The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Dog Paws n Cat Claws, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, DPnCC offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.
We’ve all been there. We’ll see our dog eating something strange or even downright disgusting and ask ourselves, “Why is my dog eating that?” From grass to poop to the remote control, what are the reasons why some dogs have pretty strange appetites?
Grass. I refer to this as “having a salad” and it can mean a number of things. He may have an upset stomach and grass is a natural remedy for gassy upset tummies. Try a dog food higher in fiber or add fresh cooked veggies to his kibble. Grass eating can be as simple as liking the way it tastes or feels. It also can be a sign of boredom so keep your dog engaged with walks and outdoor activities. Keep in mind that although grass itself is not bad for dogs, the pesticides they pick up from treated lawns could be harmful.
Feces. The scientific name for eating feces is coprophagia and it’s not an uncommon behavior in dogs. It’s a mother dog’s natural instinct to clean herself and necessary to stimulate urination and defecation in her puppies. What about the dog that does this for apparently no reason? Research shows it could mean a dog is suffering from parasites, diets deficient in nutrients, conditions such as diabetes or as a side effect from drugs, such as steroids. Consult your vet to rule out any of these health issues. It also can be due to anxiety. Try adding a Vitamin B complex supplement to your dog’s diet and monitor his behavior for any further signs of anxiety.
The cats provide one of my dog’s favorite “treats” each time they use the litter box. He thinks they’re delicious, we think it’s gross! He probably acquired this unusual craving because of his love of cat food. He’ll do anything to get it and I’ve moved the food to a higher shelf. Cat poop will naturally taste of the cat food he craves but it can make him sick. Cat food is higher in fat and protein than dog food, which is hard on a dog’s liver and kidneys. Chemicals in the litter can cause blockages in the intestines, as well as transmitting parasites.
To solve this problem, go to the pet store and find a top entry litter box. I actually took an old Tupperware bin and cut a hole in the top. It’s deep enough so that even if his head enters the hole, he can’t reach the forbidden treats.
Chewing objects. Puppies have a bad habit of chewing on everything and anything as they explore their world and usually outgrow this behavior. However, when you are not home, a dog may find something that smells like you and immediately want to check it out. Objects like jewelry, cell phones, TV remotes, kitchen utensils and clothing — especially shoes — contain your scent and oils and commonly become chew toys for your dog. If your dog displays this tendency, make sure to keep these objects out of his reach.
Chewing is something dogs need to do to keep their teeth healthy as well as relieving boredom and tension. But it can also be due to lack of exercise so it’s important to make sure your dog gets at least 1-2 hours of exercise each day and mental stimulation through playtime and obedience training. Take her to doggy daycare to blow off some of that steam!
No dog is perfect and let’s be honest…we wouldn’t want them any other way!
In-Home Pet Care Manager / Writer Extraordinaire
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