Heavy Metal

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Dear Barkley,

I’m not sure if this is an issue I should talk to my vet about or not, but I have trouble keeping myself from licking metal. Doesn’t matter if it’s my tag, another dog’s tag, the bars of my kennel or the refrigerator door. Nothing makes me happier and I’m worried it could be the sign of something wrong medically or indicative of bigger trouble down the line. What do you think I should do?

Heavy into Metal,
Melrose Park Malamute

Dear Metal Obsessed Malamute,

Surely it isn’t as bad as you think it could possibly be. Though I would be careful that the behavior isn’t allowed to go on for too long without seeking outside help. I hope your human is aware of this. They’d have to be if you showed them that you have trouble with licking and teething on metal.

This is definitely something you shouldn’t have to struggle with alone.

Typically, in fellow canines, when we have a non-food related obsession with an object, regardless of a material, it can be indicative of compulsive behavior. Then again, it could also be as simple as enjoying the texture and sensation of the metal itself.

Ruling psychology out of the mix, there could be a medical reasoning behind it as well. Fellow dogs with a love for metal could point to instances of intestinal disease, nausea, iron deficiency or acid reflux. As I said before, you shouldn’t have to face this alone, especially if it persists for as long as you’ve mentioned.

If you and your owner are able to rule out the possibility of a medical disorder, then it is simply a matter of working to correct the behavior. This is something your human will have to work out with you – rewarding good, redirected behavior and helping you through the moments when you can’t resist that sweet, sweet metal.

As always, if you and your owner are able to get the matter addressed, it should be smooth sailing and, metal or not, that’s music to my ears!

Paws and Kisses,
Barkley

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