If you have a dog, you have probably had to deal with unwanted chewing. Dogs chew on a vast number of strange things, some of which are dangerous and some of which are just odd. If you are one of the owners whose dog seems to favor rocks or pebbles as chew toys, you might wonder what on earth could possess your canine companion to make that choice. Rocks are neither comfortable nor tasty, so what is the appeal? And is your dog the only one who does this?
Before this happens, make an appointment with a veterinarian who can perform the tests necessary to determine whether your dog has a nutritional deficiency or other underlying medical condition.
What does it mean when a dog chews on rocks?
The most common reason your dog might be eating rocks is a medical condition called Pica. The classic signs of pica are eating non-food items. … Stress or anxiety in your dog may manifest into your dog eating rocks. Your dog might be seeking your attention when he puts rocks in his mouth or he could be anxious or bored.
What deficiency causes dogs to eat rocks?
Anemia (low RBC) ….Gastrointestinal Problems. ….Behavioral Issues. ….Starvation or Abuse.
Why is my dog obsessed with rocks?
Another possible reason dogs eat rocks is due to an enzyme or iron deficiency or even worms-yuck! Other reasons include boredom and loneliness. … Dogs also like that they can roll rocks and Pebbles may bring them in your house because she views stones and toys as a way for her interact with her owner.
How do I get my dog to stop chewing stones?
Try to avoid giving him attention (like shouting or pulling him away) when he eats stones, but just ignore it and walk away. You can also try to distract him by tossing him a chewy toy.
All the delicious food and treats you buy for your dog and he goes outside and eats rocks! What is that all about? Why do some dogs like rocks so much? We explore some common reasons why dogs eat rocks, risks associated with eating rocks and finally how to stop your dog from eating rocks. This will help you get to the root of why your dog is engaging in this strange behavior and how to help them stop.
In addition to rocks, dogs with Pica might also eat dirt, trash, plastic, metal or articles of clothing like socks. Finally, if your pet doesnt have Pica or a behavioral issue, they may be eating rocks due to a nutritional deficiency or a parasite.
Intestinal blockages prevent dogs from getting adequate nutrition and can cause your pet to vomit or become lethargic. Use behavior modification Offer your dog an alternative like a favorite treat or a tug toy for dropping the rock. This could include adding nutritional supplements to your pups food and/or medication to treat any parasitic infection.
Offer opportunities for exercise and mental stimulation Once you have ruled out nutritional deficiencies or infection and have determined that your dog is eating rocks due to a behavioral issue, youll want to make sure that your dog is getting ample exercise and mental stimulation.
Dogs rarely hesitate to taste anything that looks vaguely interesting. Whether they are sifting for treats in your cats litter box or sampling some two-day old garbage at the bottom of the trash can, theyre always popping one thing or another in their mouth.
This in turn, means that if they dont pass through your dogs system, theyll likely remain in his digestive tract for a long time. Dogs who eat rocks and other non-food items are said to exhibit pica a condition that has been documented in a variety of breeds, ages and both sexes.
However, there is one important difference: Pica only involves the eating of inanimate objects that have no nutritional value, such as rocks, sticks , plastic or car keys. If your dog is experiencing mental or emotional stress because she is under stimulated or deficient in vitamin snuggle, she may try to eat rocks in an effort to get more attention or as a form of acting out. Fear and anxiety (which are closely related emotions) can cause animals and people alike to do strange things, including eating rocks.
There are a number of different causes for the condition, and it can take some considerable detective work (often in conjunction with your vet or a certified trainer) to find a solution. First of all, its important to have your vet take stock of the current situation your dog may already have rocks in her digestive tract, blocking up the flow. Your vet will likely take a detailed history, including your dogs diet and general behavior, and have blood samples tested.
It is not uncommon for dogs to eat rocks. It is more common in puppies who, just like babies, are more oral, and therefore like to stick things in their mouths as a form of exploration. As puppies grow, they eventually grow bored of this behavior as they become more interested in other things such as pee mail, rabbit poop and tasty blades of grass to forage.
