Friend's Lhasa Apso/ShihTzu Has A Pica For Metal Objects. What To Do?

I was just talking to a nurse friend of mine and she brought up the fact that her dog “Sugar” craves the taste of metal and the vet told her that this is common among those breeds.

Well she has spent quite a bit of money on surgeries and would like to know what can be done to keep the little dog from eating pins, metal buttons, saftey pins, etc. (she tries to keep these objects out of the dog’s reach, but the little critter always seems to find something metal and swallows it down.)

I told my friend I would post the question here, and see what y’all come up with.

Appreciate your help!


A pica? What’s that? A craving?

That is correct. Pica is otherwise known as a craving.


I wonder if it’d be possible to make a “metal lick”, sort of like a salt lick. Just a piece of metal too big to swallow, but mounted to something at dog-level so it can lick it.

I have no idea if there any dangers to doing this, like the dog busting its teeth trying to chew an edge or something.

AndrewT, have a look at the definition of pica[sup]2[/sup].

I was hoping to draw in some Lhasa/ShihTzu owners to see if they had noticed this trait. Did a search, but found nothing.

Revtim, we were kicking the idea around at work, and were wondering if there might be a very fine metal dust that would pass through the intestines if sprinkled on dog food. We didn’t consider your idea, but it sounds feasible.

Do we have any vets in the Dope?



I suggest a muzzle, a crate, keeping metal objects (and whatever the dog might turn to next) locked the heck up.

Shih Tzu are very often about as bright as the dust bunnies they resemble. The odds of teaching one something like, like don’t eat the jagged, rusty metal shards, are low.

Seriously, I have know a few ritzy and expensive Lhasas with a lick or two sense, but Shih Tzu are one of the few breeds that I would discourage a first-time dog owner from trying.

Your friend has one now, and has a problem, and I seriously think really good police/babysitting work is the only way to keep this little guy or gal from getting into more trouble.

Yeah, you certainly want to hear from a vet before implementing the metal-lick or metal dust ideas.

Re: metal dust, it’s my understanding that breakfast cereals are iron-fortified with iron dust. If this is true, then maybe your idea of dust might actually be dangerous; the dust might be absorbed into the animal’s system.

Again, I’m not a vet or a doc or anything like that, so I may be very wrong in my speculations.

I’m so happy that I don’t have to use the word chthonophagia any more. Thanks.

She could give it a magnetic collar. That way anytime it got close to a loose metal object, it would just slam up against it’s neck, safely out of reach.

Course, upon reflection, the poor thing might be walking around looking like a ferrous Christmas wreath if left unattended for too long.

Also, the poor thing would be used as a fridge magnet by the kids.

You guys are some baaaaaad sumbitches. :smiley: I know I’m not supposed to be laughing, but my God, what word-pictures y’all do paint!

I was gonna print all this out and show it to my friend, but I guess I better do some heavy-duty editing first, huh?:smiley:

Gah-Damn! :D:D:D