Does Your Bulldog Eat Stuff Like Cardboard?

Pica is a term used to describe a dog’s behavior of eating things that are not really nutritious.  I call my Bulldog Archie the “napkin thief” because he loves to snatch and eat napkins and tissues.  He will also tear a cardboard box to shreds but he doesn’t really eat it like some dogs would.

Pica was first used as a term for a perverted craving for substances unfit to be used as food by Ambrose Paré (1509-1590). Pica is the medieval Latin name for the bird called the magpie, who, it is claimed, has a penchant for eating almost anything. When we say a child is suffering from pica, we are really calling him a magpie.

No one is quite sure why dogs do this and there is lots of speculation. Unfortunately our four legged friends can’t tell us why they do it.

Dr Khuly has some advise for pet owners whose dogs like to consume cardboard, paper napkins, tissue and other oddities.

So what’s a veterinarian (or pediatrician) to do?

In Slumdog’s case, as for most of my patients, the issue comes down to several major points of order:

1. Is the animal receiving appropriate nutrition (calories and nutrients)?

2. Is the animal suffering from any discernible biological imbalance?

3. Is the animal allowed sufficient opportunities to display normal chewing behavior?

4. Does the animal display any other behavioral abnormalities that might be relevant to this one?

5. Is the animal’s health threatened by this behavior?

The approach here is to rule out other conditions — especially those that have a discreet treatment pathway — and when none are identified, to decide between the following options: (a) stop the behavior at all costs; or (b) ignore it.

In Slumdog’s case the penchant for paper has rarely proved dangerous. Though I do my best to keep bathroom doors closed and paper napkins from hitting the floor, paper products will invariably go astray in a household whose thirteen-year-old member hasn’t yet acquired an adult sense of responsibility in these matters.

You can read the entire post here:
Pica: The funny little word for a potentially serious pet behavior problem | PetMD.


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