Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by starbuck, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. starbuck New Member

    Tip, my 75lb mixed breed dog eats everything. He especially likes to eat bedding. It got to the point where I had to take away all the blankets/towels in his kennel because he would eat big pieces of them. Now he steals the blankets from Zaydah's kennel and eats chunks of those. He was on 3 cups a day of premium dog food and he was gaining weight so we cut him back to about 2 1/2 cups per day. He never eats the stuff while you're watching, naturally, so I always catch him later licking his lips like he has an esophogeal foreign body. He eats and drinks fine, and I just have to keep an eye on him over the next few days to make sure he passes whatever he's eaten. One night he threw up about a 2in piece of whole corn cob, and i don't even know where he got it because if he's not supervised he's in his kennel! I hadn't even eaten corncob since i'd had him. He just started this about 6 months ago and I've had him for just over a year. He was in a shelter for at least a year and a half and i got him when he was between 2-3 years old. So he's really neurotic. I'm just terrified he's going to become obstructed (thank god he's a big dog or he would've probably obstructed already), and need an exploratory surgery. Any ideas? I don't want to have to spray bitter apple on everything.... Like I said, he won't do it while I'm there, but if you're not watching him he'll find SOMETHING to eat.... :doghuh:

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    are u asking for suggestions or sharing pain?? LOL been there and sympathize. don't want to offer if u just needed to vent. :dogsmile:
  3. starbuck New Member

    If you do have any suggestions please feel free to share them. He just drives me crazy. I can deal with them shredding stuff up but he just terrifies me because he EATS it and I don't want him to get blocked... I can't figure out if he's just neurotic or if there's some other behavioral reason he does it.
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    how much exercise us he getting? i suggest more, he looks part aussie if that is his pic and they are very high drive dogs. some can take 3+ hours a day of physical and mental work. get him doing a job like some complicated mentally challenging behaviors like targeting and shaping behavior with a clicker. some of my dogs also went through the destruct all bedding stage so I took it out as you did. leave him with a frozen yummy kong and have him all tired out before you crate him.

    most bedding destruction is most likely boredom, frusration, or anxiety. if you have any ideas which you can work to correct it. exercise is one, breaks like a dog walker during the day if you are way all day, and nice kongs with variety will help. consider doggie day care a day a week just to tire him out. nothing else tires dogs out like playing with other dogs. if this is partly anxiety you might try videoing him when u leave and see what and when he's doing it. most SA issues happen within about 30 mins of ur leaving.

    you could practice leaving, get coat, keys etc and go out and come right back. then do 4 minutes 10, 1, etc to teach him ur leaving doesn't nec mean u'll be gone a long time. make all goings and comings low key and boring. no talking and excessive petting b/c u'll miss him or a great big greeting when u get home. just ignore for a while when you get home or just a simple pat on the head and stay calm.

    good luck. i know i feel bad leaving puppy in the crate with no soft bed but i also don't want to surgically remove them. my 1 yo has beds all over the house and in her night time crate and never touches those because she's not frustrated. she sees the older dog out running around and gets on a bender and rips and eats. when she's been well trained and exercised she doesn't really touch crate bedding so maybe this will help. :)
  5. Jean Cote Administrator

    I think your best solution is to put your dog in a crate when you are not able to supervise him. What I mean is active supervision - where you have your attention dedicated to your dog. Watching TV with the dog on the same floor as you is not called supervision. :) I also recommend exercise as previously recommended.

    But I do have one question for you ... what do you do when you catch him eating something he's not supposed to? Dogs learn in the moment, so if you find a left over of something he's already eaten, then you can't punish him for that since he will not make the connection. So you have to catch him in the act.

    You can also set up scenarios where he think you are not watching, but you are. You can use baby monitors, mirrors and windows to help you.

    A friend of mine used to have a dog that would eat stuff that was on the counter in the kitchen, but her dog would never do it when she was there. So after dinner, she snucked out the back door and pretended like she was taking out the garbage or whatever, and quietly sneaked to the front and peeked at the window. As soon as she saw him taking stuff on the counter, she burst the front door open giving him clear voice indication that was not a proper behavior. I guess that must have scared the heck out of him because apparently he's never done it after that.

