Why Do Dogs Chew On Rocks?

Our canine companions chew on a variety of strange objects, but rocks are among the most harmful. Intestinal obstructions, punctured stomachs, and choking can all result from rock eating.

Even though rocks can harm dogs' teeth, gums, and digestive tracts, they frequently chew and swallow them for a variety of reasons. These strategies can help avoid or stop this harmful behavior, allowing your dog to enjoy a healthier life.

Why Do Dogs Consume Rocks?

Rock eating might be caused by a physiological, behavioral, or psychological issue.

When a dog obsessively consumes non-edible objects, it could be due to pica, an eating problem caused by a nutritional shortage in their diet. Other dogs may be suffering from undiscovered medical conditions such as diabetes, parasites or worms, or tumors. Puppies may bite, chew, or swallow rocks to relieve teething pain.

Of course, dogs may gnaw on rocks in order to attract your attention. They could also be worried, irritated, or frustrated.

"They're going to explore their world, and they're like human babies," said Mindy Tusko, owner of Pawsitive Results Training and a dog trainer.

Some dogs and pups are drawn to pebbles out of curiosity, as tasting diverse objects helps them grasp their surroundings. The smell can also play a role in this attraction, as pebbles may have been marked by other animals or may contain food remains.

It's possible that your dog is sick of the same routine, toys, and activities, even if you believe they should be enough.

"Boredom is a big problem," Tusko added. "One of the reasons we find dogs eating rocks is that [they] have nothing else to do."

Dogs require regular mental and physical engagement since they are highly intelligent and require both mental and physical stimulation. Dogs, like children, get bored with their chew toys, so rotate them and introduce new ones.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Eating Rocks?

Basic obedience training is a critical first step in putting a stop to this dangerous behavior. Teaching your dog or puppy two crucial basic instructions, "leave it" and "drop it," provides the foundation for successfully breaking this behavior.

"Those [commands] are extremely useful," Tusko stated. "It could be a life-saving procedure for the dogs."

The "drop it" order teaches dogs how to properly remove rocks from their mouths. The order "leave it" encourages the habit of avoiding eating rocks in the first place.

"Proper training should begin almost immediately after you get the puppy," Tusko says.

When you notice your four-legged companion chewing, urge them to "drop it" in a calm but strong tone. The same applies when you observe them putting their snouts near rocks; simply say "leave it" instead. If you yell and surprise them, they may swallow the rock to get rid of it immediately. Then, as a reward, divert their attention with a toy or a treat. In addition to or instead of treats, you can use physical or verbal praise to reward dogs. Hugs, belly rubs, compliments, and petting confirm that your pet made the right decision.

"Your love and affection is a very high reward for a dog," Tusko explained.

When dogs comprehend these commands, they will be able to ignore or drop pebbles more easily. It will also help you avoid significant health problems and costly surgeries.

In addition to basic training, boosting regular exercise and playtime will help to keep boredom at bay and prevent your dog from rock-eating. Try going on long walks together, or playing fetch or tug-of-war.

Rock-eating can sometimes be interpreted as a cry for attention, so schedule some bonding time with a shared hobby. Because all dogs require both mental and physical stimulation, dog sports such as Agility or Herding can provide beneficial outlets for their energy. Training for a program like Canine Good Citizen (CGC) together will help them grasp fundamental obedience training and give them more of the attention they crave from you. To get started in dog sports or training classes, contact your local AKC club.

If your dogs are with you outside, they may chew on pebbles out of boredom or to attract your attention. Providing them with a chew toy outside can help them pass the time and avoid boredom. Dogs who have a proclivity for eating rocks should be supervised at all times in the backyard or dog park.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Eats Rocks?

Make an appointment with your veterinarian right away if you have a rock-chewer at home. A physical examination by your veterinarian can establish whether your dog has an underlying health condition or nutritional deficiency. If the behavior is caused by a medical problem, your veterinarian can suggest specific foods, medicine, or advice.

Once any medical factors have been ruled out, the focus should shift to resolving behavioral concerns. Try any of the above suggestions, and for obedience classes, consult a dog trainer. If your dog has pica, he or she will need to go through specific training with a professional behaviorist.

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