Saturday, April 05, 2008

Yellow Labrador Retriever is Crazy for Food - part II

Subject: My yellow Labrador Retriever is crazy for food - part II

From: Electa (Canada)

Labrador Retriever Name: Furgus "The Hungry"

This is the second part of a two part e-mail from Electa. To read part one visit: Yellow Labrador Retriever is Crazy for Food - part I

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Electa,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Thank you for your patients with the reply to you e-mail, as it takes me some time to try and answer the many e-mails I receive. I want to also thank you for the adorable photos of Furgus, he is just so cute.

Many different breeds of dogs will eat anything, be it edible or not. It just so happens that our lovable Labrador Retrievers are notorious for this.

There is a condition called Pica, which is an eating disorder where dogs eat non-food items.

Continue Reading...


You really have to be careful with Pica because the swallowing of these different objects can cause problems with the stomach, intestinal blockages, teeth, and gums, to name a few.

Experts have still not been able to deduce Pica's causes. There have been several theories proposed, but none of them have been proved or disproved. Here are some prominent theories that suggest the following causes to pica:

Curiosity - puppies will explore through taste and sense of smell. Continue the use of your "drop it" command, when you do observe Furgus chomping on something he's not suppose to.

Frustration: Frustration or anxiety could also result in nervous chewing of non-food objects. If this is the case, the causes of the frustration or anxiety will have to be identified and the behavior changed by using behavior modification techniques.

Attention-seeking behaviors - he's looking for more attention from family members, and is learning that picking up these objects will grab your attention.

Boredom - if Furgus is left alone for long periods of time (which I doubt in your case, because you are home with him all day) or lack of exercise.

Deficiency in nutrients - diet lacking in certain nutrients that the body needs.

Medical - diseases involving the nervous system such, diabetes mellitus, anemia, certain diseases of the liver, pancreas and gastrointestinal systems (among others).

My advise would be a visit to your veterinarian to make sure Furgus has no medical problems that may be causing him to eat everything in site. If you veterinarian rules out any medical problems you may want to visit an animal behaviorist for help.

Some things that may be helpful:

Plenty of exercise and play, long walks, runs, games of fetch. This will help tire him out. REMEMBER: a tired Labrador Retriever is a good Labrador Retriever.

Chew toys - Encourage Furgus to play with his chew toys, and when you have time play with him with his chew toys (it will get him further interested in the toys). I do recommend the Kong products here. They will keep Furgus busy for hours, especially the ones you fill with treats. They provide plenty of mental and physical exercise for Furgus. Just make sure you get the appropriate size for him.

You may want to spread his feeding schedule out. Instead of feeding him once or twice a day (whatever your schedule is), you may want to spread it out throughout the day (same amount of food Furgus was getting, in smaller portions).

Here are a couple more websites that may be of help to you:

http://www.animalhealthcare.ca/contents/content.asp?id=83&cat=dogs

http://www.nomorehomelesspets.org/behavior/other/eating_habits.htm

As for the grass, most Labrador Retrievers eat grass at some time. Some Labradors eat grass because they simply like the taste, some to settle or clear an upset stomach, and some will eat grass to provide further bulk to their diet.

Labrador Retrievers (all dogs in general) have been eating grass forever and I don't believe it has ever been proved that it is bad for them. What is very dangerous though, is anything the grass may have been treated with (insecticides, herbicides, or other chemicals). For this reason it is best to keep Furgus from eating it unless you know it hasn't been treated.

In regards to the reeds and purple flowers, as you already know, many plants and flowers are toxic for our Labrador Retrievers. I know you can't keep Furgus out of the water (Impossible), but please be careful. I have listed a couple websites to help with dangerous flowers and plants.

http://www.cybercanine.com/toxicplants.htm

http://www.inch.com/~dogs/poison.html

Hope this can be of help to you and Furgus. Please keep me advised of his condition, and if you do take him to your veterinarian, I'd be interested in knowing what they tell you (as will the readers of this blog).

If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Take care of yourself and Furgus!

Fay

References:

Allen, Dana G. Small Animal Medicine. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1991
Nomorehomelesspets.org
DDfl.org
Animalhealthcare.ca

Reader's E-mail: Electa's Response:

Hi, thanks so much for your hard work to help me with this problem.

We have it under control (fingers crossed). I started making Furgus his food and he is doing so much better. His stool is harder, he doesn't counter surf hardly at all and his coat feels like silk. I can't say for sure it was the food we were feeding him as it is supposed to be a high quality food, but it was immediate the change in him.

Like a lot of solutions it was accidental. We had left his food at the cottage and it was later on a Sunday with nothing open, so I had little choice but to make him something. He loved my concoction and I don't mind making it.

thanks again
Electa and Furgus the full

Visit Furgus 04/05/08 to see some adorable photos.

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