    So I'm sure that you can set up similar scenarios with him eating stuff in your house. Be imaginative - be smart! :)
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    i was assuming crated when ur gone and that the crate bedding is being eaten. agree if he's eating stuff like this he should not be left unsupervised period.

    what r u feeding him?? maybe a lower or higher protein diet would help w/a holistic vet or canine nutritionist advice would help. a carb rich food may be like feeding the kids sugar at bedtime...freak-out time. carbs are what most grocery and chain pet stores sell.

    u also might consider a full blood workup to rule out thyroid/other hormonal or similar disorders. just to be safe.

    also consider some calming training if u really think he's neurotic, i have some reading suggestions on that too. it worked very well 4 me.

    i also set up scenarios 4 puppy with cheap shoes left out when i was watching secretly. if she sniffed, eh-eh, come let's play with a legal toy YAY fun. otherwise all tempting things are put away. all shoes now safe and she's never destroyed anything. but i am always watching still. she isn't allowed off the main floor unless accompanied. set ur pup up 4 success.
  7. starbuck New Member

    This is a default avvi, i actually have no idea what kind of dog he is, I'll try to add a picture to this post. He's living with my parents right now so it's hard to convince them to watch him 24/7. He's supervised or crated 24/7 when he stays with me but since he's been with my parents i fear his problem is getting worse. I hardly ever catch him in the act of chewing, but we know he does it since we find the blankets with chunks missing out of them and then he walks around licking his lips and trying to puke things up. He isn't all that active of a dog, he runs around sometimes but he'd rather lay around the house than do anything. I don't have any other problems with him at all. He doesn't jump up, doesn't bark, is wonderful with other dogs... he just has a terrible case of pica. And only when we're not watching. My cattle dog zaydah keeps him busy a lot by playing with him because she's the hyperactive one. I guess it's a problem i can't really fix until i get him back.... I've tried telling my parents the importance of watching him but i get the typical "I don't have time for that" kind of answer. If only i could make them realize that he wouldn't do it if they'd work with him...... argh. (By the way, he lives with my parents because I lost my job and couldn't afford the pet deposit at the apartment. We're moving to another apartment soon and I just got a new job so hopefully I'll be able to get him back, if not both dogs.)

  8. snooks Experienced Member

    awwww he's adorable and such a cute smile. wow what a tuff situation, sorry to hear that but do understand as my parents would be worse. :dogwacko: hope u get back on the level soon. he looks like part sib/mal/husky, or a snowy pulling breed. i bet more hard exercise when u get back to it will help along with supervision. maybe u can convince ur folks to freeze some kongs for a distraction or do a doggie daycare 1xa week??. he does sound bored/frustrated. much luck 2 u on all fronts.
  9. starbuck New Member

    I can't tell if he's bored/frustrated or hungry. We did cut back his food a bit because he seemed to be gaining weight so i told her to go back to feeding him his regular amount and see if it helps... because he didn't seem to be doing it as often when he was eating 3c/day....
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    that's why i asked what u were feeding. it could be diet too. a starchy food could be freaking him out like a sugar bomb. did you say and I missed it in the post? most of the grocery store and chain pet stores sell very carb rich foods. i really don't rec beneful esp, pedigree, purina, old roy, iams, eukanuba, and several others.

    ones i do like are evo, innova, wellness, canidae, blue buffalo and more. there is some good info at www.dogaware.com, and www.wholedogjournal.com. this could also be a food allergy and could be causing all sorts of behavioral or physical problems that drive him to eat and eat because his gastrointestinal system is irritated.
  11. starbuck New Member

    They get Purina One, they were on Nutro Venison & Brown Rice for awhile but i ended up switching them back to Purina because the Nutro had half the kilocalories per cup and it was more expensive... They seem to be ok on the Purina one and it's the best one I can afford right now, thought about switching them to Blue Buffalo but just can't afford it right now.
  12. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Nutro is a million times better than Purina One, as is Blue Buffalo, but from I financial standpoint I do understand that Purina One could be your better option. You could also try Nature's Recipe. They have a wonderful easy-to-digest formula. It is all natural, not processed, corn-wheat-gluten-beef-and soy free(depending on which one you get, most do not contain corn, wheat, or gluten). They also have a vegetarian formula. It's a good food, but again not the cheapest.
  13. starbuck New Member

    I'm not saying Nutro is a bad food, it did wonderful things for Zaydah's mild allergies, but they were on it and Tip started getting skinny, so I called the company and they said the kilocalories per cup were about half of the purina one... I didn't want to have to start feeding them TWICE the amount of food so i switched them back. (Hell, I can barely afford to keep them on flea prevention. Thank god i just got a job or i wouldn't know what to do.)

