How to Recognize and Treat Pica in Dogs

By Nicki Howell

When a dog suffers from pica, he ingests items that aren’t food. A dog's owner may become suspicious of a health issue when the dog begins eating strange items such as rocks or feces. Because this condition may cause serious harm to your dog, it’s important to seek treatment right away.

Evaluate your dog for symptoms of pica. Signs of this condition include ingesting rocks, grass or feces, and subsequent vomiting and diarrhea.

Take your canine to the veternarian for an evaluation. Describe your dog’s symptoms to the vet and request a physical exam. Blood work and X-rays may be needed as well.

Partner with your dog’s doctor to create a treatment plan. Once you observe the items that draw your dog’s interest, keep him away from the objects. Sometimes dogs that suffer from this condition have inflammatory bowel disease. If you can treat this condition, the pica will go away.

Closely monitor your dog. Canines with this condition need to be watched at all times. Keeping your dog on a leash will help. Once you get used to monitoring your dog closely, it will be easier to keep him away from harmful objects.

Apply a bitter taste if necessary. It can help to apply a bitter taste to objects around your house you would like to protect. Once your dog finds the object unappealing, he will leave it alone.