Unusual eating habits

Dogs and cats will sometimes eat or merely suckle on clothing or other objects which may result in a variety of problems for both people and their pets. Not only can the caregiver's possessions be destroyed or damaged, but objects such as clothing and rocks can produce life-threatening blockages in the animal’s intestines.

Another form of this behavior – stool eating – while not necessarily dangerous to the animal is often unacceptable to the caregiver.

Here are a few tips to help eliminate your pet’s unusual eating habits:

  • Remove items your pet is eating. Put anything your pet likes to eat in a closet or other area to limit your pet’s access.
  • Use a deterrent spray on things your pet is eating. Deterred sprays can make items much less appealing.
  • Increase playtime with your pet. Boredom and pent-up energy can make behavior issues worse.
  • Provide interactive toys. These types of toys are a great way to keep your cat occupied and can make mealtimes last longer.
  • Give your pet alternative things to chew on. Edible cat treats, tuna flakes, and fabric toys for cats. Bones, antlers, and Nylabones for dogs. 
  • Hire a veterinary behaviorist to assess your pet. Some animals may benefit from medication to help manage behavioral issues. 

Many of us would like this to simply go away. Unfortunately, as with most behavior issues, there is no quick fix. However, with a little patience and some good environmental management you and your pet can get through this together.

Need more behavior help?

If you have additional questions or your dog is struggling with these tips, contact our behavior pet helpline. For more helpful tips and resources for training and managing your dog's behavior, you can also visit our behavior resource library

Contact Behavior Helpline