Do you have a rock chewing dog? Why do dogs eat rocks? They can’t possibly taste good, but it seems many dogs eat things that couldn’t possible taste good.
Eating rocks or even chewing on them can be very dangerous for your dog. Below I will discuss why dogs eat rocks, the dangers of eating rocks and what you can do to stop the behavior.
Why Do Dogs Eat Rocks
When your dog eats non-food items, it is known as Pica. They could be eating rocks, dirt, gravel or several other items. It isn’t exactly known why dogs eat non-food items, but many experts believe it stems from either nutritional deficiencies or boredom. Whatever the reason is for your dog eating rocks, it needs to be addressed.
It is a more common behavior for puppies in their first 6 months to eat everything that they find because of their curiosities of what is around them, but adult dogs also are known to eat items that they shouldn’t.
The first area I am going to discuss is behavior. There are several areas of behavior that can cause rock eating.
Anxiety – If your dog is suffering from some type of anxiety, they could start eating rocks or other non-food items.
Boredom – Your dog could be bored and needs some type of mental stimulation or more exercise than they are receiving.
Trying to get your attention – If your dog is feeling left out, or if you haven’t been spending enough time with them, they might start to act out by eating rocks so you have to pay attention to them.
Your dog could be eating rocks because there might be an underlying medical problem with your dog.
- Nutritional deficiency – if your dog isn’t getting certain nutrients from their regular diet, they might start looking for these nutrients by eating non-food items.
- Intestinal tract disorders.
- Suffering from calcium, iron or phosphorus deficiency.
- Intestinal tract infection.
- Suffering from bloat. If it is bloat, you need to immediately contact your veterinarian. You can find out more about dog bloat by reading the linked article.
Your best course of action to take if your dog is eating rocks is to check with your veterinarian. They will be able to run tests to see if your dog has nutritional deficiencies and if your dog is deficient, they can recommend the best supplements to give your dog. They can also recommend if you need to change the dog food that you are currently feeding your dog. It might be as simple as a change of food.
If your dog is suffering from an intestinal tract infection, your veterinarian will be able to prescribe an antibiotic to quickly clear up the problem.
Once all medical concerns check out to be okay and if your dog is still eating rocks, you will need to address the behavior issues that could be causing your dog to eat rocks.
Dangers Of Eating Rocks
There are several things that can happen from your dog eating rocks, and none of them are good.
- Sharp edges can cut gums and your dog’s tongue
- Dogs can break their teeth.
- Swallowing rocks can cause vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage or chocking if the rock is large enough.
All of these can result in potential large veterinarian bills, with intestinal blockage or chocking possibly leading to your dog dying.
How To Stop Rock Eating
Because of all the damage that chewing on rocks can do, you really need to address this behavior right away as it is happening. Either by taking your dog to your veterinarian to see if it is medical or a nutritional deficiency, or by figuring out what could be causing the behavior issues.
For behavior issues, make sure your dog is getting enough exercise each and every day and that they are getting plenty of mental simulation as well.
- Teach your dog the “leave it” command.
- Supply your dog with plenty of other items to chew on. It could be toys or some type of chew.
- Redirect their attention to something else like a Frisbee or by playing fetch.
- Give your dog a reward for desirable behavior.
- Keep your dog away from rocks.
Signs That Your Dog Ate A Rock
If your dog has swallowed rocks, you are generally going to see some type of issue. Being a dog owner of a dog who would eat rocks, my dog always had a problem and it would be vomiting. Watch for the following.
- Vomiting. This is the symptom that I would experience every time my dog swallowed rocks. I was lucky this was as bad as it got.
- Lack of eating and drinking. This could be a sign of some type of blockage.
- Lethargy. Not having the same energy level that your dog usually displays.
You should have a better understanding of why dogs eat rocks if you read this article all the way through. Now if you
have a dog that eats rocks, you need to take action to correct this action. If you can’t figure out why your dog is eating rocks, the best place for you to start, is with your veterinarian. They will be able to do tests and help direct you in the right direction.
This is a topic that I have been directly involved in. I had 2 Golden Retrievers that I would take for a walk each and every day. We would pass by rocks on the side of the road the entire walking route. My dogs would always just ignore the rocks on the walk. That was unless someone would stop to talk with me.
My dogs definitely wanted my attention instead of the person I was talking to getting my attention. Each time I would stop and speak with someone, both of my dogs would quickly start picking up rocks and gravel and chew away. This would get my attention, by me trying to get the rocks out of their mouths. They got what they wanted, my attention.
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