Senior Dog Behavior Problems: Pica in Dogs
our senior dog may exhibit new behavior problems you can’t explain like when he starts to eat things that are not edible including rocks, dirt and paper… and then you discover he’s also ingesting feces and pieces of your clothing which can result in a gastrointestinal irritation and blockage that requires expensive unplanned surgery to prevent your dog from further intestinal damage.
This dog health article gives you the symptoms, causes and
treatment for your adult dog that may suffer from pica when he eats objects that are not considered food or edible. I hope the information you read about will help you become aware of this illness so you can keep your dog with pica safe.
Here are 6 causes of pica in dogs:
Anxiety, Stress & Frustration – Your older dog may become anxious or frustrated because he can’t move around like he used to which causes compulsive behavior like eating objects that are not edible.
Boredom & Depression – Your older dog could be bored and depressed if he’s at home alone for long periods of time. This means he may search for items to chew on and eat that are not edible.
Need for Attention – Your senior dog may feel ignored especially if he isn’t as active as he was and you have children or younger animals in your home.
Medical conditions – Your dog can have an increased appetite if has medical conditions like diabetes, IBS, iron deficiency and an unbalanced diet.
Medications – Some prescription drugs like prednisone and phenobarbital can also increase your dog’s appetite.
Watch for these type of symptoms if you observe your dog eating non-food objects:
• Burping, Bad Breath and Drooling
• Vomiting and Abdominal Contractions
• Loose Stools or Dark, Tarry Stools and Diarrhea
• Unable to move bowels or straining
Treatment of Pica in Your Senior Dog
Your veterinarian will determine if your dog has a behaviour issue or a medical condition. This means that you may need to change your dog’s environment and his diet or hire a dog behaviourist.
Here are some tips to choose that can help you prevent your dog from health risks.
- Increased physical activities – If your older dog seems bored, depressed or ignored and has symptoms of pica, you can take him out for more walks and increase his play time indoors. This can take his mind off of eating and curb his behavior.
- Herbal remedies – Lavender, cool chamomile tea and lemon are easy herbal remedies to use to help keep your senior dog free from stress and anxiety. You can spray the area where your dog sleeps with a lavender mist and add cool chamomile tea and fresh squeezed lemon juice to your dog’s food.
- Toys – You can add chew toys to your dog’s collection so he has plenty of objects that are safe for him to chew on as long as he doesn’t eat them.
- Leash – You can help your dog stay away from rocks, dirt and feces if you keep your dog on a leash when you go for walks.
- Bitter spray – You can use a bitter tasting spray on the non-edible objects your senior dog tries to eat in your home. This strategy could deter him from pica behavior.
Now you have the information you need to protect your dog with pica. Take your dog to your vet for help whenever you notice your dog’s behavior is not normal. Dog’s with pica can be at risk for intestinal blockage and other dangerous health issues.
Share this article on pica in dogs with your friends and family so they are aware of this behavior problem and have the information they need to take better care of their dog. You can always depend on the best dog health strategies from echantingpets.