I have a 5-year-old male beagle who weighs 41 pounds. His daily diet consists of Beneful Healthy dry food that I usually mix with steamed turkey, chicken or lean chuck -- just a tablespoon or so. He doesn't eat as much without the mix. We also give him a bit of table scraps, but not much.The problem is that, every few months, he starts licking the rug and one of the walls. Sometimes it lasts for 10 minutes. Lately, it seems when he gets that feeling, he wants to go outside and eat grass. There are no chemicals or sprays on the grass. Occasionally, he throws up white foam. After it's over, he seems to be fine. How can I help him overcome this? I've tried changing his food, but he won't eat anything else.
V.O., Neptune City, NJ Dec 13, 2009
Dogs are sometimes misdiagnosed as having an obsessive/compulsive disorder when they periodically lick carpets, other materials and themselves with considerable intensity and duration. But the anxiety may be related to pain, as with an inflamed tooth or nausea. In order to relieve such symptoms, dogs will also chew and swallow various materials, from carpet edging to grass and leaves. I receive many such letters from dog (and cat) owners who feed their animals a similar diet. As I have documented with two other veterinarians in our book "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Foods," the ingredients and additives in many of the major brands of pet food are associated with many health problems. Often, a change to a whole-food diet makes these problems go away. Transition your dog onto my home-prepared recipe available at my Web site and in my newsletter. Check your local health store for alternative dog foods -- dry and canned. Organically certified is the best. Some of the brands listed at my Web site include Natura's Evo and Karma, PetGuard, Wellness, Castor and Pollux, and Monzies.
Because of Dr. Fox’s schedule, he cannot accept nor respond to e-mails concerning
pet health and behavioral problems. You may find answers in his
Archives section and in his
Special Reports. If you have a
pet emergency, please contact your nearest veterinary hospital or clinic.