Pica In Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions

From your flower garden to your child's toy box, your curious dog has always chewed on or even consumed items they should have not. However, did you know that if your dog compulsively eats items that are not food, it could actually be the sign of a more serious problem? Pica is a condition that is common in dogs and if your dog suffers from this condition, you need to seek veterinary assistance right away. Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about canine pica.

What Exactly Is Canine Pica?

Pica is a condition that causes your dog to crave and consume non-food items. These items can be anything from rocks and twigs to your kid's toys, cat feces, magazines, books, or even dirt. Many puppies will chew on non-food items as a way to explore their environment. Fortunately, this is typically a short-lived habit that most puppies grow out of.

However, if your puppy continues to consume non-food items well into their adult years, or your adult dogs suddenly starts eating items that they should not eat, your veterinarian might conclude your dog has pica.

What Are the Causes of Canine Pica?

Pica is dangerous because your dog could not only suffer from nausea, bloating, and vomiting from consuming non-food items, your dog could also suffer from a bowel obstruction or could become poisoned after eating something that is toxic. There are several reasons your dog might suffer from pica, including:

  • Behavioral conditions. Stress, anxiety, boredom, improper socialization, and depression can all lead to pica in dogs.
  • Medical conditions. There are several conditions that can lead to pica in dogs, including parasites, a stomach tumor, lack of proper nutrition, iron deficiency, and diabetes.
  • Certain medications. Several medications can increase your dog's appetite or cause them to experience a desire to eat non-food items.

Because there are several causes of pica, if you suspect your dog has pica, it is critical to work with a veterinarian.

How Will My Veterinarian Treat My Dog's Pica?

Luckily, pica is a treatable condition and with the help of your veterinarian, you can stop your dog from consuming potentially dangerous non-food items. Your veterinarian will perform a physical examination and several tests to determine if there is a medical explanation behind your dog's pica. Answering several questions about your dog's habits and what food your dog eats and how often will also help confirm the cause of your dog's pica.

Pica is a common condition in dogs that causes dogs to consume non-food items. If you suspect your dog has pica, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian or animal hospital.