As pet parents, we have all seen our dogs eat some pretty disgusting or non-food things. We are left shaking our heads and wondering, why?

It’s common for puppies to chew on objects as they are teething, and some even digest these foreign objects without any digestive problems. Fortunately, most will grow out of this behavior.

However, for some dogs, the behavior of eating foreign objects is far more extensive and can have serious health complications.

According to research, there are two key reasons why adult dogs eat non-food items…physical and behavioral.

Physical reasons

It could be the dog’s diet is lacking important nutrients or could be disease related such as digestive disorders, infections or even poisoning. If your dog consumes inedible things please speak with your veterinarian to rule out any physical causes for Pica.


Behavioral reasons

It could be that the dog is bored, anxious or seeking attention. If there appears there is no medical reason your dog is eating weird things such as rocks and twigs, their condition is considered compulsive Pica.

The most common things dogs with compulsive Pica eat are rocks, plastic bags, plastic containers, socks, gloves, pinecones and wooden objects.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reports that compulsive behavior isn’t something that simply goes away. It requires training to restrain this possible dangerous activity. Yard supervision and/or removing know objects such as bark and rocks from gardens, are also recommended.

x-rays of an 18-month dog who ingested stones which obstructed the intestines




Pica is the technical term for a disorder where your dog ingests items that are not food. Usually, Pica is simply a sign of boredom, especially in younger dogs and puppies. Items being ingested may include rocks, dirt, paper, etc.  If your dog starts vomiting, has diarrhea or constipation or a painful abdomen after eating a foreign object you should take them to a vet to get assessed.