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Common Behavior Problems

Eating Feces and Other Things That Aren't Food

While dogs can ingest most anything, eating rocks, socks, or feces seem to be the Big Three that prompt calls to us. Wool, wood items and plastic products are often favorite targets for cats. These behaviors seem to be more common in Siamese cats and related breeds.

Some items that your pet ingests can create life-threatening intestinal blockages, so your pet’s life may depend on stopping this behavior. The technical term for this behavior is pica – eating things that aren’t food.

Eating feces is called coprophagy. Dogs are prone to eating both their own and other animal’s feces, but we’ve never known cats to do this. Coprophagy is often more bothersome to people than it is to dogs. People become annoyed by feces eating when it causes the dog to vomit, creates bad breath, or because the behavior just seems disgusting. For more detailed information purchase our CD called Understanding Dogs That Eat Poop: Coprophagia.

Pet-proof your house if possible, so that your pet can’t get hold of the things he likes to chew and eat. If you can’t keep your pet away from the items, use products to make them taste bad, or harmless ‘booby-traps” to keep pets away. We recommend SSSCat™.

If these general suggestions aren’t working, and especially if the pica is causing life-threatening blockages, schedule an individual consultation, because of the seriousness of the situation. Through a combination of environmental management and the appropriate use of aversives, it may be possible to stop the behavior.

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