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Poop, rocks and other weird things my dog eats

29 June 2017

Pets do strange things. It’s not all that rare for a dog to turn its nose up at what you’ve served them at mealtimes, for something far, far stranger. Just because you don’t see your dog eating odd items, doesn’t mean they’re not doing it on the sly. Look out for these bizarre eating habits:

Rocking it
It’s difficult to imagine why rocks would be appetising, but many dogs are rock eaters – a habit that could land them at the vet. The disorder is called Pica, and can indicate a lack of iron and be caused by boredom, anxiety, frustration or lack of attention. Chewing rocks can damage teeth and soft mouth tissue and cause intestinal blockage, vomiting, diarrhoea and choking. Plenty of playing, extra attention and introducing your dog to chew toys can distract them from looking for, chewing and even swallowing rocks.

Sock it up
Eating socks may seem a harmless (slightly gross) habit, but socks are a choking hazard and can cause blockages in the digestive tract. Ensure dirty socks are picked up off the floor and kept out of your dog’s reach. Teach her the “leave it” command when she heads for a sock, by saying the phrase and using facial expressions, tone of voice and hand gestures to indicate meaning. Have a treat in hand to reward her when she listens. If she chews and actually swallows part of the sock, take her to the vet straight away.

Poo(r) behaviour
As shocking as it is for dog owners – many dogs eat poop. This behaviour is called Coprophagia. Fortunately, while some puppies may taste faeces, they generally develop a distaste for the stuff in a short period of time. Eating poop can be caused by, boredom, illness or a lack of vitamins and minerals in your dog’s diet. Consult your vet to ensure your dog has a balanced diet and is eating the right food. Pay your pup special attention so she doesn’t feel neglected – this can help alleviate the problem. If the behaviour persists, consult your vet.

Grassed up
Dogs often eat grass to ease a gassy or upset stomach. Don’t be too alarmed at this – it’s fairly common. If you think it could be the result of a sore tummy, chat to your vet about increasing the fibre content of her food, or changing it altogether. If your dog is a grass chomper, make sure she doesn’t snack on grass covered in fertiliser, pesticides or herbicides.

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