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  • Writer's pictureThe Dogzbody

What is Pica?

Pica in dogs is the consumption of non-food items. Dogs with Pica may eat things like rocks, plastic, paper, fabric, or other objects that are not part of their normal diet. This behaviour can be concerning for a dog guardian as eating non-food items can lead to various health issues, including gastrointestinal blockages, dental problems, poisoning, or nutritional deficiencies.

What is Pica in a dog?
Dog eating fabric

Several factors may contribute to Pica in dogs, as can be expected all dogs are different and the reasons why can differ dramatically, it is up to you as a dog guardian to try to identify the root cause and act on it.

Some dogs may develop pica if they are lacking certain nutrients in their diet. In such cases, addressing the nutritional needs of the dog can help reduce the behaviour. Pica can be a manifestation of behavioural problems, such as anxiety, boredom, or attention-seeking behaviour. Providing mental stimulation, regular exercise, and addressing any underlying behavioural issues can help.

Certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, or thyroid problems, can contribute to Pica. It's important to rule out any underlying health issues through veterinary examination and diagnostic tests. Puppies, in particular, may exhibit pica as a part of their natural exploring behaviour. Puppy-proofing the environment they are in and providing appropriate toys can help redirect their attention. Dogs may engage in Pica if they are exposed to an environment with limited stimulation or access to appropriate chew toys. Ensuring a stimulating and enriching environment can reduce the likelihood of pica by creating an alternative solution to their boredom.

What is pica in dogs?
Dog eating stones

If you observe signs of Pica in your dog, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian. The vet can conduct a thorough examination, perform necessary tests, and provide guidance on addressing the underlying cause. Treatment may involve dietary changes, behaviour modification, or addressing any medical issues.

Preventing access to non-food items, providing a balanced and nutritious diet, and ensuring mental and physical stimulation can contribute to minimizing the occurrence of Pica in dogs. Always seek professional advice to address this behaviour effectively and ensure the well-being of your dog.

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