Why Do Dogs Eat Strange Things?

Dogs have been known to eat non-food items like rocks, razor blades, plastic, glue and even cat poop -- but why? There are a number of possible reasons why your dog may be stuffing themselves with strange stuff.

Bloodhound dog puppy outdoor portrait
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Nutritional Deficiencies and Medical Conditions

Today's dog foods provide adequate nutrition for your dog's needs. However, some foods may be lower in certain nutrients, resulting in a dog's need to supplement his diet.

Some dogs with certain medical conditions, such as Cushing's disease, malabsorption syndrome or hyperthyroidism, are prone to eating feces. Coprophagia, or stool eating, is a form of pica. It's a good idea to have a vet check your pup for any nutritional deficiencies or medical conditions. Rotating the types of food you feed your dog helps ensure he gets a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Boredom and Anxiety

Dogs get bored easily, especially when the don't have an outlet for burning energy. Eating whatever they can find is something a dog does to pass the time. Dogs who are stressed or have separation anxiety will often eat anything in front of them to relieve stress or frustration because there owner isn't present. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to decrease boredom. If your pup suffers from anxiety, talk to your vet or a certified animal behaviorist about how to treat him.

Need to Chew

Dogs love to chew are often so obsessed by whatever strange thing they've discovered, that they'll accidentally swallow it. Make sure your dog has appropriately-sized toys that they are unable to swallow and always keep anything you don't want chewed out of their reach.

Instinct

Dogs who have been confined to a crate or small area for long periods of time often eat feces to clean up their living quarters. As scavengers, dogs' ancestors ate the feces of other animals simply because they was available. Your dog may still have that instinct to eat whatever they can find. Instinct can be hard to overcome, but a certified dog trainer can help you learn how to reduce his impulse to scavenge.

Curiosity

Dogs taste and explore the texture of strange objects with their mouths. Sometimes they swallow an object accidentally or because it tastes good. As much as possible, keep objects dogs can swallow out of reach and be alert to anything they could swallow while walking or playing in the yard.

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Cravings and Taste

Your dog's craving for a certain taste might be responsible for what he eats, especially in cases of grass and dirt eating. Some animal behaviorists suggest that dogs in the wild ate grass for fiber and that dogs would have eaten grass or leaves in or around the animal they ate for dinner.

Dirt and sand often contain traces of other animals, insects or garbage residue, making the dirt just part of the yummy treat. Keeping your dog away from tasty dirt is the only way to stop them from eating it.