My dog is into metal...
September 11, 2010 9:25 AM   Subscribe

What's with the metal chewing?

For awhile, my dog has been obsessively licking metal objects/areas (floor vent, handle on a cabinet) and recently chewed a bracelet to destruction and ate a pair of earrings. These were selected over things like shoes and athletic bags, his normal go-to items when he gets in chewy moods.

Is it a dietary deficiency? What causes this specific attraction to metal? Otherwise he is eating and drinking as he always has, and is displaying no other odd behaviors.
posted by I_Love_Bananas to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Eating or licking non-food items, especially metal, is pica, and can be an indication of problems if it arises suddenly. But then again, dogs are weird. Hopefully someone else will chime in with more information, but for googling, "pica" is the word you want.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:51 AM on September 11, 2010

Check his diet. Usually, if an adult dog is eating something weird, he is lacking something or other in his diet. Iron?

Unless he's a puppy. Puppies just like to chew on shit.
posted by chicago2penn at 10:00 AM on September 11, 2010

when my younger dog is bored or wants attention she always licks the metal clasp that attaches her leash to her collar. If these are things you are always touching (leaving your smell on), maybe your dog is behaving anxiously because you're not giving attention? just a hypothesis. Go give him a hug, I'm out of town and i miss my doggies terribly!
posted by ChefJoAnna at 12:34 PM on September 11, 2010

He is definitely an adult dog, probably 10+ (not sure exactly as he is from a shelter). These are occurence that are new- for example, he NEVER would go in the bathroom, because he hates baths. I have now found him in there 4 times, licking the A/C vent in the floor.

He is in a definite older-dog routine, so these incidents stand out. He gets lots of love and attention; I just didn't know if anything "clinical" was specified by this type of behavior. I'll call his vet and see what they have to say.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:53 PM on September 11, 2010

When I was little, we had a cat who developed a habit of licking our fireplace tools. We thought it was weird but largely ignored it. Eventually, we found out that he had an iron deficiency. It's amazing how instinct works, isn't it? The next time he's at the vet, it may be worth getting a blood test.
posted by Dr. ShadowMask at 1:23 PM on September 11, 2010

Call the vet, ask if the dog can take a human/child's iron supplement, or get the veterinary version. The only problem with iron is that it can change bowel habits, so you may have to give the dog more fiber.
posted by theora55 at 3:26 PM on September 11, 2010

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