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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16926
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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why is my dog eating my carpet and my rugs. he eats and ...

Customer Question

why is my dog eating my carpet and my rugs. he eats and swollows it and then he throws it up and it comes out in his poop.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.
Hi Paula,

How old is your dog?
What Breed?
Does your dog chew on other items as well?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Jane Lefler's Post: my dog is 7yrs old he is a poodle and he dont chew on other things. he actually eats my carpet and my rugs he throws the carpet and the rug parts back up and it also comes out in his poop
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.
Hi Paula,

It sounds like he is chewing on the rugs out of boredom and/or seperation anxiety. There are a few things you can try which may help with the problem.

I am assuming this is happening when you are not around. If this is not the case, many of the techniques will still help with this problem.

First thing is to take your dog for a nice long walk in the morning before you leave, preferably 30 minutes or long. Make it a long, quick paced walk to tire your boy out.

Second is to use a low key approach to leaving the house. Ignore your dog before you leave and after you come home for at least 5 minutes or more. If your house is like mine in the morning everyone is running around getting ready to leave. This has the dog in an excited mood and then suddenly he is alone. If this is the case, put him away from everyone, say in a bathroom until the frenzy is over.

Don't punish or shout at your dog when you come home and find he's destroyed yet another rug. When you do, you increase his stress level rather than reduce it.

You can prevent this behavior by crating your dog or confining him in a small area that does not have rugs and provide him with small stimulating toys or toys that you can fill with treats.

Sometimes leaving a TV or radio on can help a dog with this problem as well. Also remember to not reward a dog's excitement to you with petting and affection or even eye contact. You want to show him nice calm praise when he is being calm.

You can also try practicing alone time by having him spend time away from you in a crate or other area away from you for short periods of time when you are home.

These should help his seperation anxiety and boredom and help curb his chewing of your carpet. It will not be an overnight cure and will take work on your and your families part to be consistant in your interaction with him.

It really is important that this behavior changes as the ingestion of foreign objects may eventually cause a bowel obstruction and you may lose him.

Hope this works for you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Jane Lefler's Post: my dog does not eat my carpet and rugs when I am gone I catch him doing it when I am home. I really don't think that it is seperation anxiety.could it be some kind of worms in him making him eat and swallow my rugs and carpet? He has never done this before and I have had this poodle for seven years.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 8 years ago.
Paula,

I know of no dietary deficiency that would cause a dog to eat carpets. Based on the new information that this behavior does not happen when you are not home but in fact when you are at home, it is likely to be PICA which is the consistant ingestion of non food item. With Pica behavior, your Vet will probably want to blood tests to be sure.

You can read about it on the following websites. They also offer ways to combat and curb this behavior.
http://www.usask.ca/wcvm/herdmed/applied-ethology/behaviourproblems/picabeh.html
http://www.pet-tails.com/LPMArticle.asp?ID=327
http://www.pedigree.com/dogsandpuppies/adult+dogs/behavior/facts+about+dogs/Canine+Pica.asp?CSID=475
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/29/AR2005092902646.html

It is a frustrating condition for dog owners to deal with so I understand your frustration as well. Suggestions to help curb PICA include many suggestions made in my previous post such as increased exercise, distracting treats, non scolding when you discover the behavior. To curb PICA does require closely observing your dog and stopping the behavior before it starts which may be hard if you are going about your normal daily activities around the house. If it is practical, you might try leashing him to you so he will always be where you can observe him easily and stop him before he starts and hopefully this would aid in his recovery.

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