The wrong tracks

To the Editor: Gail Fisher’s Dog Tracks column in the Sept. 8 edition of the Sunday News contains several inaccuracies that, left uncorrected, pose a danger to dogs as they misinform dog owners.

Fisher’s first error is to label as pica “eating things that cannot be digested.”

There are two types of pica, better described as the eating of inedibles: food pica and non-food pica. Though Fisher discussed the latter, she ignored the former.

There are a host of foods that are inedible, digestible and dangerous to dogs.

Many are more dangerous than the non-food items.

Pica includes these food inedibles.

Fisher also passes on the old, unsupported notion that pica is often caused by nutritional or other medical problems and thereby infers that when the problem is solved, pica will cease.

This false explanation may cause a lack of care after the illusory problem is solved allowing the pica to recur. Additionally, Fisher suggests that “anti-anxiety” medications may be helpful with pica. There is no evidence that such drugs reduce pica.

By her words, Fisher impeaches her advice. She described her own dog as having three episodes of non-food pica that required three different surgeries. Presumably she had access to nutritional testing and anti-anxiety medication she recommends to readers.

Dogs are scavengers and will eat both edibles and non-edibles.

“Once pica, always pica” is the dictum. Managing the dog’s environment and routinely checking feces is the best method to minimize pica.