Why Do Dogs Lick Metal Objects – The Truth

There’s a wide range of reasons why dogs lick metal objects, depending on the breed, age, and health of your furry friend. As long as your dog is taking in plenty of fluids, behaving normally, and eating a healthy diet, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if this behavior persists, consult a professional veterinarian. Based on research, a dog that licks metal objects regularly might have an obsessive disorder or underlying medical condition.

The following is a list of the most common reasons that dogs may lick metal objects.

Why Do Dogs Lick Metal Objects
Why Do Dogs Lick Metal Objects

Nutritional Deficiencies

Dogs can get their dietary requirements from organic materials and not metal objects. This is because metal isn’t a source of nutrition for a furry friend. However, your dog may try to get insufficient nutrients from licking objects, including metal objects. There’s an array of nutrients that your dog will need to thrive:

– Magnesium

– Potassium

– Copper

– Zinc

– Calcium

– Phosphorous

– Iron

– Sodium

Lack of these nutrients can deteriorate the health of your furry friend. Some of these nutrients are essential, while others are trace elements, such as zinc and iron. Dogs don’t need a lot of trace elements to thrive. Also, lack of these elements can lead to a nutritional deficiency. For instance, a dog may suffer from anemia as a result of lack of iron in the body. Anemia in dogs comes as a result of malfunctioning organs and blood loss. Nutritional deficiencies are among the main reason why your dog licks objects, including metal, radiators, and concrete. At some point, your dog might be struggling with a medical condition. Therefore, you should take your dog to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment options. In addition, consider feeding your dog a nutritious diet.

Dog Licking Metal
Dog Licking Metal

Compulsive Disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder might be the primary reason your dog licks metal objects. Mentally disturbed and anxious dogs are prone to compulsive behavior. Also, boredom and trauma may cause this problem. This behavior won’t go away. Therefore, the best approach to this situation is to consult a reliable vet. This is because an obsessive-compulsive disorder may affect the ability of your dog to function.


As previously mentioned, metal objects don’t offer your dog nutritional value. Therefore, pica can be the reason why your furry friend is obsessively licking metal objects. Based on science, pica is a medical condition that can occur as a result of various reasons. If you notice that your dog is eating unhealthy substances or licking none nutritional things, such as metal objects, consult your vet for diagnosis. A professional veterinarian will ask about your dog’s medical history and abnormal behavior before examining your canine companion. In addition, a professional vet will carry out a blood test to determine whether your dog is suffering from other health issues.

Causes of Pica in Dogs

Causes of pica can be broken down into either medical issues or psychological issues. Based on research, psychological issues may require behavior modification. On the other hand, medical conditions will require veterinary services. Pica can negatively impact your dog’s health, especially if the metal surfaces contain toxic substances. Below are both medical and psychological issues that can cause pica in dogs:

Medical Conditions

Based on science, some of the medical conditions that can trigger pica in your furry friend include the following:

– Diseases of malabsorption and maldigestion

– Endocrine diseases, including thyroid disease and diabetes

– Parasitic infections like hookworms and tapeworms

– Nutritional imbalances

– Inflammatory bowel disease

– Teething, especially in puppies

In addition, pica can result from neurological issues, anemia, stomach tumors, and liver disease. Dietary imbalances, including anemia, can cause your furry friend to obsess with inorganic, such as metallic-tasting items. In some rare cases, pica in dogs can be an adverse effect of certain medications, including steroids and anti-seizure drugs. Parasites, including hookworms and tapeworms, feed on essential nutrients in the digestive system. This will lead to nutritional deficiency and certain health issues. Your canine companion will start licking metal bars to respond to the underlying nutritional deficiency.

Dog Wearing Bandana

Psychological Issues


There are two distinct causes of depression in dogs: loss of the owner or companion pet. In addition, there are other minor causes of depression, including adding another pet, moving to a new home, change in the dog’s schedule, and a new spouse in the household. If your furry friend is depressed and miserable, he’ll start licking objects like metals. This behavior may come as the result of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Anxiety and Stress

Some signs of a stressed dog are shaking, barking, panting, licking, changes in the ears and eyes, shedding, and changes in body posture. A dog suffering from anxiety and stress will develop a stress-related behavior, such as metal licking. Exercising your canine companion can relieve stress.


