Why Is My Dog Eating Rocks?

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Dogs will eat just about anything, which can sometimes be a little scary. And one of the scariest things is to see your dog eating rocks.

So, why do they do this? And more importantly, is it dangerous? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why dogs eat rocks and whether or not it is something you should be worried about.

TL:DR; they eat rocks for a variety of reasons, and mostly of them are negative.


Why do they eat rocks


Well, there could be a few reasons. Some dog experts believe that dogs eat rocks because they are trying to get minerals and nutrients that they are lacking in their diet.

Others believe that dogs eat rocks out of boredom or because they are anxious or stressed.

And still others think that dogs just like the way rocks taste!


Here are the possible reasons that your dog might be eating rocks:


Malnutrition


If your dog is not getting the proper nutrients from his or her diet, he or she may start to eat rocks as a way of supplementing their diet.

For cases of malnutrition, it almost exclusively happens to stray dogs that are starving, abandoned, or otherwise fed a non-nutritious diet.

Poor dogs 🙁


Parasites


Some dog parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms, can cause dogs to eat rocks.

This is because the parasites consume all of the food in the dog's stomach, leaving them feeling hungry and desperate for nutrients.

Or, these parasites actively block any nutrient absorption in your dog, which goes back again to malnutrition and hunger.


Diabetes


In rare cases, dogs that have diabetes and will start to eat rocks as a way of getting sugar.

Again, it ties back to your dog being excessively hungry because of the diabetes - poor carbohydrate storage and excessive thirst.

If you notice that your dog has the above symptoms, you should also consider bringing them to the vet for a checkup.


Stress and anxiety


Some dogs may start to eat rocks as a way of coping with stress and anxiety.

This is often seen in rescue dogs that have been through a lot of trauma in their life, or in dogs that are not getting enough attention from their owners.

If you think this might be the case for your dog, you might need to bring them to a dog behaviorist to see how best you can help them.


Boredom


If your dog is eating rocks and there doesn't seem to be any other explanation, it might just be that they're bored and are looking for something to do.

In this case, you'll need to provide them with more stimulation - whether that means more toys, more walks, or more playtime with you.


Teething


Puppies that are teething may start to chew on rocks as a way of relieving the pain and pressure in their gums.

If you see your puppies (or even adult dogs) just biting the rocks (but not eating them), this may indicate some form of tooth or gum pain.

You may want to bring them to a vet for a checkup.


For puppies that are just teething, you can give them dog-safe chew toys to help them through this phase.



Dangers of letting your dog eat rocks


As we mentioned before, one of the dangers of letting your dog eat rocks is that it can cause digestive problems.

If a dog eats too many rocks, it can lead to an obstruction in their intestines. This can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.

In addition to causing intestinal problems, rock eating can also damage a dog's teeth.

The constant chewing on hard objects can wear down their tooth enamel and cause other dental problems.


So, if your dog is eating rocks, what should you do?

If you're concerned about your dog's rock-eating habit, the best thing to do is talk to your veterinarian about it.

They will be able to give you some tips on how to break the habit and keep their attention and focus on other things.



What to do if your dog has already eaten a rock


If you think your dog has already eaten a rock, it's important to take them to the vet right away.

Eating rocks can cause serious digestive problems and even blockages, so it's best to err on the side of caution.

The vet will be able to assess the situation and give your dog the treatment they need.


Tips to keep your dog from eating rocks


Remember that prevention is better than cure. If you can stop your dog from eating rocks in the first place, it'll save you a lot of worry (and a trip to the vet).

Here are some tips to help you do that:


  • Provide them with a well-rounded diet so they're not tempted to eat rocks out of boredom or hunger.
  • Give them plenty of exercise and mental stimulation so they don't turn to rocks out of boredom or anxiety.
  • Train them using positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding them when they make the right choice (i.e., not eating rocks).


By following these tips, you can help keep your dog safe and healthy.



Conclusion


Whatever the reason, if your dog is eating rocks, it is important to stop the behavior before it causes them further harm.

Eating too many rocks can lead to digestive problems and even blockages. It can also damage their teeth.

If you're worried about your dog's rock-eating habit, talk to your vet about ways to help them kick the habit for good.



about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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