If you own a dog that loves to eat everything it sees, it could be very embarrassing, especially when you are out on a walk. This is a common problem many dog owners struggle to curb; from eating food items, grass, slippers, and even poop, you could easily get frustrated and angry. Relax, continue reading, and find out the possible causes.
Your dog eats everything in sight because it is bored, it has Pica, it has health issues, it wants your attention, it is a habit you encouraged, it is stressed and anxious, it is hungry, restrictive confinement, inappropriate association with real food, medications, isolation, and frustration.
While this is an annoying habit, you should not dismiss it; rather, you should try to identify the cause of the habit. If you cannot identify the cause, you can take the dog to a behaviorist to analyze and point out the cause.
Why Does My Dog Eat Everything In Sight?
Dogs eating everything in sight is normal behavior that is more common in puppies. Puppies have this habit of exploring the environment with their mouth and could be seen eating almost anything in sight. As they grow older, they are likely to outgrow this behavior when properly trained.
However, as some puppies grow into adult dogs, they do not outgrow this behavior. If this is the case in your dog, then there is an underlying cause, and you should be concerned about the dog. To make it easier, we will look at the possible reasons why a dog will eat everything in sight.
There is one reason why an adult dog eats everything in sight; it has Pica. Pica is a compulsive disorder that makes dogs consume non-food items. This is a common problem many dogs experience. If your dog has been eating socks, slippers, toys, shoes, rocks, woods, and plastic, you are sure it suffers from pica disorder.
Dogs suffering from pica disorder often ruin their owners’ possession, which could be very frustrating and also dangerous to the dog. Chewing and swallowing things that are not suitable for a dog’s diet could lead to some health challenges such as gastrointestinal blockage or perforation.
Once you are sure your dog is suffering from pica disorder, you must get to identify the root cause. Understanding the root cause will help know how to manage and help the dog. There are different causes of Pica. However, they are broadly related to either behavioral or health challenges. We will be explaining more about the causes below.
Boredom is a behavioral problem that could make a dog feed on strange objects. Some dogs are very energetic; they require physical and mental stimulation. Lack of stimulation could cause a dog to become bored, resulting in some destructive behaviors like chewing things at sight.
The reason for chewing things could be a way of the dog keeping itself busy and entertained. So, if you notice your dog always eating everything in sight when bored or left alone, you must make time to engage it in daily exercises and find ways of keeping it less bored.
Anxiety Or Stress
When a dog is anxious or stressed, it can eat different things in sight to soothe itself. There are various anxiety triggers in dogs, such as meeting strangers, loud noises, and even separation anxiety. Suppose you notice your dog always eating inappropriate objects, perhaps when there is a loud noise from a firework or thunderstorm.
In that case, you can confirm that the behavior is due to anxiety. So, once you are sure anxiety or stress is a potential cause of your dog’s eating of inappropriate objects, you should learn how to manage the situation. For instance, if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, ensure you train it on how to stay alone.
Habit From Puppy
As we mentioned earlier, eating everything in sight is quite normal for puppies. Puppies have this habit of exploring things with their mouth. Dog owners need to train puppies to differentiate between food items from other objects. Most of the bad habits dogs display are subtly a result of the owners’ negligence.
It would grow and continue displaying the behavior by failing to curb the bad behavior while it is still a puppy. Once you notice that your puppy is always eating everything it sees and finds, you should gently chastise it and discourage the habit by getting the dog some toys to play with.
It Wants Attention
Another reason your dog could eat everything at sight is that it wants your attention. This is more likely to occur if this behavior gets the dog to have your attention. Perhaps, whenever you find it eating your belonging, it feels you would come out to it. However, it would be best if you did not reinforce this behavior.
Doing so would make the dog continue to eat different things and could become destructive just because it wants some attention. Dogs are smart; they will do anything it takes to get what they want, and if you always give in to them, you are grooming a naughty dog.
If you have examined and closely monitored your dog to identify if the cause for it eating everything is one of the reasons we explained, and it is not, it could be due to some medical conditions. In this case, you would need to consult with a veterinary doctor to rule out the possible cause of the bad habit.
Some common medical conditions that could cause this are esophageal dysphagia, stomach pain, dietary deficiencies, diabetes mellitus, and gastrointestinal issues. If your dog suddenly begins to eat different objects, ensure you take the dog to a vet. The vet is best positioned to identify the health issue and recommend possible treatments.
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Why Does My Dog Eat Everything Outside?
Many dog owners are unaware of how ancient dogs lived in the wild. The ancestors of the present-day dogs were scavengers, and they had to search for food in different hideous places, so if you find your dog eating everything when outdoors, it could be scavenging instincts kicking in.
Most times, when you find your dog eating everything outside, it is not eating anything; it is exploring its surroundings and trying to know what the strange things it sees are. Unlike humans with hands to pick up things and look at them, dogs cannot; they can only use their noses and mouths to identify things.
Why Does My Dog Want To Eat Everything?
You might have noticed that your dog has developed a habit of trying to eat everything. In some cases, the dog is trying to explore its surroundings; it could also be that the dog has Pica or other health issues, and it could be that you are not taking proper care of the dog. Yes, many dog owners do not know that poor feeding habits are sometimes the cause.
If you do not feed your dog adequately and at the appropriate time, it will eat everything it sees to contain its hunger. Sometimes, medications and medical conditions can cause a dog to be extra-hungry, making it eat everything.
Keep reading: Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet? [BEHAVIOR EXPLAINED]
One of the best things to do to a dog that eats everything is management solution; this is the most effective way to curb the behavior as long as the cause is not a medical issue. All you need to do is identify the prompters of the habit and try to shut them down. For example, if your dog eats anything when it is out on walks, you need to change your route to where it will not see anything to eat.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.