A bored dog will develop an attention-seeking behavior, such as gnawing or licking metal surfaces. In addition, boredom in dogs can lead to mischief, hyper greetings, excessive barking, and destructive behavior. There are various ways to cure boredom in dogs, such as getting some exercise, using food puzzles, socializing, enrolling in classes, and putting your dog to work.

Dog Licking Metal Fence
Dog Licking Metal Fence

Symptoms of Pica in Dogs

Depending on the state of the metal object, your dog may be prone to various health issues. For instance, ingested metal objects can cause intestinal blockage, internal ulceration, and gastrointestinal irritation. Below are the common symptoms of pica in dogs:

– Chronic bad breath

– Vomiting

– Dark, tarry stool

– Diarrhea

– Burping

– Loose stool

– Abdominal contraction

– Straining during bowel movement

– Excessive drooling

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pica in Dogs

Your veterinarian will analyze your dog’s medical history. This will help determine your dog’s bowel movement, appetite, diet, activity level, and behavior. Some of the physical examinations that will be carried out include the following:

– Checking eyes for discharge and redness

– Dog’s overall condition, including skin, coat, and weight.

– Palpation of the lymph nodes and the stomach

– Listening to the heartbeat using a stethoscope

– Take a look inside your dog’s mouth and ears

After the physical examination, the veterinarian may opt for urinalysis, complete blood count, and serum biochemistry profile. These tests are essential because they’ll help the vet rule out other underlying medical conditions, including diabetes mellitus, anemia, and thyroid problem. In addition, the veterinarian may recommend x-rays to examine whether the digestive system of your furry friend is blocked. The treatment of pica in dogs depends on whether it’s a result of an underlying medical condition or behavioral disorder. If pica results from a behavioral disorder, a veterinarian will recommend physical activity. On the other hand, if the veterinarian finds an underlying medical condition, he’ll recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your dog.


Dogs learn about objects and their surrounding by using the sense of smell. At some point, your dog may try to determine the edibility of an object. Therefore, if your dog licks a metal object occasionally, it might be a sign of curiosity. You don’t need to worry if your puppy or furry friend licks a metal object a couple of times. In some instances, the dog might develop obsessive-compulsive behavior. Therefore, you should visit a professional veterinarian if your dog starts to lick metal objects regularly.

Lead Paint

Lead paint is prohibited in most areas because it’s highly toxic. Research shows adults exposed to lead paint can suffer from memory loss, headaches, high blood pressure, nausea, constipation, fatigue, and drowsiness. Even though lead paint is illegal, you can find it in most households. According to research, lead paint tastes like strawberries. Therefore, your dog will be attracted by the smell and taste of lead paint. In the long run, your dog can become obsessed with licking metal objects covered by lead paint.

There’s Something on the Metal

This is the most common possibility of why your dog is licking metal surfaces. For instance, spilled food and another pet’s waste are culprits. The dog will lick the metal surface to obtain nutrients or information.

How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Metal

Distract Your Dog

You can distract your dogs by increasing your pet’s playtime and exercise. This approach will drain your dog’s excess energy, thus lowering the possibility of licking metallic objects. In addition, exercise can boost your dog’s health and lower the risk of various health issues.

Consult the Veterinarian

If your furry friend likes to lick metal surfaces, it’s high time you consult your veterinarian. At some point, your dog might be suffering from a nutrient deficiency or other health issues, including pica. The vet will provide calming aids and sedatives to keep your canine companion from obsessive metal licking. The vet will recommend a healthy diet packed with nutrients that’ll boost your dog’s health and overall well-being.

Keep Metals Away

If your dog likes to lick a certain metal, keep it away. In addition, you can block fixed metal objects with furniture. This approach might be simple and easy, but it’s effective.

Make it Unappealing

You can make the metal surface taste awful. In this case, use a substance that isn’t toxic to your dog. For instance, spray bitter apple or lemon juice on the metal surface. The bitter flavor of the apple will keep your dog away from the metal object.


There are various reasons why dogs lick metal objects, including intriguing taste, obsessive-compulsive disorder, health problems, curiosity, and nutritional deficiencies.

Whatever the reason, you should discourage your furry friend from licking metallic surfaces. This is because some surfaces might be contaminated, thus deteriorating your dog’s health. If the behavior persists, consult your vet.

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