They may have to do x-rays, run exams with contrast and potentially even do surgery to ensure the safe removal of any foreign bodies inside your pup. Chewing on rocks and other very hard objects can wear down and even break off a dog’s teeth, sometimes requiring dental surgery.
If you find they are doing it on a repetitive basis or they express some compulsion to chew rocks, youll want to seek out some help from your veterinarian as it could be transitioning from idle boredom to a more complex disorder. Young dogs dont know any better when it comes to engaging in behaviors you find unsuitable for your pooch. Like a baby puts everything in their mouth to learn what it is and whether its food or a toy, puppies will go through an oral stage which is much the same.
Typically, dogs will grow out of this phase as they develop and find other more fascinating things to chomp on. Although we feed them kibble from bags and let the wear collars studded with rhinestones, dogs remain animals with strong instincts to hunt, chase and explore as part of their prey drive. If your pooch is no longer a puppy and they are sufficiently mentally and physically engaged throughout the day, but they are still chewing and eating rocks, pebbles or gravel, they may be trying to soothe one of several disorders.
This can range from rocks to all sorts of other items you dont want your pup to eat (or humans for that matter). If you suspect that this may be the case for your pup, make an appointment with your vet to break this bad habit. Signs of a dog’s intestinal blockage consist of lethargy, lack of appetite, vomiting and/or abdominal pain.
Lets do a quick recap of some of the main causes for rock-eating and some tips on how to help ensure your pup doesnt go foraging for inanimate objects. If you have a very young puppy, eating and chewing on rocks is part of their development as they use their mouths to learn about the world. If your pup isnt properly stimulated and engaged both mentally and physically throughout the day, they may be more prone to chewing rocks.
Keep an eye on your fur baby if you notice are eating rocks and they havent vomited it back up or pooped it out relatively soon after ingesting it. It may be that the rock has become stuck in their intestinal tract and needs medical assistance to remove it and ensure there is as little lasting damage to your pooch as possible. If you have to leave your dog unattended for long periods of time, make sure they are in an enclosed space without access to rocks or other items youd prefer they not eat to curb that behavior.
While training your pup generally, you can teach them commands such as drop it or leave it to make sure they dont pick up or keep unwanted items. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. They had to make sure the yard was rock free and when going for a walk they always gave him a tennis ball to hold in his mouth.
If you have a dog, you have probably had to deal with unwanted chewing. Dogs chew on a vast number of strange things, some of which are dangerous and some of which are just odd. If you are one of the owners whose dog seems to favor rocks or pebbles as chew toys, you might wonder what on earth could possess your canine companion to make that choice. Rocks are neither comfortable nor tasty, so what is the appeal? And is your dog the only one who does this?The answer to the second question is a definite no. Plenty of dogs chew rocks, despite the fact htat it is dangerous for their teeth and digestive systems. So why is it so popular? Like many strange canine behaviors, the reason depends on the dog.
The Root of the Behavior
As the owner of a rock-chewer, you can start by finding out whether your dog is chewing rocks for the purpose of eating them. If so, the dog may have a psychological condition known as pica. Present in both animals and humans, pica causes a compulsive desire to eat non-food items. In dogs, the item of choice is often rocks or gravel. Although pica is the most common cause of rock-eating in dogs, it is not the only medical explanation. Some dogs chew and swallow rocks or stones because they have nutritional deficiencies, and their bodies identify rocks as a good source of whatever is missing. Others have an intestinal disorder, diabetes, or worms. If your dog is not eating rocks but simply chewing on them, however, the reason is almost certainly psychological or emotional. The dog may be trying to work out anxiety or frustration, although it is also possible that he or she is simply bored. Many dogs start chewing on rocks because they have a compulsion to chew something, yet they lack the right chew toys.You may be looking around your house and scoffing at the very idea that your dog doesn’t have enough to chew on, but remember that dogs get bored with toys just like human children do. They need new and different toys once in a while to hold their interest. Toys are no substitute for human attention, however. Your dog may have plenty of toys and still seem to favor rocks, not because the dog prefers the taste and texture of them, but because chewing on them gets a rise out of you. The chewing process may have its own benefits in this case, but mostly because chewing works out the bad feelings associated with loneliness. The root problem would still be that your dog misses you and needs some quality time.
