run away, or hurt themselves or other animals or people. But, there are many things you can do to make the 4th of July more pleasant for both you and your dog, and in our last blog, we touched on a few of them. Keep reading to learn more:

#7. Distract your dog with loud noise or music.

The noise of the fireworks is really the biggest thing that freaks dogs out, and one of the best way to reduce anxiety because of the noise is to distract your dog from it with other noises. Play music, run a fan or turn on the TV to distract your dog from the outside noises. However, keep in mind that your dog has a strong sense of hearing and is sensitive to all noises — not just fireworks — so don’t attempt to drown out the noise; just use it as a means of distraction.

#8. Keep your own behavior in check.

Dogs pick up on the feelings of their owners, and they learn from your actions, even when you’re not actively trying to train them. The normal reaction to a cowering, terrified dog is to shower them with cuddles and love, but it’s important not to take the comforting too far. If you reward your dog’s fear with love and kisses, it will reinforce their anxious, fearful behavior in the future. Instead, act normally around your dog, using a normal tone of voice. If your dog sees that you aren’t acting any differently, it will help to keep them calm.

#9. Think about boarding your dog.

If you can’t be home with your dog during the fireworks on the 4th of July, boarding your dog might be a better option than leaving them at home alone. These centers are usually well-insulated, and the noise from other barking dogs may even drown out the noise from the fireworks so much that your dog doesn’t even realize they are happening. However, if you’ve never boarded your dog before, the 4th of July is not a good day to do so for the first time, as it will likely only make your dog’s anxiety worse.

#10. Keep the blinds and/or curtains closed.

While the noise from the fireworks is certainly the biggest problem in terms of dog anxiety and fear, the sight of fireworks exploding in the sky doesn’t make the situation any easier. Remove the added visual stimulation of the fireworks by covering your dog’s crate if they are kenneled up, or closing any windows or blinds.

#11. Try putting a wrap on your dog.

There are a couple of wraps out there that are designed to calm an anxious dog — the Thundershirt and the Anxiety Wrap. These wraps fit snugly around your dog, applying gentle pressure that helps them to calm down; it’s like a continual, therapeutic hug. This is the same concept as weighted blankets for people who suffer from anxiety, insomnia and other conditions. Though these wraps don’t work for every dog in every situation, they might work for yours!

#12. Talk to your veterinarian.

If your dog has an extreme fear of fireworks that can’t be reduced through the other methods we’ve discussed, it might be a good idea to consult your veterinarian. Dogs in panic mode can hurt themselves or others, and your veterinarian might be able to prescribe a medication to help your dog get through the 4th of July safely.

Let us help you enjoy a calm, safe 4th of July with your dog.

Your 4th of July doesn’t have to be fraught with terrified dogs, and we hope that these tips will help you enjoy a safe, calm holiday this year. If you have questions or concerns, or you think your dog might benefit from anxiety medication, schedule your appointment with our veterinarian in Carroll Gardens today.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Calm This 4th of July

The 4th of July can be a nerve-wracking holiday for any dog.

Dogs don’t understand fireworks, so when there’s a sudden explosion in the sky accompanied by an extremely loud noise — which is made even worse by a dog’s acute sense of hearing — it’s no wonder why many dogs get scared and freak out a little. A fear of fireworks in dogs is perfectly normal, but that doesn’t make Independence Day any easier for dog owners. The good news is that there are a lot of steps you can take to make the 4th of July easier on both you and your dog, including:

#1. Keep your dog inside.

If you know your dog gets anxious around fireworks — or you’re unsure of how they’ll react — it’s a much better option to keep them inside at home until the fireworks have subsided than it is to bring your dog to the center of the action. If your dog gets frightened while you are out and about, or even in the yard, they may escape and run away. Additionally, when dogs are scared, it can cause them to act unpredictably toward other animals or people.

#2. Stay home with your dog.

We know that everyone wants to be able to go out and enjoy the fireworks, but as a dog owner, sometimes, sacrifices are required. Locking your dog in your house by themselves while fireworks are going off can freak them out quite a bit, and it can help a lot if someone stays home to comfort them. Plus, if you’re home, you can ensure that your dog doesn’t try to escape. After all, just because your dog is in your home, it doesn’t mean they can’t escape. Some dogs have even been known to jump through windows in their attempt to escape from a loud, unknown noise.

#3. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.

During the daytime on the 4th of July, you’ll need to make sure that your dog gets lots and lots of exercise. If your dog is physically tired, it will help to reduce their anxiety while the fireworks are going off. Taking them on a long walk or playing a strenuous game of tug of war or fetch will help to keep your dog calm during the fireworks show.

#4. Section off a quiet, comfortable space for your dog at home.

Simply leaving your dog at home is often not good enough, especially if you can’t be there with them during the loudest part of the night. If you can create a quiet, comfortable space in your home for your dog during the fireworks (and far away from any windows), it will help to block out some of the noise that causes the anxiety and panic. Make sure your dog has plenty of toys and treats to keep them busy during the fireworks, and make sure there are no areas where they could escape if they do start to panic.

#5. Allow your dog to relieve themselves before the fireworks start.

Dogs shouldn’t be forced to hold it for longer than necessary, and you’ll want to ensure that your dog has a chance to do their business before the first firework goes off. If you take your dog outside in your yard or even on a leash during the fireworks to relieve themselves, they are at risk for escaping and fleeing the loud noise, which could lead to them getting lost or injured.

#6. Make sure the ID information is correct.

While it’s smart to take precautions to prevent your dog from running away to try to escape the loud noises from the fireworks, it’s also smart to have a plan B, just in case. If your dog does somehow get out during the fireworks show, they’ll have a much better chance of getting back home again if the information on their ID tag is up to date, so double check that the ID information is correct before the 4th gets here. In our next blog, we’ll be going over a few more things you can do to keep your dog safe and calm on the 4th of July. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about anxiety in dogs, or your dog is due for a veterinary visit, contact us at The Vet Set to schedule your appointment with our veterinarian.

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