Dogs Community
help...my dog is eating strange things
About This Community:

This forum is for questions and support regarding your pet dogs!

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

help...my dog is eating strange things

i have a 4 year old female beagle who has been eating wood chunks, stealing used charcoal out of the grill and chomping it down, sticks, rocks, kleenex and grass  she is fed a healthy diet and seems very healthy but i  am worried about her eating these things and if they will hurt her digestive system...sometimes she gets coughing spells too...any information is appreciated...maria
Related Discussions
15 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
765775_tn?1366028291
Some dogs tend to do this with sticks and rocks and yes too much can harm her digestive system. Too many rocks or sticks would have to be removed with surgery.

You have to train her not to do these things. Has she always been left to be on her own to do these things or have you recently moved or allowed her to be in places where she can do this?

If she attempts to pick these thing up while on a walk you must simple take it away quickly while on a lead.

As far as tissues and grass, all dogs eat them at one time or another and it can be passed safely as long as there is not too much of either.

A friend of mine has a bulldog named Rhemus that does all of this kind of thing. When he is let lose in the yard off the lead he will eat sticks, small rocks, and has also gotten into the charcoal. My friend always asks me why my bulldogs don't follow him and do it as well. I tell him that it is because mine are much smarter than Rhemus but of course I am only joking. It is simply because they have been trained not to do it.

Good Luck
Blank
442658_tn?1404583794
hi...thank you for your comment...well she is a 98% house dog....i don t sit out all the time with her but she basically does her thing then wants back in...unless i m out with her.   we have a huge yard surrounded by woods.  i tell her no stop that and she runs and continues to eat whatever she has.  the vet said beagles do this they always have their nose to the ground but i don t like her eating this stuff...we have toys outside..we throw ball and fetch but all  she wants is to graze on garbage...thanks...i try to be more assertive ...maria
Blank
441382_tn?1329196690
This is an actual disease that humans can suffer from as well.  It's called pica.  I don't know how old you are, but a number of years ago there were television commercials centered around making people aware of it because children would eat paint chips from peeling paint and it was back when paint still had lead in it, and the children were developing lead poisoning from the paint chips.

There are various reasons for dogs eating non-food items.  Some of these reasons are medical (dietary deficiencies) and others are behavioral.  The best way to tackle this is to have the vet do a thorough work-up of your dog, and after all the medical possibilities have been ruled out, it's time to start working on the behavioral ones.  

The most common reason dogs eat non-food items is because it gets them attention.  You might wonder why, if they are going to be reprimanded, they would be that desperate to seek that type of attention, but if a dog craves attention that badly, ANY attention is good attention, even if it's negative attention.  Another reason they do it is boredom.  The best way to try to combat behavioral pica is to develop a strenuous exercise interactive exercise routine.  That way, the dog is getting attention from you AND doing something to prevent boredom.  Teaching them to fetch and then spending several hours a day doing this will help.  Maybe teaching them agility and having them run the course a few times a day will help.  Doing obedience, not just in terms of having a well-mannered dog, but actual obedience where the dog works his way up through the levels, will keep him busy AND tired out.  When they're tired and sleepy they can't be bothered looking for weird things to eat, and when spending time with you has been responsible for making them tired and sleepy, their need for attention is satisfied as well.

In any case, it is imperative that you get a handle on this situation because pica can be the cause of some very serious things, from broken teeth from chewing rocks to intestinal blockages from eating things that are not digestible and need surgery to be removed.  The best place to start is at your vet's to rule out medical issues, and then it's on to the behavioral part.  Good luck!  Please keep us posted as to his progress!

Ghilly
Blank
765775_tn?1366028291
Ghilly is on to something there! The story I mentioned here about my friend's bulldog Rhemus falls right into place with what Ghilly is explaining. My friend has a homebased business so Rhemus is at home with him all the time, however when he wants to play and my friend is working he tells him to go and lay down or just lets him out into the yard as merrymaria also said she does.

These dogs are getting into these things when they are let alone in the yard or even when be observed while out there. My dogs get playtime everyday, so I guess that is why they look at Rhemus like he is out of his mind when we are over there.

Good call Ghilly! I did not know of this and I am going to call my friend right now and tell him to put some time aside each day for poor Rhemus so he doesn't look as if he is out of his mind all the time. He has already been checked out by the Vet for his behavior and had bloodwork done but his Vet never mentioned Pica.

I would also add that my friend always comments as to Rhemus acts differently with me than with other people because he is much more calm and such. I guess that may be because my Bullies and Myself just give him more attention then he is used to when we visit.

