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Pica in Weimaraners: Crazy Things Dogs Eat

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Yuliss began blogging in 2009. Her site is dedicated to Weimaraner's health, fitness and rehoming intervention for families with children.

Weimaraner Chewing Problems

Weimaraners are known to nibble and chew many things, even non-edible items. The breed tends to have compulsive, active chewing behaviours. When the chewing seems compulsive and extreme it may be time to see a veterinarian to look into metabolic and dietary needs or mental health needs such as anxiety.

The general term for compulsive eating is PICA. Although it’s unclear what PICA is, a word or an acronym, it is defined by the eating of non-food items such as cardboard, fabric, wood, paper, dirt and even rocks.

Compulsive, Aggressive Destruction - Signs of PICA

Our dog Titan had PICA

Our dog Titan had PICA

Dr Klein Tells Us Why Dogs eat Poo

Our Experience With Weimaraner Coprophagia

In any case, sometimes these dogs develop a need to eat their own poo or other dog’s poo they sniff out while on walks. The medical term for poo eating is “coprophagia”. Coprophagia is a specific type of PICA.

Our Weimaraner, Titan, experienced PICA and coprophagia. The veterinarian tried to adapt Titan’s nutrition by adding an egg including the shell to his evening meal. That gave him a luxurious coat, but did not do anything to change his PICA habits.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog PICA

Symptoms of PICA in dogs includes:

● Lethargy

● Stomachache

● Vomiting

● Diarrhea

● Lack of appetite or remains ravenous despite appropriate meals and snacks

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As mentioned, trying to enhance Titan’s nutrition to divert PICA was not successful. We decided in Titan’s case this was behavioural. We tried to divert his behaviour by using LIMA (least intrusive, minimally invasive) methods such as spraying vinegar on feces. Unfortunately, the vinegar did not deter him from eating poo.

Weimaraners are Compulsive Eaters

How We Supported Titan

As a last, and most rational intervention, we made sure to clean up directly after him in the yard and on walks. This was the only way we had success slowing his corophagia. But he would still sniff out and eat other dog’s poo that he would find on walks.

Most recent research on corophagia does indicate a familial, genetic link. So much can be done for behavior and environment but we must also appreciate dog genetics. The Weimaraner seems at particular risk of PICA and coprophagia as is evidenced by Weim Crimes. Facebook community which shows daily evidence of cardboard, plastic and fabric being destroyed by these active chewers!

Dog PICA Interventions

Ways to deter dog PICA:

● Dog-safe your home (keep non-edible items safely away from your dog)

● Watch human food closely, leaving it on a counter top is not going to stop a Weim!

● Treat any underlying medical conditions (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition)

● Manage any mental conditions (stress, anxiety, depression, increase exercise and enrichment)

● Maintain clean environment (with corophagia, clean up immediately to remove temptation)

● In extreme cases that do not resolve over 6 months to 1 year, can consider medication in discussion with your trusted veterinarian

Summary

In summary, this article discusses PICA in the Weimaraner dog breed. We hear from veterinarian expect Dr Klein, we discuss symptoms of PICA and management for PICA both practice and pharmaceutical. We use our Weimaraner Titan, as an example of a dog living with PICA.

Titan lived a full life regardless of PICA. We had to constantly keep a dog-safe environment and watch our human food was out of Titan’s reach. Especially around the holidays when large meals and multiple servings are easy to leave full turkeys, pies and loaves of bread temporarily unattended while you arrange another course. Weimaraner are fast and opportunistic!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Yuliss

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