Why does my dog eat weird things?

Dogs have a tendency to eat the most bizarre things. It’s so common that it has its own name – ‘pica’. 

Over the years PDSA vets have removed all sorts of weird and wonderful things from pets, including rubber ducks, children’s toys, underwear, tent pegs and even a kitchen knife!


What should I do if my dog’s eaten something they shouldn’t?

Read our advice on what to do if you think your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t.


Why do dogs eat things they shouldn’t?

Chewing is a totally normal and natural behaviour for dogs. Never try to stop your dog chewing completely, instead make sure they chew on something safe. There are loads of reasons your dog might be chewing:

  • Curiosity. Dogs explore the world with their mouths and sometimes they accidentally swallow the things they pick up.
  • Boredom or stress. Dogs are very intelligent animals and get bored easily. They might fill their time by chewing on things in your house, swallowing something they shouldn’t in the process. If your dog is stressed, perhaps by being left alone or by loud noises, they may comfort themselves by chewing.
  • Habit. Some dogs get into a habit of eating things they shouldn’t, for example eating poo. Eating poo is called ‘copraphagia’ and often develops as a habit or sometimes because they’re missing essential nutrients from their diet - speak to your vet about this as they will be able to advise you.
  • Hunger. If your dog is particularly hungry, they will go searching for food. Ensure your dog is the correct eight and getting the right amount of food, speak to your vet or vet nurse for advice.


How do I stop my dog eating things they shouldn’t?

Here are some things you can do to stop your dog eating things they shouldn’t:

  • Training. Make sure your dog understands a few simple commands like ‘leave’ and ‘drop’ so if you see them going for something that could be dangerous to them you can stop this, even if you are some distance away. Check out our guide to reward-based training.
  • Remove temptation. Keep risky items safely out of reach. It seems obvious, but if your pet goes for certain items, keep these well out of reach. Get into the habit of keeping the floor clear of anything small enough for your dog to swallow.
  • A muzzle. If your dog gobbles things up on walks and hasn’t learnt the ‘drop’ or ‘leave’ command yet, a muzzle can help to keep them safe. A simple basket muzzle should stop them from wolfing down anything hazardous and they’ll still be able to enjoy their walk.

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