I think we may have been able to help two dogs and their owner's with this one.
Blank
881165_tn?1265988188
I have a slightly different take on this.  My Scottie occasionally eats grass and gnaws on sticks.  However, he only does it when his stomach is upset.  In his case, this is usually from serious post-nasal drip from allergies.  This sounds like a possibility for your dog, because you mentioned the coughing.  Charcoal is also a very good digestive/stomach calmer, and is even used for stomach problems in humans sometimes.  Have you seen a lot of mucus in your dog's stool?  Has your dog coughed up or thrown up mucus wads?  It's prime allergy season right now.
Blank
442658_tn?1404583794
thanks everyone for your help....my vet just tends to through this off and never mentioned pica..Lucy my dog gets loads of attention, loving, sleeps with me and every night gets loving from my husband as she lays her head on his lap.   she rarely throws up and if she does it s dog food with maybe a little grass.  when she was a pup she would eat clumps of grass and throw up the whole wad...but that has passed.  i m thinking of taking her to a different vet when she is due for her rabies next month.  it makes me angry that my vet can t give me an answer to why...she just says beagles do this.  thanks ghilly...i will mention pica.  thanks everyone for your help.  i got more answers from you than the vet doc.  btw lucy eats kibbles and bits for indoor overweight dogs and pedigree can.  i mix it half and half.  she is about 8 lbs overweight.  can they test dogs for allergies AireScottie?  i m leaving for work now but will check back later.  thank you all again...maria.  
Blank
765775_tn?1366028291
My bullies have allergies and the Vet diagnosis them but they usually do it by treating a condition as an allergy and then see if the dog responds to the treatment. My Vet always tells me that it would be a very long and drawn out process to test for everything that they are allergic to because it is done the same way that it would be done on us.

AireScottie may have gotten different information from his Vet, but I thought I would pass the information I have to you anyway.

When I was speaknig of attention in my earlier post I was talking about playtime. My friend's bulldog Rhemus gets all of the attention that you have mentioned but my friend works too much and doesn't play with him too much. I did call him this morning and told him about what Ghilly posted and he admitted he should put time aside everyday for a little playtime because he works from his home. So today Rhemus got playtime at lunch and he just sent me an email to let me know that Rhemus played fetch today with the stick instead of eating it and now he is sleeping like a baby.
Blank
765775_tn?1366028291
I didn't want you to think that I meant that you were ignoring your dog. I knew that you must give her plenty of attention and love her very much or you wouldn't be posting here.

I think that playtime gives them stimulation and exercise that they need. That is why when Ghilly mentioned this it made sense to me. I also know that it is difficult for some people to be able to play with their dogs for different reasons. I can't do as much as I used to because of my injuries so my wife gives them extra playtime at night for a little while also. There are some games they like to play with their tug toys that I can't do anymore, so we play with the other toys during the day and they get tug time at night.
Blank
441382_tn?1329196690
Yay Red!  I'm so glad that Rhemus has had a good day with help from my post!  :D

This is not to say that there may not be something behind what AireScottie has said as well, since allergies are bad this year, however while grass can be used to soothe canine nausea, and charcoal is used in hospitals to neutralize toxins, merrymaria's beagle is eating sticks, rocks, Kleenex and other things that have nothing to do with allergies, that's why I am leaning toward pica.  

I do have to say that I am surprised to hear a vet use a broad brush like hers did by saying "oh, beagles just do that", since one of the best ways to make a HUGE mistake is to just do sweeping generalizations like that.   Merrymaria, whatever the cause of your beagle's odd behavior, I DO think it's time for you to shop for a new vet; one who treats dogs as the individuals they are and doesn't generalize by breed without thought to the specific living situations of the individual dog.  Many, many years ago I worked at a boarding kennel and the kennel owners hated getting beagles in because in their opinion, beagles were just pigs and were not suitable as housepets because, in their words, if ANY dog is going to have a mess in its kennel in the morning, it's going to be a beagle.  They just CANNOT be housetrained.  Well, all these years later and some of the most fastidious house pets I have known people to have over the years have been beagles, and I often think of those ignorant kennel owner people and wonder just what other "doggie bigotries" they spread around over the years, and how many people just automatically believed them because, well, after all, they DO work with dogs for a living, so that must make them experts, righ?    

