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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18142
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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After 9 months of being with us and seemingly settling in exceptionally

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After 9 months of being with us and seemingly settling in exceptionally well, we took our little Pomeranian with us on holiday. We left her for a couple of hours one evening, as we had done many times before, while we went out for a meal. On return a couple of hours later we found she had been eating a towel that we had left on the floor for her to lie on, it was one she lies on in the car and so was something she could relate to. We have recently returned home, she has been with us all day today and seemed quite normal until now, we have just found her chewing and eating a rug in the lounge where her bed has always been. Can you advise what has caused this to suddenly happen and how do we now stop her from doing it? thank you, Tony.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about Petra's new habit of chewing on towels and rugs.
Ideally she would see her veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and a test for pancreatitis called a canine specific pancreatic lipase test. Some dogs exhibit pica (eating or licking/biting non-food items) when they are anemic or sick and we do want to make sure that she is healthy and there is not a physical reason for her behavior. She could be anemic, or suffering from metabolic organ disease or pancreatitis. This can also be a sign of nausea.
At home to try and settle her stomach in case this is related to nausea you can give either:
1)Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 5 kilograms of body weight every 12 hours
2)Prilosec (omeprazole) at dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 2 to 5 kilograms of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and should help her feel less nauseous, and thus less likely to chew/lick on non-food items. These medications are quite safe and can be used long term if they help her feel better.
If she seems at all nauseous you can try offering a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, white rice. If she stops the behavior with the acid reducers and bland diet then try slowly reintroducing her regular diet by mixing it with the bland. If the behavior starts again on her regular diet then perhaps a permanent switch to a low irritant diet is indicated, such as the over the counter sensitive stomach foods made by Hills or Royal Canin or prescription foods like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN.
If she continues this behavior though she should see her veterinarian for diagnostic testing.
In some cases this has nothing to do with a physical problem. Because she is a rescue dogs this may have started as a self comforting behavior because she was in a strange place without you. Some dogs deal with anxiety with this sort of destructive behavior.
Many rescues suffer from separation anxiety as they have already lost at least one family.
 Most dogs would prefer to spend all their time with their very loved family to make sure that they don't disappear.
If she does well in a crate then I would use it while you are gone or she cannot be watched closely. Many dogs see a crate as a den. It's a secure place that they can be while the family is gone. They have learned that if they go in their crate you always come back. But if they are out in the big house alone they just don't know what to do with themselves, get anxious and get into trouble. If you had a camera on most normal dogs while owners are gone you would see they spend most of their time sleeping. They are pack animals and if their pack members are gone then they rest up waiting for their "pack" to come home and play. So don't feel guilty about giving her a place she can feel secure in and rest in. In time as she realizes you always come home then she may be able to be out in the house but for now if her crate gives her security then let her use it.
If however she is tearing up her crate and is very anxious in it then that's not the way to go. You can place her in a small bathroom or tiled area without rugs to chew on.
Ideally while you are working on training her she should only be left for short periods at a time anyway. If you must leave her for longer periods you'll need a friend or dog sitter to come in and check on her, let her out to eliminate and make sure she's OK.
Work on leaving for short periods of time (initially minutes) and always try and make coming and going boring, don't make a huge deal of it as that increases anxiety. Change your routine so that she cannot ramp up her anxiety about your leaving before you've even left. Pick up your car keys and walk around the house. Put on your coat and shoes and walk around the house. Practice her going in and out of her crate and staying there for a few minutes even when you are home.
Give her indestructible play things (like a king ball stuffed with a treat she has to work to get out) to do while she is in the crate so it becomes a positive place.
Leave a radio or TV on for company, initially both while you are home and away so that the noise level is the same, home or not.
Make sure that you ignore her for the first several minutes when you get home. Busy yourself with mail, or putting things away so that coming and going is never a big deal. Once you've been home for a bit then sit down and give her attention.
Some of the OTC products for separation anxiety are safe and effective, but they must be used in conjunction with training. Medication alone almost always fails. Here are some links that may help you:
As far as over the counter medications I do like DAP products (dog appeasement pheromones) which are synthetic analogs of a calming pheromone a bitch produces while nursing. These come in sprays, collars and diffusors.
See this link for information about these products:
See this link for some examples: hop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=_yGDT5KCBIiqiAL7jPn5Ag&sqi=2&ved=0CIgBEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=83ec0cc01db0c140&biw=1249&bih=569
I also like products made by Bach's Rescue Remedy:
These products simply calm her down enough so that she is able to learn. If she is terrified and extremely anxious then she won't learn to comfortably be alone.
If these aren't enough I would discuss medications, such as clonicalm or amitriptyline, with your veterinarian. She is still fairly young and they likely won't need to be forever, just until she learns to trust that you are coming back and it is OK for her to be alone in her safe place.
Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. We do not think there is a physical (Medical) problem as we have had her full bloods done and complete health check carried out when we took charge of her. Her blood ,heart, kidneys etc were all fine and were advised she was in very good health.

Thank you for that information.
Given that this is much more likely to be related to anxiety then. Hopefully some training and building her confidence will get her back on track.
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