Friday, August 20, 2010

ASK THE VET: Curious, Often Harmless Dog Behaviors

by Pat Bradley, DVM

© JG, full name on file for privacy
Bob, in his Parti Colors!
Hello Dr Pat .... 

Bob, my dog, is a great boy in all ways, but he tends to like to chew and eat a piece of paper most evenings after dinner.

Also, after dinner, he often does a tour of the  sitting room and gently gives a  nose push to bowls, objects, or really any thing within reach, but with no damage. It's mysteriously amusing. I find it so odd and wondered  about both traits.

I'm a proud supporter of
Monika's Rescues here in Sydney, Australia, although Bob isn't a pound dog. He's a Labrador Poodle cross in parti colours 
(black and white).

Many thanks,


Dear James:
What a fun dog, James!  A labradoodle already decked out in his party outfit! 
Bob’s paper eating may be perfectly normal, but can also be one sign of  pica.  Pica is a term for eating things – things other than food -- as a result of a mineral deficiency. Watch Bob closely for signs that he’s eating things like dirt and rocks, or licking cement, sheetrock, or bricks.  Treating pica may be as simple as adding a good mineral supplement to the diet.  But if it continues, your vet will want to do some tests to rule out other diseases that may result in pica.
The thing I’m the most surprised about is that Bob “does no damage”.  With the 
genes of a
extremely intelligent + extremely curious = Mischievous 

  and a

 extremely energetic + extremely mouthy = Enthusiastic chewer

(Stay with me -- I know it’s been a long time since math class)...

Mischievous + Enthusiastic Chewer = Large Potential for Damage

Not only is Bob just a fun dog; he’s a great dog!  He is smart and calm enough to entertain himself with his nose in a way that is doing no harm.  Lucky you!  In most well-adjusted dogs, the sense of smell will be dominant over hearing and sight.  Getting dogs to use their sense of smell is one way to  calm them when they become anxious.  But it sounds like Bob‘s senses are in the right order for him to continue to be a wonderful companion.
And since he’s already in his party clothes, take your companion out for an appreciation dinner and run in the park!

Have a question for Dr. Pat? Write to

For a personal consultation about your pet's needs, visit Holistic Veterinary Services.

Dr. Pat's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian

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Xena is having some fun with this post in her commentary at 5 Minutes for Fido. Check out Tanner's mischievous photo and you'll get a good laugh. We think it should be captioned "Is this my size?"
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