Merrymaria, please let us know what the new vet says after he or she examines Lucy.   Just because she gets a lot of attention and sleeps with you doesn't mean she can't still have some doggie neuroses that manifest themselves as eating non-food objects.  I KNOW I sound like a broken record, I HAVE to because I suggest this for so many things, but it's such a GOOD thing to do and it works in SO many different instances - start keeping a journal.  It doesn't have to be anything elaborate, or you can make it as elaborate as you want to, but start to write down what Lucy does during her days, evenings and nights and then start to write down what non-food items you catch her eating.  Even jot down little things like, for example, did you and another family member have a shouting match that morning?  Write down the weather (sunny? rainy? hot? cold?), write down if she was offered her regular dog food for dinner or were you forced to substitute something she really didn't want?  Were there children around when normally there aren't?  Or were children who are usually there not around that day?  Just start to jot down everything and you may get lucky and start to see a correlation between her activities and/or the activities of the humans around her and the non-food items that she ingests or attempts to ingest that day.

Please keep us posted as to your and Lucy's progress!  It will be interesting to see how this out!

Ghilly
Blank
462827_tn?1333172552
Yet, Another take: I know I'll be sorry that I post this, but I'm going with Dietary Deficiency! Neither of these foods has any nutrition in them. Kibbles & Bits being the worst of the two. Pedigree not far behind! I believe a healthier food will solve the problem.....I think it's a vitamin/mineral imbalance.....Let us know....Karla  
Blank
881165_tn?1265988188
Yes, dogs can be tested for allergies just like humans.  I worked in a vet hospital for a few years (which does not make me an expert!), and we would usually reserve testing for dogs with really bad allergies, like dogs that constantly scratch, bite, have no fur left, have serious wax buildup in ears, etc.  The dogs get little bits of all the potential allergens injected under their skin, and then are watched for a hive to form over the injection.
It is completely silly for your vet to say Beagles just do that.  Breeds can be prone to certain behaviors, but that doesn't mean there's no underlying cause.  The journal idea sounds good.  Then you'll have more info when you go to a new vet.
Blank
442658_tn?1404583794
hi...yes i am taking Lucy to a new vet.  i know beagles often have their nose to the ground for hunting purposes but eating this stuff makes no sense.  now i thought i was giving my dogs good food....please what is a good food for dogs?  i thought purina and pedigree were pretty good brands.  are  you talking about ians food?  please let me know...maybe this could be the whole problem...not a good diet...thanks all...maria
Blank
462827_tn?1333172552
Hi Maria.....There are alot of wonderful foods for dogs....However, to figure out how to read a dog food label is the key to finding a good food. My favorite source (Although there are many) is "Dog Food Analysis".com. You'll have to type it in. The entire sight is formulated to rate different dog foods. 1-star being the worst food to feed, 6-star (Premium) being the best.... Kibbles & Bits, Pedigree & Iams are all rated 1 star!  Meaning, they have very little nutrition (If any). There is a search engine on their home page. Type in any of your foods and read the ENTIRE page under that food. It will explain why you should not feed it. It's very informative!!!! You then can go to 5 or 6 star rated foods and read why they are recommended. There is a large selection. By the time your finished, you'll know what to look for in a food. Trust me, everyone should keep this sight handy. Nutrition makes a world of difference in furkid problems! As a rule, IMO, if your food is sold at a grocery store or discount center, it's not worth feeding! Please, let me know if I can offer you any more help and good luck to you and Lucy....Karla
Blank
442658_tn?1404583794
hi karla...thank you for this info on the dog food.  i will check it out.  my dogs are worth feeding good nutritional foods... when i think of pedigree or purina i think of good brands.  they been around awhile.  do you feed your dog table scraps?  sometimes she gets left over meat..never bones meat bones that is.  i mix it with her food.  one thing i noticed as she does this eating..... today it was after her last meal.  i feed her a little in the a.m. and some in the p.m.  i was strict with her tonight...kept yelling no.... and made her come in... thank you...i will look that up...maria
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have a family of labs that unfortunately have all died or suffered from stomach masses/cancers at the end of their 13-15 year life.  I have one lab left from this family and now he he is starting the same habits his father and brother began.  He is eating strange things that he has never done before....anything and everything that is non-animal food.  Bart is now eating blankets, play toys, tennis balls and his brother, Bruiser would eat anything including CDs.  I do think it may have something to do with the pica feature but I also think it is related to whatever is going on in their stomach/colon with the masses they experience.  My vets are no help and can offer no explanation.  The sad part for me is that when I see this beginning, I know the mass is getting worse and it is very dangerous for their digestion.  Just wanted to know if anyone else observes t his behavior in dogs with masses in their abdomen?  
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Dogs Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Dogs Answerers
675347_tn?1365464245
Blank
ginger899
United Kingdom
974371_tn?1364538460
Blank
Margot49
Central Valley, CA
462827_tn?1333172552
Blank
Misfits4Me
OK
612551_tn?1247839157
Blank
Jerry_NJ
NJ
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
amielynn24
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
lindapalm