Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


My dog keeps eating everything!

Watching a puppy playfully gnaw on a shoelace might seem adorable, but it could potentially become a dangerous or obsessive behavior if left unchecked. In this article, our veterinarian from Clearlake will discuss the reasons behind this behavior and whether or not it should be a cause for concern.

Why do they eat it if it's not food?

Pica is a common disorder that affects dogs, occurring when they attempt to obtain nutrients lacking in their diet, leading them to chew or eat non-food items like shoes, socks, or toys.

It's essential to note that pica differs from dogs chewing for attention; it's characterized by an obsessive desire to consume non-food objects such as rocks, sand, or sticks, possibly providing essential nutrients.

Eating non-food items can be unsafe and destructive to your dog's health, potentially causing intestinal obstruction and severe complications requiring emergency surgical intervention. Seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog has pica symptoms.


Puppies are naturally curious and explore their surroundings with their mouths. Many puppy owners have experienced their puppies attempting to eat feces, especially from cat litter boxes. This behavior, besides being unpleasant, can be harmful if the feces contain parasites. Most puppies outgrow this habit, but you may need to train yours to stop eating feces.

Adult Dogs

Dogs, regardless of age, have an inherent curiosity to explore, which may lead them to ingest objects they encounter indoors or outdoors. Similar to puppies, they may examine unfamiliar objects by picking them up or chewing on them, sometimes accidentally swallowing them while playing.

Possible reasons for eating non-food items

Apart from pica, boredom, loneliness, attention-seeking behavior, stress or anxiety, habits from puppyhood, health issues, and other factors can contribute to dogs chewing or eating non-food items.

  • Boredom
  • Loneliness
  • Attention-seeking behavior
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Habits left over from puppyhood
  • Health reasons

My dong won't stop eating everything. What should I do?

While training is a potential solution, there are other ways to try to curb your dog's behavior yourself.

  • To relieve your dog's boredom, try spending more time with them and use fun, interactive toys
  • Move any dangerous objects out of your dog's reach, in case they don't respond to training
  • Don't give your dog attention if they're misbehaving; it may reinforce the behavior
  • You can try spraying the items your dog typically tries to eat with a non-toxic dog-repellent spray
  • If your dog is acting out due to stress or anxiety, your vet may recommend drug therapy if other methods aren't effective
  • If your dog acts out this behavior on walks, prevent them from eating items off the ground

Should I be concerned?

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect medical conditions like pica. Otherwise, behavioral issues can often be corrected with time, patience, and love. The priority is ensuring your dog's health and safety by keeping hazardous objects away.

What happens if my dog eats too much?

If humans overeat, they may experience bloating, painful gas cramps, or feel uncomfortable until the issue resolves itself. However, this problem usually subsides with little or no long-term harm.

On the other hand, dogs can suffer from canine bloat if they consume too much food or eat too quickly. This leads to the accumulation of gas in their stomach, which can result in the twisting of their stomach. Canine bloat can be a severe condition and can lead to fatal consequences within hours for many canines.

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog, it is important to take them to the vet or emergency clinic without delay:

  • Pacing or whining
  • Shallow breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach seems distended or enlarged
  • Unable to get comfortable
  • Avoids laying on their side
  • Unable to pass feces
  • Change in the color of their gums (dark red, blue, white, and cold)
  • Licking at the air

How can I prevent canine bloat?

  • Feed your dog smaller, more frequent meals
  • Use a slow feeder bowl to cut down on overeating or eating too fast
  • Try to separate dogs at feeding time if you have more than one
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition. 

To learn more about eating and behavioral issues, contact our Clearlake vets to book an appointment today.

New Patients Welcome

Clearlake Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Clearlake companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(707) 994-9100 Contact