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Vet help
Vet help, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2736
Experience:  12 yrs experience as small animal veterinarian; 21 yrs exp. in animal care field
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why does my dog like to eat metal objects Shes a 9 1/2 yr

Resolved Question:

why does my dog like to eat metal objects? She's a 9 1/2 yr old german shepheard that just recently started to eat everything that is metal.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Vet help replied 7 years ago.
Ingestion of non-food items (pica) is an unusual disorder and the reasons behind it are not well understood. Some cases may be caused by anemia, liver disease, or disease of the intestinal tract (affecting absorption of nutrients), but most cases seem to have no underlying cause and are deemed a behavioral abnormality. The biggest risks associated with this behavior is obstruction of the stomach or intestines from the non-food item, and toxicity. Diarrhea and vomiting may also be seen.
In order to rule out any disease processes, a complete blood count and chemistry profile should be performed. Further tests, like trypsin-like immunoreactivity to check for exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (pancreas does not secrete sufficient amount of digestive enzymes) may also be run at the discretion of your vet. Usually dogs with EPI are underweight or have difficulty putting on weight. German Shepherds are a breed predisposed to EPI.
If testing is normal, we have to assume that the problem is behavioral. If this is the case, then you will need to limit her opportunities to ingest inappropriate items. She should always be on a leash when outside, and the home should be "metal- proof" to the extent you are able to do this. For metal that you cannot hide, you can apply Bitter Apple or similar spray or cream to make the objects more unpalatable. Try finding something else she can chew on and swallow (such as rawhides, marrow bones). It has been suggested that putting these animals on a higher fiber diet (such as Hill's W/D, available through your vet)on may help.
If these changes don't alleviate the problem, then behavior- modifying drugs may be tried.
I hope this information was helpful.
Vet help and 2 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
She is on meds for her thyiod and is on cefalexin for her hot spots that she's always chewing on. Could that be causing her to eat metal. She chews off the snaps on my grandbabies onesies and the bibs. only the metal is missing not the material.
Expert:  Vet help replied 7 years ago.
Neither the medication for thyroid disease, nor the cephalexin are known to cause pica of any kind. Overdosage of thyroid medication can result in an increase in appetite (essentially it makes the dog HYPERthyroid, so everything, including appetite is revved up). An abnormally increased appetite can result in ingestion of non-food items.
The skin issues may be related to poorly controlled thyroid disease. Or they can be the result of a condition called German Shepherd pyoderma, which is a chronic skin condition seen in Shepherds.
I'd recommend when you have her evaluated, you also have a thyroid level done in order to see whether or not a dosage change is in order.