    I guess it's all relative, I've heard vets say eukanuba and pedigree are good foods, my animal nutrition teacher (also a vet) thinks Purina One is the best on the market. I've heard tons of good things about Royal Canin from my sister and Blue Buffalo from my trainer friend.

    Thanks everyone for you advice, btw.
  14. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Oh I know you weren't saying anything bad about it; just that it's rather pricey. ^^ Personally I don't like Royal Canin because it's processed and contains corn, which dogs cannot digest. Blue Buffalo's Wilderness variety has more fat and protein than their other varieties and I think Nutro as well, which could help Tip. But again, these foods aren't the most affordable. I know I can't afford them right now. :dogwacko:
  15. snooks Experienced Member

    Consider this in your cost. Feeding less of a higher quality food will solve two dilemmas. The calories will be of better quality and more thoroughly digested (higher %), less food is needed for the dog to get correct nutrition and maintain weight. 99% of the time more food is suggested on the bag than the dog needs, remember their goal is to sell u more food so they generally suggest too much esp for a spayed or neutered dog of average activity. Many of the large dog food makers use cheaper filler ingredients like grains and carbs and fat levels too high for most dogs. Those fats are often not the healthiest fats so you get a lot of calories that are high in saturated fat, not healthy fats. Some of the more $$/bag foods may be cheaper if you feed for a while, discover the calories are being digested more thoroughly, therefore need less volume to maintain weight. Don’t go by just the label and kcal/cup it will leave you lacking about 50% of the true info u need.

    Just as an example for One the cups of food suggested for my 52 lb Golden is 3 1/3 to 4 ¼ cups a day. She would be obese. She eats 1 cup EVO kibble plus 1/2 cup raw unbleached tripe, ¼ can Wellness canned food, plus a few bits of yam, 2T yogurt a day divided in two. Over 4 cups of kibble would be grossly over feeding. If I fed just kibble it would be about 1.5 cups to 2 cups max a day if she were given about 2 hours hard exercise. Added to this would be chicken or roast bits for training daily-about a ½ cup a day. The result is a more lean healthy protein, less fat, and healthy levels of Ca and Ph. So I am actually spending less feeding her with EVO because I’m feeding less than half what One suggests even though EVO is more per bag. Some good food comparisons http://www.naturapet.com/

    You might do a comparison not on just kcals but on % of digestible kcals/cup. All those fillers are not usable calories and many actually are designed to make droppings small and dry. This is not really healthy esp the low moisture content. The ideal balance for a large breed puppy is 26% protein, 15% fat, .8% calcium, and .67% phosphorous. Most commercial kibbles are much higher in calcium and protein than is healthy. I also agree with most of the research that feeding 2x a day and leaving it down for 20 minutes is optimal. Leaving it down for longer encourages pickiness and free feeding contributes to obesity. Feed more of the allotted food in the morning so he has a chance to burn it off during the day.

    A couple of things about reading labels. Even the second and third ingredients may be very small percentages. Check out http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=main and how to read labels at http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=labelinfo101 off that same page label info 101. On this page note that beef listed as an ingredient may be only 3% of the volume!! You may not even be getting what you think because of labeling protocol. These pages also explain what AAFCO is, sort of like doggie FDA.

    When I look at the ingredients in Purina one I see #1 barley, then b vitamins and beef but most of that is not muscle protein but tallow, pulp, bone meal. So right there I see that the highest % of the calories are carbs not protein. There are no AAFCO guidelines for carbs, some will argue that dogs do not need them. In feeding a kibble it’s harder to find grain free kibble (which will be lower carb) but it is possible. Then I see rice, chicken by products, a bunch of stuff that I can’t pronounce, but by now I’m so far down on the list that this % is negligible in volume and nutritional value. Note also that the labeling is minimum and maximum amounts. Meaning that the fat and calcium could be way too high to be healthy, they are merely listing the amounts nearest AAFCO standard and saying it could be this but we don’t guarantee it.

