Hey everyone! Itís Rufus again, and today I am going to take you all on a walk down memory lane to my puppy-hood. When I was a puppy I enjoyed belly rubs, chasing the cats, and getting into mischief. One of the most mischievous things I ever accomplished was eating my human brotherís sock. Many other dogs have done and still do eat objects that humans donít exactly consider food. I hope to shed some light on this behavior and share my insight on the edibility of objects.
The Tale of the Missing Gym Sock
I think I speak for all dogs when I say that a used gym sock is an incredibly tempting snack, and if my human family didnít want me to eat it, they certainly wouldnít have left the sock on the ground for me to enjoy. Alas, they were less than pleased when they discovered this sock had gone missing, and even less thrilled when they had to take me to the vet to have the sock surgically removed. As a 4 month old puppy, I had no idea that I wasnít supposed to eat this fascinating cotton delicacy, and since this occasion, Iíve learned my lesson about eating things that arenít likely to make it out the other end. Not to mention, Iíd do anything to avoid wearing the cone of shame again!
Why do dogs do this?
According to humans, the ingestion of inedible objects is a disorder known as ďpica.Ē As a four month old puppy, I chose to eat the sock because I was incredibly curious about all the new smells surrounding me. In fact, pica is pretty common for puppies during their investigation stage. Humans arenít always sure why puppies and dogs do this because there are many potential causes of pica. Most puppies outgrow pica halfway through their first year. If we do not outgrow this behavior during puppyhood, it can become increasingly problematic.
The cause of pica can generally be divided into two main categories: behavioral or medical. Some of the behavioral reasons why we do this are:
To help with boredom make sure your dog or puppy has plenty of stimulating toys to keep them busy! My human mom got me a Kong, which keeps me busy for hours! If anxiety is the root cause, check out anxiety solutions that can help ease your dog. Conversely, pica can have medical causes, some of which are:
Always consult a vet first before determining the cause of pica in your dog. Veterinarians will be able to discern if this is a behavioral problem or medical problem.
We all make mistakes, humans and puppies alike. I know that I was pretty ashamed when I discovered that my sock eating escapade would land me at the vetís office, and my human mom felt bad because she didnít catch me eating the sock before it was too late. We both learned a lot from my sock ingestion incident: prevention is worth a lot more than emergency surgery and that silence is golden, unless you have a puppy, then silence is very concerning. I hope you understand pica better and can help your friends avoid making the same mistake I did. See you next time on Rufus Writes!
About the Author
Rufus is a two year old Bernese Mountain Dog who enjoys educating fellow dogs on living life with their two legged companions. Rufus has a B.A. in tail wagging from Barkely College; during his time in college he excelled in the ďHistory of Butt SniffingĒ and his senior thesis, Am I a Good Boy? The Science of Earning Treats is renowned in the dog community. Rufus lives with four cats who donít really seem to understand that he just wants to play with them, not eat them! When not writing articles for EntirelyPets, you can find Rufus relaxing on the beach or making friends at the dog park.