Charlotte Peltz Living with Your Dog "Your Dog Ate What?" brought to you by Joy Beckner Artist/ Bronze Sculptor

Living with Your Dog

Your Dog Ate What?

by Charlotte Peltz

Dogs eat the darnedest things and sometimes it is even normal behavior! However, normal or not, it is often not in the dogs' best interest or, it is downright offensive to the owners.

Eating feces, for example, is seriously frowned upon by dog owners but, for dogs, it is really quite a normal behavior. We may not like that reality but about that I can do nothing. Horse/burro manure is a real favorite and actually, there is little really wrong with the behavior -- as far as the dog is concerned. There are surely a lot of unprocessed nutrients in the manure and they are probably an improvement over what comes in most bags of dog food. There is one concern, however, and that is most likely to happen with horses that are well kept. The problem is if the dog were to eat manure following a de-worming of the horses. The pesticide in the manure would not be in the dog's best interest.

Dogs, however, who eat their own feces, bring the biggest hollers and complaints from their owners. While it really is not considered abnormal behavior (Honestly!) it is not totally understood, either. To be sure, it often happens when pups and dogs are put in situations where their hunger forces them into this behavior. Once that behavior starts, it is rather difficult to terminate. The best solution is to prevent the dog from succeeding. Meaning -- meticulous housekeeping! Other ideas include putting meat tenderizer on their food or buying products to add to their food in an effort to change their behavior. And, finally, be certain that the dog's diet is the best possible to avoid deficiencies that could help motivate the behavior.

But while those undesirable appetites may not prove harmful, there are other things that dogs love to eat that can indeed prove fatal. Dogs seem to love paper products -- paper napkins, toilet paper, face tissue, cardboard, books, etc. All of these items have the capacity to kill a dog by way of blockage in the digestive track. Puppies are the most likely to eat such things but adults do so also. The answers include prevention -- meaning keep puppies out of the bathroom, keep garbage away from the puppies, and keep puppies in secure pens, crates, or safe areas when it is impossible to supervise them. While I say puppies, this applies to any dog that cannot be trusted to play with only his own "toys."

Other items high on the list of dangerous include almost anything made of plastic (including phones, remote controls, eye glasses, pill containers, etc.) Not only is it dangerous for dogs to ingest such items, it can get very expensive even if all the dog does is chew such items into unrecognizable pieces. The solution to prevent such chewing/ingesting is the same as for paper products. Pups and dogs should never have free access to the house until they have proved to be responsible citizens.

An item that people give to their dogs with the very best of intentions can also prove dangerous, and that is a cooked bone. Raw bones are very safe, but cooked bones get hard and brittle, and can rip and tear once in the digestive system. [Please see Charlotte's Recommended Reading.]

Incidentally, dogs can learn to not chew items other than their own toys and can become responsible members of the family, but only if their owners take the time to learn how to properly train them and then do it!

"One can measure the size and moral progress of a nation to how she treats her animals." Mahatma Gandhi.

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