    Note that Purina one has many of the AAFCO bad ingredients http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=badingredients that you might want to consider. Fewer ingredients in a dog food the better. Much of the “vitamins” and additives here are preservatives or for flavor and not of significant % for nutrition. One is at minimum or higher than puppy levels of rec protein at 26% but that is the minimum remember. More protein is usually only suggested for dogs living high stress high performance lives like working dogs. Something around 18% AAFCO might be better. Fat minimum is 8%; maybe something less/nearer AAFCO 5% would help keep the weight off. Calcium and Phosphorous in One is min .9% and .7% which are both a little high. The ratio is within guidelines of 1:1 to a max of 2:1.

    Generally you want to avoid any foods that contain by products. Go for foods that have 1-2 protein sources in the first few ingredients before the fat source. The ingredients before and including the fat, which in one is beef tallow or lard make up the majority of the food. Look for ingredients that are real foods that you recognize like legumes. A good food should not need additives for taste and don’t get a food with sugars like corn or sugars etc. Look for yams or beets, fruits, etc as sweeteners.

    When I look at EVO red meat ingredients compared to Purina proplan (they didn’t have One) it’s enlightening. Evo’s first ingredients down to the fat, sunflower oil are all things I recognize. Lamb meal is not the best but the first ingredient is beef. Purina down to the fat “animal fat” (which is very questionable) are chicken, brewers rice, wheat, poultry by product, corn gluten, corn. I recognize all the things in EVO but what is Animal digest in the Purina? Corn Gluten is also something that is a production by product and very sugary and of no nutritional value.

    If I compare Innova to Nutro. Innova: turkey, chicken, chicken meal, barley, brown rice, potatoes, rice, chicken fat. Nutro wheat flour, rice, rice bran, chicken meal, wheat, poultry fat. I notice right away what will be healthier protein and natural ingredients. All that wheat and rice and flour is filler and empty calories that you are paying for.

    So while this is a lot of info to take in you might try a different kibble or canned is even better. Canned food is less processed than kibble so it’s by default healthier. It’s a myth that kibble keeps teeth clean. I know your parents are probably doing what is easiest right now, and that’s fine but you might switch and try a few of these foods with less volume and see what makes your dog thrive with a healthy glossy coat. You might find that all that junk food is making him a little hyper and he may be nutrient deprived and therefore obsessively eating to try and find something he is lacking. That’s the main reason dogs eat their poo. They smell undigested food in it and are desperate for nutrients so they eat it.

    Just do a slow switch over a couple of weeks mixing a little at first of the new food so there is no tummy upset. Many people think switching periodically is good since some foods may lack some things that others have. Changing sort of provides a good balance over a few months. I’m betting if you get some good food and less of it that your pup will slim down and calm down. :dogwink:
  16. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    It's a shame these quality foods aren't sold in my area. Nutro, Blue Buffalo, Nature's Recipe, and Avoderm are the best foods my pet supply stores offer, including Petsmart. Not that they are terribly bad foods anyway, but in comparison to some of the higher end ones like you mentioned Snooks, there are a few differences... There are a few places that sell holistic foods but I am very unimpressed with their quality, and their prices are outrageous. Authority Harvest Baked has caught my eye lately because it's a bit more affordable but not a terrible food.
  17. snooks Experienced Member

    txcg - i'm orig from tx, born & raised. howdy! lived in lubbock, midland, & houston with lots of family in N and E tx. best sunsets in the world :) it is a shame that u have problems finding good foods. do u have any of those smaller boutiquey pet supply places where u r? i never really went into many until hunting 4 these foods. pleasant surprise i found many in those little places i normally wouldn’t go with my big golden field dogs. they also were very willing to order 4 me. one guy i emailed said they sell online which was really great.

    i quit going 4 food to Petco/Petsmart after a friend’s Dobie almost died from a fungal infection caught from old stock at one of those places. apparently it is fairly common that they overbuy and have very old stock. she found out about thousands of cases. those inferior grains are the culprit apparently. http://www.altmd.com/Articles/Pet-Food-Recall

    www.onlynaturalpet.com was this guy/s site i talk with a little on line. i found food here so didn't go there but it's an idea. i bet u might get fresher food home delivered esp since u could buy more. the only catch would be finding free or low shipping. i would never have thought of all this if i had not traveled down the road.
  18. snooks Experienced Member

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