Why Does My Dog Like Metal Objects: Questions Answered

The dog is licking metal again, and you don’t know what to do about it. Why are dogs so fascinated by metal objects? More importantly, should you worry about this habit? Doggy behavior may seem mysterious to us, but they rarely do anything without reason.

Just because you don’t know what they’re thinking, doesn’t mean it’s random. I was curious about this oddity, so I checked with vets and other dog experts to learn why it happens. It turns out you should be paying very close attention to weird metal licking behaviors.

Why does my dog like metal objects? When your dog likes metal objects a little too much, you should have your vet check for Pica. Canine Pica is often associated with other problems like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Unfortunately, licking and eating non-food objects like metal can harm your dog.

Doggy Behavior Mysteries: Weird Licking

Dogs like many seemingly odd things, metal is just one of the more noticeable doggy fascinations. Unfortunately, Pica and compulsive behavior are not strange casual behaviors you can ignore. If your dog is licking or chewing metal, it could do some severe damage to their body.

Whenever your canine companion starts doing something strange, you should take note. It’s essential to know the difference between a ‘taste test,’ which is typical for dogs, and an unhealthy fascination. The latter can lead to a pattern of bad behavior, or worse.

In addition to Pica, you may need to have your vet check for anemia. Sadly, lead paint is another culprit, and if the metal is painted with this now-illegal paint, you may end up with a very sick pup. Other causes for this bizarre behavior are more benign. It may be that your pooch enjoys the sensation.

Try replacing the desirable metal object with an even better treat. I suggest Chewmaster Organic Turkey Jerky Treats from Amazon. Dogs love the super chewy flavor. Plus, they are organic and made in the USA. You can pick some up when you click here.

Dogs With Pica

When your dog likes metal too much, they lick or chew it, and you can’t distract them, Pica is the most likely culprit. Regrettably, there is no single reason why dogs get this unusual condition. It drives them to try and ingest non-food items. Worse still, it can make them very sick.

Canine bodies need the right foods to stay healthy. Replacing those or supplementing them with dirt, poop, or in this case, metal is not something their stomachs are designed to handle. Intestinal blockages and damage are common.

It’s imperative to see a vet if you suspect your dog has Pica. They will be able to diagnose the condition. Moreover, your doggy health care professional can help you with diet, training, and other adjustments to the pup’s lifestyle that will help you keep your dog away from their strange obsession.

Diagnosing Pika in Dogs

When you go to the vet for a potential Pica problem, they will need to know your dog’s medical history. Additionally, they’ll likely ask about basic common sense things like whether your dog is playing, pooping, eating, and drinking normally. Tell your veterinarian if there are any other symptoms beyond the metal obsession.

Next, the vet will examine your dog the same way they do at a standard physical. Most likely, they’ll listen to the heart and lungs and check your pet’s weight. It’s normal for them to look over the mouth, eyes, ears, coat, and skin.

Palpitating the stomach and checking lymph nodes is also common. Then they may want to order a CBC (complete blood count) and even x-rays to make sure there’s nothing wrong with your dog’s intestines.

What Causes Pica

Metal licking and obsession is just one symptom. Identifying the source can help you and your vet cope with the problem. Although there’s no single cause for Pica, any one of the following things could cause or contribute to your dog’s problem.

  1. Anemia or Dietary Imbalances- Anemia is a dietary imbalance, and can often show in pale skin and gums. If your dog needs more iron or another mineral, metal might smell tasty to them.
  2. Anxiety & Stress- Canines who are worried all the time often take up unusual habits, and a weird love of metal could be a stress-based response.
  3. Medication- Certain meds that your dog may need can cause Pica. Anti-seizure and corticosteroids have both been associated with the condition.
  4. Attention Seeking & Boredom- Sometimes, a pooch needs more stimulation. Pica can be a way for them to alleviate boredom or get your attention.
  5. Depression & Frustration- Dogs can get the blues. Moreover, since they can’t tell us what’s wrong, sometimes their frustration comes out as weird behavior like eating non-foods.
  6. Hookworms- Because these parasites are stealing nutrients your pup needs, they may resort to licking or chewing metal and other things to try and get what they are missing.
  7. Medical Conditions- Any number of medical problems have been linked with Pica. Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), stomach tumors, and Hyperthyroidism are four of the most common.

