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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16948
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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how can i stop my dog from eating twigs, acorns,rocks and ...

Customer Question

how can i stop my dog from eating twigs, acorns,rocks and during our daily walk
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 7 years ago.
HiCustomer

It is possible your dog is trying to eat the dirt, twigs, acorns and other objects to obtain a mineral that is missing in his/her diet, but many times that is not the case. If you are not feeding your dog a high quality dog food, you may want to switch to one. He should also be taken to the Vet to determine if there is a medical condition leading that may be causing this. He will need to see the vet anyway due to the fact that worm eggs can live in the soil and snails carry parasites as well which may have infected your dog. Also to ensure that there are no rocks still in his system.

It is likely to be PICA, which is the consistent ingestion of non-food item. With Pica behavior, your Vet will probably want to run 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 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 or yard. 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. On walks, always keep your dog on the leash. Make the walk a training session and not a leisurely play time. Keep your dog's leash short and your dog at your side. Do not let your dog sniff the ground or lead. Keep your dog at your side, with head up and paying attention to you as you walk at a good moderate pace. I usually have play time at the end of the walk and use a ball or frisbee to give the dog a reward for walking properly. This will help prevent ingestion of foreign objects and train your dog to ignore these objects.

Hope this helps.

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