why does my dog eat everything on the ground
Why Does My Dog Eat Everything? Why Does My Dog Eat Everything? By: Have you ever wondered why our dogs sometimes resemble canine vacuum cleaners, ÁhooveringÁ up everything on the ground (or the table, or the counter, orÁ) without showing much hesitation or taste discrimination? Perhaps your dog constantly acts hungry, always begs for food, counter-surfs, or has been caught raiding the garbage can (or worse yet, the catÁs litter box). It seems like dogs are always ready to eat, anything, anytime, anywhere Á even after a full meal. Before youÁre tempted to chalk up your dogÁs behavior to simply being gluttonous, here are a few scientific explanations for why dogs act this way. Dogs Explore With Their Mouths Like human babies, dogs explore their environment with their mouths. As puppies, theyÁre born blind and deaf, so their mouths, noses, and skin are their only means of taking in sensory stimuli. As dogs get older (and become aware of the fact that they donÁt have the benefit of opposable thumbs like their lucky humans), their mouths allow them to grasp and pick up things they are curious about. This can become a big problem if the thing they happen to be investigating isnÁt meant to be eaten! Luckily, many smaller inedible items are often unceremoniously passed in the stool, so many times weÁre completely unaware of our dogsÁ little dietary indiscretions. Dogs Are Natural Scavengers Our dogsÁ wild ancestors had the ability to eat whatever was available and flourish. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plant foods. Thousands of years ago, their ability to scavenge is what eventually led to them to form mutually beneficial relationships with humans. Humans produced garbage, and lots of it - and dogs thrived on it. It was easier, and much more energy-efficient, to scavenge than it was to have to hunt something down and kill it. Even though we now feed our dogs high-quality, palatable food on a regular schedule, this instinctual behavior is still alive and well in them today. Bingeing Is Instinctive Wild dogs knew that consuming food was always a Áfeast or famineÁ situation.
When the pack was lucky enough to successfully kill prey, they ate as much as they could in one sitting because they knew it could be days (or even weeks) until they found another meal. They also knew that they couldnÁt walk away from food, because chances were good that it wouldnÁt be there waiting for them when they got back. Dogs are also natural hunters. So even if your dog has just had a big meal, he may still get a thrill out of Áhunting downÁ that errant potato chip you dropped behind the couch. Eating Out Of Boredom Like humans, dogs tend to eat when theyÁre bored. And due to the aforementioned lack of opposable thumbs, they canÁt just open the freezer for a pint of Ben JerryÁs whenever the mood strikes. ThatÁs one of the reasons why dogs who are left unattended sometimes raid garbage cans or litter boxes. They love to sniff out new things to explore, and if they find something that happens to be edible, too? Bonus! Medical Reasons For An Insatiable Appetite Instinctual behavior aside, itÁs important to know there are also certain medical conditions that can cause a dog to feel hungry all the time. This condition is known as
polyphagia. Polyphagia can be caused by the onset of (since a diabetic dogÁs body cannot regulate its own blood sugar levels), hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland), CushingÁs disease (an endocrine disorder), or the presence of intestinal parasites. It can also be caused by malabsorption syndrome, where a dogÁs gastrointestinal tract cannot properly absorb the nutrients in food. If you suspect your dog could have a medical reason for unusual eating behavior, be sure to talk it over with your veterinarian. And if you are suspicious that your dog has, donÁt take any chances and call your veterinarian immediately. So there you have it. Your dogÁs penchant for indulging in that week-old, dust-covered garbanzo bean that rolled between the refrigerator and the wall doesnÁt show a lack of taste or discriminationÁrather, in the words of the immortal Lady Gaga, he was simply Áborn this way.
Á Ï Dogs love to chew all manner of things, from shoes and toys to sticks and plastic cups. But when they start to ingest non-edible items such as socks, underwear or even rocks, something can inevitably become stuck. The eating of substances that have no nutritional value is a disorder known as pica, and it is common among puppies and certain dog breeds such as labradors and dachshunds. "A dog's sense of smell is up to 10,000 times better than ours, so they're just attracted to everything," Canberra veterinarian Michael Archinal said. "If you give a dog spaghetti bolognaise, it can smell every single ingredient in the whole spaghetti bolognaise. "Whatever they're detecting in whatever they're eating â socks, underwear, shoes â there's a smell that they're attracted to. " Changes in bowel movements (eg diarrhoea, constipation) What causes pica? For puppies, chewing and eating all sorts of things is part of their neurosensory exploration and they will usually grow out of it. But some dogs are just perpetually hungry. "Labradors, from the day they're born to the day they die, want to eat something," Dr Archinal said. "Genetically they've got three genes that don't switch off when they've had a meal, so they're constantly hungry and will eat anything given the chance. " Photo Labradors are notorious for chewing and eating anything and everything. Boredom and loneliness can also leave dogs looking for something to do. "We had a dachshund come in one day that got into a bag of concrete powder," Dr Archinal said. Hormonal issues such as overactive adrenal glands or diabetes can also dramatically increase a dog's appetite and cause pica. Corn cobs, plastic toys among objects that get stuck Dr Archinal said anything that did not typically dissolve in a dog's stomach could cause a blockage. He said plastic bags used to defrost meat and corn cobs were common causes. "People tend to throw corn cobs in the compost bin and, while most other things the dog can digest, a corn cob is like wood and it will often get stuck, especially when they're cut in half or thirds," Dr Archinal said.
Photo If you suspect your dog has eaten something it should not have, take it to the vet as soon as possible. Plastic toys can also easily get stuck. "I had a rottweiler once who swallowed a golf ball, and it would intermittently block the intestine and then roll back into the stomach, so every few days [the dog] would vomit," Dr Archinal said. If you know your dog has eaten something it should not have, take it to your veterinarian as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Dr Archinal said in some cases, such as when a dog had eaten socks or underwear, they could support the animal with pain relief and fluids to pass the object. If your dog has been unwell and an X-ray shows an object is already stuck in the stomach or intestines, an endoscopy or surgery is usually needed. Photo If an object becomes stuck in the intestines, surgery is usually needed to remove it. In the case of a dog ingesting poisons or pesticides such as snail bait, the vet may be able to induce vomiting if the animal receives treatment within two hours. The best way to keep your dog from ingesting foreign objects is to take preventative measures. If you know your dog is prone to eating certain items, then eliminate access. Put your clothes away, do not leave rubbish lying around, store chemicals and pesticides out of reach, and cover compost bins. "These dogs will find anything, anywhere. Prevention is the only option," Dr Archinal said. "We had a dog that would continually go in the backyard, dig up rocks and eat them; it would have 20 or 30 rocks in its stomach at one time. "How are you going to stop that? Well this dog, unfortunately when it was outside the house, had to wear a little basket muzzle. " Photo Underwear, socks and shoes are popular items on a dog's chewing menu. If you suspect your dog's pica is caused by loneliness or boredom, try increasing the animal's physical activity and mental stimulation. And if your dog has suddenly developed a taste for something odd, take it along to your vet as there may be a metabolic cause that needs addressing.
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