Encouraging the Behavior
If there is an emotional reason behind your dog’s rock-chewing, figuring it out may correct the behavior. Start by spending some extra play time with your dog during the day, and make sure he or she has plenty of chew toys. Keep some in reserve as well, so that you can rotate them. Many dog owners choose to address the rock-chewing issue by removing rocks and stones from their yards. This may work for you and your dog if you are able to find them all, but smaller pebbles may be harder to remove. You can spray any remaining rocks with vinegar or a pet repellant product, but you will want to be thorough enough that all of the stones in the yard are covered with whatever you use. That way, your dog can start to associate rocks with unpleasant experiences. You may also find it useful to fence off a rock-free area in your yard, where your dog can play without putting himself or herself in danger.In the meantime, work on the “no” and “leave it” commands with your dog. Practice with other objects and work your way up to rocks, so that you can convince your dog to drop any that he or she may see on a walk. You can also make a point of carrying toys with you and replacing any rocks that your dog may pick up so that your dog comes to understand what is and is not okay to chew. If the dog keeps going for the rocks, though, you may need to try a muzzle.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you do have a rock-eater instead of just a rock-chewer, it is even more important for you to stop the behavior. A dog’s system cannot pass a rock easily, and it can cause a painful and dangerous obstruction. Before this happens, make an appointment with a veterinarian who can perform the tests necessary to determine whether your dog has a nutritional deficiency or other underlying medical condition. Should this prove to be the case, treating the condition itself is likely to eliminate your dog’s desire to self-medicate with rocks. If there is no medical reason why your dog is swallowing rocks, the answer is likely pica. The American Society or the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has confirmed that the compulsive nature of pica means that it will not work itself out and requires special training. There are professional behaviorists that can help.
Why Do Dogs Eat Rocks?
The most common reason your dog might be eating rocks is a medical condition called Pica. The classic signs of pica are eating non-food items. In addition to rocks, dogs with Pica might also eat dirt, trash, plastic, metal or articles of clothing like socks. There is no known cause as to why dogs get Pica, but it is often linked to nutritional deficiencies.Another reason your dog may start eating rocks is that he or she has a behavioral issue. Stress or anxiety in your dog may manifest into your dog eating rocks. Your dog might be seeking your attention when he puts rocks in his mouth or he could be anxious or bored.Finally, if your pet doesn’t have Pica or a behavioral issue, they may be eating rocks due to a nutritional deficiency or a parasite.To get to the root of why your pet is eating rocks, you’ll want to start with a visit to your vet. He or she can do an exam and run diagnostic tests to check for nutritional deficiencies or parasites. They may also ask some lifestyle questions about your pet to determine if the issue is behavioral.
Why Do Some Dogs Eat Rocks?
Though relatively rare, rock-eating behaviors are well-documented, if poorly understood.Pica is similar to coprophagy, which is the practice of poop-eating. However, there is one important difference:Both behaviors occur for somewhat similar reasons, but there are a ton of these reasons. Some of the most common include:
STEP ONE: Visit your veterinarian promptly.
First of all,After ensuring that she is not full of rocks (or other things) and in immediate danger, your vet can try to determine if any medical conditions are causing the problem. Your vet will likely take a detailed history, including your dog’s diet and general behavior, and have blood samples tested.If your vet discovers anything of note, follow his or her directions to the letter. After doing so, you can come right back here and take up where you left off (you do have K9ofMine.com bookmarked, don’t you?)But in a best-case scenario, your dog will not have any rocks in her belly and she’ll be completely physically healthy. This means that you can move on to step two:
The Indigestible Consequences
It’s never ideal for your pup to be eating rocks, especially if they are disproportionate in size to your dog. A big rock trying to pass through a tiny dog’s tummy is going to cause a lot more issues than a little rock through a big pooch’s digestive tract.If a rock gets stuck somewhere along the dog’s GI tract, they can potentially cause what’s known as a dog blockage requiring often costly surgeries and potentially lengthy recovery times. Left untreated, blockages can cause the dog to stop eating, vomit repeatedly and even die.Now, you might get lucky and your pup will either vomit up the rock or it will pass when they next take a poop. But there is a very real chance the rock may become lodged in your dog’s intestines.This sounds scary and it certainly is not something you should avoid. If your pup hasn’t passed a rock you know they ate within a day or so, get yourself an appointment with your veterinarian. They may have to do x-rays, run exams with contrast and potentially even do surgery to ensure the safe removal of any foreign bodies inside your pup.
