living with PICA
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Thread: living with PICA

  1. #1
    scutter is offline Senior Member
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    Defaultliving with PICA

    I am trying to learn about PICA and trying to understand how to deal with it??
    at 15 months, my dog has eaten 4 socks, 2 dishrags, 1 pr underwear, 2 rocks and not sure what else as I have seen other things in her poop.

    She is currently recovering from surgery for the rock and other stuff.

    Where do we go from here? What is PICA ?

    Thanks

    Zoey and Benelli's buddy

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  3. #2
    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    Pica is the consistent ingestion of nonfood material. While in young labs it's usually behavioral (without a medical cause), there are several medical problems that can manifest as pica. Pica is a hallmark of iron deficiency anemia, I'm assuming your vet did bloodwork before surgery, was there a microcytic hypochromic anemia? If so you might want to look into that. Parasites, GI bleeding and urinary bleeding can all lead to iron deficiency anemia over time. (Other differentials that seem less likely in your dog are exocrine pancreatic insufficieny or a portosystemic shunt.)

    The main thing is to confine the dog to a safe area (crate, dog-proof room, dog run) whenever and ALWAYS when it is not supervised. If you're unable to do this she should wear a basket muzzle (usually with an additional strap that goes between her eyes as well so she can't pull it off) at all times when she's unsupervised. When you are able to supervise her you can let her out of the crate/area or take the muzzle off. Confine her to the one room you're in through the use of gates or closed doors, if that's not possible leash her to your belt. Work on training her with specific chew toys on what is appropriate to chew and what is not. Provide MANY options to see what she enjoys (kongs, Premier pet makes a TON of toys that are fillable with food/peanut butter). Be bsessive about removing anything she might eat, she may have to wear the basket muzzle when outside so she won't eat rocks. While it's not a specific treatment upping her exercise will help as well - a "dog tired" lab is MUCH less likely to find trouble. I've found from my own labs that they need at least 1 hour of vigorous walking/fetching/etc. or 30 minutes of hard running or swimming to tire them out when they're less than 3 years old. Your girl sounds and probably was bred much hotter than my two, she may need more. Regardless, I don't think 30 min a day of what you are doing now is working.

    I have heard of people trying the typical behavior drugs as well in cases where there might be a stress component to the pica. I've not heard much success with this though, and it doesn't sound like your dog is a stress case.

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

  4. #3
    Mama3tikes is offline Senior Member
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    What YellowJakesmom said. I do not consider it "true" PICA in dogs ( I teach special needs adults) unless they are over 3 years. Confine and supervise. Thats the only thing for now.





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  6. #4
    scutter is offline Senior Member
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    I talked to the vet about PICA he indicated that it is not true pica as according to him pica was from mineral deficiency of some sort and the dogs eat various metal to try to compensate. So he did not call this PICA. The only thing he reccommended was a muzzle or a halter collar in order to keep her head up if she tried to put it down to eat something. I talked to him about he crate and concrete kennel area. He did not believe that she would grow out of this behavior. so yes, we are going to have to change what we are doing. Other than two rocks, all of the other stuff was while she was in the house. So zoey proofing the house and keeping an eye on her in the house seems to be really critical. In regards to the concrete kennel, if she has nothing bad to chew on and can not dig then it would seem that should in a safe enviornment. I will get some more toys. she used to play alot with my other dog and they played tug of war etc. So now that she will be alone, I will have to provide other things, kongs etc.

    I am leaning towards the concrete kennel but until I can pour a concrete floor I will keep her in the crate during the day.

    Thanks

    Zoey and Benelli's buddy

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