Puppies naturally explore their surroundings and put things in their mouth, including stones, sticks, wood, rocks, and other dangerous items. This behavior, known as pica, can be caused by various factors, such as boredom, anxiety, teething, or nutritional deficiencies. However, ingesting these items can pose serious health risks to puppies, including choking, intestinal blockages, or damage to the digestive tract.
Puppy owners must provide their pets with safe and appropriate toys to chew on, supervise them during outdoor activities, and seek veterinary care immediately if they suspect their puppy has swallowed any dangerous object. Get your dog checked immediately.
Dealing with emergencies
First of all, do not panic! Remain calm and look for signs that your puppy has ingested something harmful. Some of the common symptoms in your puppy could be:
- Vomiting or diarrhea: If your puppy suddenly starts vomiting or having diarrhea, it could be a sign that they have ingested something harmful.
- Loss of appetite: If your puppy refuses to eat or drink, it could be a sign that they are not feeling well.
- Lethargy or weakness: If your puppy seems more tired or weak than usual, it could be a sign that they have ingested something harmful.
- Changes in behavior: If your puppy behaves strangely or seems distressed, it could be a sign that they are not feeling well.
- Difficulty breathing: If your puppy has difficulty breathing or seems to be wheezing or coughing, it could indicate a severe allergic reaction.
- Seizures or tremors: If your puppy is experiencing attacks or earthquakes, it could be a sign of toxic ingestion.
Steps to take
If you suspect you have eaten something harmful, acting quickly is essential. Here are the steps you should take:
- Identify what your puppy has eaten: If possible, try to identify what it ate and how much it ate. This information can help your veterinarian determine the best course of action.
- Contact your veterinarian: Call your veterinarian immediately and tell them what your puppy has eaten. They can provide you with advice on what to do next. If your veterinarian is closed, you can contact an emergency animal hospital.
- Follow your veterinarian’s advice: Your veterinarian may recommend that you induce vomiting in your puppy, or they may suggest that you bring your puppy in for immediate treatment. Follow their advice closely.
- Monitor your puppy: After you have taken action, monitor your puppy closely for any signs of distress. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your puppy is vomiting, lethargic, or showing other symptoms.
Stop your puppy from eating everything
Follow these steps to stop your puppy from eating everything:
- Supervision: The easiest way to prevent your puppy from eating these items is to supervise them closely when they are outside. Keep a close eye on them and redirect their attention if you see them trying to eat something they shouldn’t be. It’s also a good idea to keep them on a leash or in a fenced area to limit their access to potentially harmful items.
- Training: Training your puppy to obey commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” can be very helpful in preventing them from eating these items. Teaching your puppy basic obedience commands will help them understand what behaviors are expected of them and can help them avoid dangerous situations.
- Providing appropriate chew toys: Puppies have a natural urge to chew, so it’s essential to provide them with proper chew toys to satisfy this need. Offer a variety of toys with different textures and shapes to keep your puppy engaged and interested. If you catch your puppy trying to chew on something they shouldn’t be, redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy.
- Creating a safe environment: It’s essential to create a safe environment for your puppy by removing any potential hazards. Keep your home and yard free of items your puppy could chew on or swallow, such as electrical cords, small toys, or loose items. If you’re unsure if a thing your puppy has is safe for your puppy, it’s best to err on the side of caution and remove it from their reach.
How can you puppy-proof the outside of the home?
If your puppy eats everything, both in and outside of the home, it is time to monitor your pet all the time and puppy-proof the external surroundings:
- Remove any potential hazards: Outside your home, remove any sticks, wood pieces, or other objects your puppy may find attractive to chew on. Remember that puppies are curious and may dig or explore anything they see, so remove anything dangerous.
- Fence your yard: If you have a yard, install a fence around it to prevent your puppy from wandering off and accessing potentially dangerous areas.
- Use taste deterrents: Apply a taste deterrent on any wood surfaces or objects your puppy may chew on, such as the legs of outdoor furniture. You can use products like Bitter Apple spray, vinegar, or hot sauce to make your deterrent.
- Appropriate chew toys: Ensure your puppy has plenty of safe chew toys they can chew on instead of wood or sticks. Toys made of durable materials like rubber, nylon, or rigid plastic are best.
Never punish your innocent puppy
Last, careful supervision is critical to prevent your puppy from eating wood, rocks, sharp objects, and sticks. Keep an eye on your puppy outside and redirect their attention to appropriate toys or activities if you see them trying to chew on wood or sticks. You can buy them from local and online pet stores easily.
If a puppy puts something inappropriate in their mouth, gently redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy rather than punishing them. Punishment can cause fear and anxiety in puppies and may lead to more destructive behavior in the future.
Instead, positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats for good behavior can help encourage and reinforce appropriate chewing habits in puppies. Consistency and patience are key to successfully training a puppy. It is just a matter of time before your puppy develops good habits.