Hard on a Dog’s Teeth
On top of the risk for intestinal blockages, you need to consider risks for your dog’s teeth. Chewing on rocks and other very hard objects can wear down and even break off a dog’s teeth, sometimes requiring dental surgery.
Not All Rock Eating is Created Equal
On top of this, not all rock-eating behaviors in dogs are created equal. If you find they are doing it on a repetitive basis or they express some compulsion to chew rocks, you’ll want to seek out some help from your veterinarian as it could be transitioning from idle boredom to a more complex disorder.So a dog eating rocks is something that shouldn’t be underestimated or taken lightly. The best way to deal with this issue is therefore to first find out why a dog is eating rocks in the first place.
Why Does My Dog Eat Rocks?
If you have noticed your pup snuffling around in the grass and coming away with a mouthful of rocks, rest assured, you’re not alone. Now, while we aren’t puppy mind readers, we can at least deduce some of the reasons behind these quirky behaviors by studying our pooches’ body language and other behaviors to get an idea into why your puppy or dog may be engaging this activity. So let’s take a closer look as to why rocks draw your dog to them like magnets.
The Puppy Inquisitive Stage
Young dogs don’t know any better when it comes to engaging in behaviors you find unsuitable for your pooch. They haven’t been around long enough to learn the ropes and understand what’s expected of them. And, if they are especially young, they are just learning about the world.Like a baby puts everything in their mouth to learn what it is and whether it’s food or a toy, puppies will go through an “oral” stage which is much the same.You’ll therefore notice them carrying around rocks and other small items and chewing on them to learn. Typically, dogs will grow out of this phase as they develop and find other more fascinating things to chomp on.
A Matter of Texture
Most dogs are attracted to rocks because they simply like the texture and feel of them in their mouths. These dogs enjoy the act of chewing on rocks and feeling the clicking of rocks against their teeth. Sort of like some people like to crunch on ice. Rock-eating in dogs, therefore, is a very tactile activity.
Relief From Boring Times
Dogs are active creatures by nature and breeding (after all, depending on your dog’s breed, they may have been conditioned to hunt, guard or herd), so when they don’t get a lot of mental and physical stimulation, they feel compelled to engage in behaviors you may not want.One of those activities, of course, can be chewing rocks. Now, not all dogs will progress to swallowing them, but as explained, many dogs enjoy the feeling of the rocks grinding against their teeth and so they’ll grab a rock to chew whenever they can.
A Natural Instinct
Dogs, although domesticated, often carry out behaviors that are reminiscent of their ancestral past. Although we feed them kibble from bags and let the wear collars studded with rhinestones, dogs remain animals with strong instincts to hunt, chase and explore as part of their prey drive.
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Rock chewing in particular stems from the”consummatory” phase of predatory behavior, points out Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman in the book: “
A Matter of Pica
If your pooch is no longer a puppy and they are sufficiently mentally and physically engaged throughout the day, but they are still chewing and eating rocks, pebbles or gravel, they may be trying to soothe one of several disorders.One of them is a condition called Pica. This condition, which also exists in humans, by the way, drives the behavior of eating non-food items. This can range from rocks to all sorts of other items you don’t want your pup to eat (or humans for that matter).If you suspect that this may be the case for your pup, make an appointment with your vet to break this bad habit. Your pup may be trying to supplement their iron intake by eating rocks if they have an underlining deficiency in their diet.
Other Medical Problems
Just as some dogs eat grass frantically, some dogs may try to ingest rocks to soothe stomach pain caused by a whole host of conditions from parasites to colitis to inflammatory bowel syndrome. So once again, a vet visit would be important to rule out this possibility.