When dietary imbalance, anemia, or other underlying health concerns are contributing to your pup’s Pica, then a good supplement may help your dog fight the urge to go for that metal. My go-to is VitaPet Adult Daily Vitamins for Dogs from NaturVet. The additional breath-aid is a nice bonus since no one likes stinky doggy breath in their face. Click here to learn more. 

Lead Paint & Your Dog

When the metal your dog likes so much is covered in paint, there might be a serious concern. Although lead paints have been outlawed for a while, there are plenty of places where they still exist. You may even have a layer of lead-paint under your existing coat.

One of the things that makes this particular paint so dangerous, other than the deadly lead content, is the flavor. Evidently, the taste is similar to strawberries, which is part of why so many children and pets ate paint chips.

Most symptoms of lead poisoning in dogs are related to the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. Stomach issues like vomiting and diarrhea may warn you that your dog isn’t obsessed with metal at all. Always take painted metals away from your dog. When you can’t remove the problematic object, find a way to block it off and distract your dog away from it.

An excellent way to deter a dog when you can’t get rid of the metal they like so much is a deterrent. I use PetSafe SSSCAT Spray Pet Deterrent to help keep my dogs away from things in the house I don’t want them to chew. It’s environmentally friendly and safe for your canine companions and other house pets. You can get a bottle from Amazon. Click here for prices and availability.

Doggy Curiosity About Metal

Dogs who seem to like metal may merely be expressing curiosity. As people, we use our vision to explore the world first. However, a canine nose is much stronger than ours, and they study in different ways. It’s normal for animals to taste test new things that we would never put our mouths on.

Even when the behavior seems compulsive, there are times when your pet pooch is just repeating something because it feels nice. The texture may be pleasing, or the coolness could feel good. What’s essential is to redirect the behavior before it becomes a bad habit. Don’t get upset at your dog for being doggy; just show them what you expect from a ‘good dog.’

Training Dogs to Avoid Metal

Sometimes ‘no’ is enough when your dog wants to head for that undesirable metal object. Give commands firmly, and then give your pup something else to do so they don’t need to come back out of boredom.

Choosing anything they can earn a treat for is a great way to redirect. By doing this, your dog will learn that changing an undesirable action into a good one is what you want, and doing so is rewarding. That’s how lessons stick in their head.

For stubborn, curious, or obsessive behavior, proper training makes all the difference. The key to is consistency, not anger. Yelling at a dog, especially if they’re compulsive, could make things worse. Instead, change the pattern. Throw your pooches’ favorite ball or take them outside. Whatever distracts from the piece of metal can be part of the training.

It can be frustrating to monitor your dog all the time if the behavior is extreme, but it’s worth the effort. Try to catch them right away. Every time they start to head toward their metallic obsession, move them in another direction. Give your dog something fun to do.

Your canine’s natural instinct is to listen to the leader of the pack. Getting positive reinforcement from their superior is intensely rewarding. Whether you’re dealing with full-blown OCD and Pica, or a simple case of puppy training, the system is the same.

Final Thoughts

Pica is a serious concern. While some things probably won’t hurt your dog, regularly ingesting non-foods can cause intestinal blockages. In the case of metal, it can cut, and rust is toxic if your pet gets too much.

Always visit your vet if you suspect Pica or anemia are the culprits behind the bizarre behavior. When your dog has other symptoms, it’s vital to get them in right away. However, once you’ve ruled out the dangerous causes, it may be time to work on your dog training.

Remember that your dog explores the world through their sense of smell and taste. One or two licks is hardly a pattern to be concerned about, though it’s always vital to keep an eye on what your pooch is getting into.

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