Why Does My Dog Eat Socks and Other Assorted Questions


pet chewing, puppy chewing, inappropriate chewing

Gidget trying to eat my shirt

Hi everyone. Welcome back to Tales & Tails with Dr. Ferrell. It’s not always easy to come up with blog topics. Jiggy and Corey just don’t do crazy things for me to tell you about every day. And I love to share educational information with you but I don’t want to bore you either. So this week, I asked friends, family, and clients what questions they have about their pets and what they’d like to see us write about. I got some great submissions and here they are.

1. Why does my dog eat socks? I have a feeling this was a bit of a joke. But seriously, why do our pets eat inappropriate things like socks, cell phones, Bluetooth ear pieces, poker chips, panty hose, CD’s, diamond earrings, hair brushes and tons of other random items. And yes, all of those listed items are things I’ve seen dogs eat and yes, Jiggy has been the culprit many times. The good news is, this is rarely a medical issue. It’s almost always behavioral and sometimes it’s because something smells good or looks shiny and exciting or is just plain available. The cure: pick up our stuff. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Now the disclaimer here is that there are some medical conditions that cause polyphagia, or increased appetite, and your pet may be driven to eat anything in their path. So if your pet’s appetite increases dramatically or they’ve never chewed on inappropriate things before and have suddenly started, give us a call.

2. Why does my dog eat poop? Bad news guys. They like it. Yep, it’s seriously gross to us but unfortunately some dogs think it’s gourmet cuisine, whether it’s their own, their buddy’s, or the cat’s. The cure for this one: pick up your dog’s poop as soon as they go and clean the litterboxes daily. There are products out there you can add to your pet’s food to make their stool aversive to them, but I haven’t found any that are consistently effective. And again, I refer you to the above caveat. If your dog has a condition that significantly increases their appetite they may go searching for anything they can find to put in their stomach. Also on rare occasions nutritional deficiencies may cause dogs to go foraging for poop. So if eating poop is a big change for your dog, give us a call.

3. Why does my dog eat grass when his stomach is upset? I get asked this question all the time. Eating grass to make themselves vomit is generally considered a myth. Sometimes dogs will eat grass and sometimes they vomit afterward because grass is hard to digest. The assumption was made that the dog felt sick and ate the grass to vomit and feel better. In general, that’s not true. Occasionally, I’ve seen dogs eat grass when they’ve been hot so it may be that the grass tastes cool to them if they’re thirsty. And lots of dogs just like grass (Dr. Regehr’s Molly dog loves grass!). But most dogs aren’t going to make the connection that eating grass makes them vomit so they should do it again when they feel sick. If your dog is eating grass and vomiting repeatedly, there may be something else going on, so again, call us.

4. Why do my cats vomit so frequently? Ok, this one is a medical issue. Yes, cats vomit occasionally. Everyone does. But repeated vomiting means something is wrong. Vomiting is a symptom of any underlying problem that may be as simple as hairballs or as serious as kidney disease. If your cat (or dog) is vomiting repeatedly they need to get to the vet for a check-up. Ongoing vomiting can cause inflammation, ulceration and permanent damage to the esophagus and tissues of the mouth so it should be addressed ASAP. The underlying cause needs to be identified and treated. Not sure if the frequency of your pet’s vomiting is ok? Give us a call.

5. Is a dry nose really a concern? This is another one I get all the time, but with variations. My dog has a dry/moist/warm/cool nose–what does that mean? It might not mean anything at all. If your pet’s nose is dry to the point of cracking, then yes we need to address it. But otherwise, it’s no problem. Warm or cool noses aren’t necessarily indicators of problems either. If your pet’s entire body feels hotter to the touch than normal, that’s a concern. If your pet can’t seem to get warm and seeks out heating vents or other sources of warmth, that may indicate an underlying problem. But generally, your pet’s nose can vary in temperature depending on their activity, environment and other factors. As for moist noses, it’s completely normal for your dog’s nose to remain moist or even have a slight amount of clear discharge. Things that are cause for concern: excessive discharge, greenish or yellow discharge, thick mucoid discharge or bloody discharge. Those are indicators that it’s time to get to the vet.

Alright, I’m about out of blog room, but I love answering your questions, so keep them coming. You can e-mail questions to [email protected] or call us anytime at (913) 742-8387. Also visit our facebook page and you can send us a message or post comments there: Perimeter Veterinary Center on Facebook



*reprint from 2014

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