The puppy goes through a discovery phase that can last until about 6 to 8 months of age, when he can take anything in his mouth. This is a natural behavior that allows him, by way of orality, to discover what surrounds him, to understand what is edible and what is not (and then reject it in this case). This phenomenon should then go away, but it can persist in some dogs or reappear later.
Why would a dog start eating anything around it? How do you prevent him from adopting a habit that can be particularly dangerous to his health? Let’s take a look at this case.
Why does your dog eat everything around him?
Eating anything around is considered normal puppy behavior. If it comes as a surprise, it is nothing more and nothing less than a stage similar to the stage of discovering orality in young children which prompts them to put everything in their mouths. There, too, by taking objects in his mouth and occasionally eating them, the puppy discovers what is around him.
This phenomenon is certainly normal in young dogs, but it is often the cause of problems that can be serious, because the animal can become poisoned by ingesting dangerous products or foreign objects that can clog its digestive system. It is therefore essential to be careful to prevent the puppy from endangering himself.
This behavior is also supposed to disappear as the animal grows, after the age of about 6 to 8 months. The dog goes through this oral stage and should not, in theory, try to grasp anything at his fingertips that arouses his curiosity. Note that the puppy will usually spit up inedible objects or learn to let go.
How do we explain that this phenomenon sometimes persists in adult dogs? Several reasons can explain this behavior that we tend to call pica when it comes to swallowing inedible items (shoes, plastic, dirt, stones, paper, fabrics, etc.).
Lack of food or frustration with food
If your dog is hungry or if you are only feeding him low-cost food, which is the cause of a nutritional deficiency, he may try to make up for his deficiency by swallowing whatever is within his reach. In this case, he rushes on the leftovers at his fingertips, but also on some inedible items.
It is important to make sure you provide your dog with good quality food and in portions appropriate to its age, breed and size.
Disease or disorder of the digestive system
Certain diseases can lead to this type of behavior in dogs. These include pica, malabsorption syndrome, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal disorders, pancreatic insufficiency, the presence of intestinal parasites, hyperthyroidism or even Cushing’s disease.
Very often, the dog in this case also suffers from urination, a behavior that results in the ingestion of dog droppings, as well as human or other animal species. The dog searches for food in this way, because it sees remnants of undigested food in other people’s feces.
Inactivity and boredom
A bored animal, who does not tolerate loneliness well or who does not go out enough, can begin to absorb everything that is at his fingertips. Hence this behavior begins to compensate for boredom and frustration. So the dog “occupies itself” by swallowing different things.
pursuit of attention
Your dog can swallow anything to get your attention. In fact, he may have understood that by catching things or destroying others, you are reacting. If he lacks interest, he can spark your interest in him in this way.
How do you prevent your dog from eating everything that is around it?
Eating anything could be dangerous for your dog. An animal can actually become intoxicated, suffer more or less serious digestive disorders (such as intestinal obstruction) or even be a victim of an internal parasite infestation. It is therefore important to work to get the dog to lose this habit as soon as possible.
Note that there is no need to scold or punish your dog. This behavior expresses a problem or need. It is therefore necessary to identify its cause in order to provide an appropriate response. Your little companion will not understand your anger, because this phenomenon is usually stronger than him.
Here are our tips to prevent your pet from eating anything.
protect your environment
It’s the first thing to do. Tell yourself that your dog’s behavior will not stop overnight. So it’s important to be careful not to put him at risk by putting anything that could be dangerous out of his reach. Educate your family that everyone is careful not to leave anything dangerous to your dog lying around, whether it is food (dangerous bones, chocolate, etc.) or inedible.
Train the puppy as quickly as possible
It is important to educate the puppy as soon as possible. As for hygiene for example, or even teaching him to be alone in your absence, teach him not to touch anything other than his bowl. Of course, you will need time and patience, repeating these prohibitions many times, not to mention that the puppy is going through – remember – a normal oral phase that should not last.
To do this, teach your dog very quickly to respect the command “You leave!” Or a “coward”! You will be able to give him this command when he eats something or food that is inedible or that he is not supposed to swallow.
Here are the steps to follow to teach him this arrangement:
- Put food or treats on the floor in front of your dog;
- Hold him and say “Go!” Or “coward” without shouting.
- If he tries to catch food, stop him and repeat the command;
- As soon as he leaves the game, congratulate him and offer him food as a reward.
In this way, your pet is paired with giving up and letting go of a positive event, namely eating or a reward!
While it is best to teach this to your puppy from an early age, you can teach it to your adult dog. Of course you will need more time and patience, but learning is possible at any age in humans as in dogs!
If your dog can’t stop eating anything, especially feces, when you are outside walking, it is best to put a muzzle on him first.
Provide him with quality food
It is important that you provide your dog with high-quality food, sold at your vet or pet store. Admittedly, it is more expensive than food sold in supermarkets, but it is more satiating, which allows the container to last longer, thus reducing repurchases and thus reducing your expenses.
Plus it’s made with premium ingredients, not food waste or nutrient poor ingredients. The nutritional needs of the dog are better covered, which allows the animal to be fed properly, so that it does not suffer from hunger – provided that it is provided with the necessary daily amounts for its size, weight and age – and is in much better health. You can also save a lot of money on veterinary care!
A good, healthy diet allows your dog to experience less hunger and thus does not refer to foods or other things.
Don’t hesitate to distract your dog by offering him a chew toy or bone if he starts eating anything.
While walking, bring some food or treats to divert your dog from litter boxes or other sources of curiosity.
Spend time with your dog
If your pet is bored, he definitely needs more time from you. Either way, adopting a dog is a commitment, which is why it is essential to make time for it every day.
Give him a few minutes a day to play and pet, but also to walk. He should be able to go out for a real walk for at least 30 minutes a day.
If he gets bored while you’re away, leave toys nearby or chew bones to keep him occupied. It is preferable to adopt a dog that can withstand loneliness, especially if you are away from work for long hours for example. If your dog is having a hard time leaving you, you will also have to be careful to teach him to lose his potential sense of excessive attachment.