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Why Does Your Dog Chew On Rocks?

Why Does My Dog Chew On Rocks?

Disclaimer: Our content is always reviewed and approved by a professional veterinarian. However, we recommend always reaching out to your dog's vet for any advice regarding your pup.

We adore our furry besties for all sorts of reasons: the way they light up when we come home, how they understand our feelings, and evening cuddles. We even learn to love their quirky, unique, and sometimes downright questionable mannerisms and behaviors!

However, some behaviors are not only alarming as owners, but can be quite dangerous – this includes chewing rocks.

First and foremost, your dog is not the only dog in the world to nibble or even dine on rocks. There are plenty of dogs who do it, and it’s more common than you may think!

So, stay tuned because we’ll be going over why your dog feels the need to chew on rocks and what you should do in case he swallows one.

Why Do Dogs Chew on Rocks?

This is a long-debated issue, and there are quite a few reasons your furry best friend may be feasting on rocks.

Let’s see what these are.

1. Pica

Your pup could have a medical condition known as “Pica.”

Pica is a condition where dogs, usually adolescents or adults in age, indulge in unordinary items like paper, sand, dirt, garbage, and – you guessed it – rocks.

Although Pica is more a psychological issue than a health-related one, the fact is that a dog’s unusual eating habits can often lead to medical issues. These include digestive blockages, vomiting, malnutrition, poison, and other issues.

2. Behavioral Problems

This could be another answer.

Factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, boredom, or/and attention-seeking could lead your dog to chew rocks.

This might happen because your pup could be lacking stimulation or be struggling with separation anxiety and acting out as a result.

3. Medical Issues

Dogs living with undiagnosed medical issues such as parasites, diabetes, worms, or tumors may also turn to rocks.

4. Teething

Teething puppies might find some temporary relief in chomping down on pebbles.

Usually chewing on something hard helps to ease the pain. This is why raw carrots are a great snack for teething puppies!

5. Curiosity

Dogs are curious animals by nature, but they are even more so when they’re puppies.

So, this behavior could be justified by something as “simple” as a curious dog navigating a world full of exciting smells, sights, and sounds.

How Dangerous is it for Your Dog to Chew on Rocks?

Your dog chewing rocks should be given immediate attention. Chewing on rocks, regardless of the size, can lead to serious issues for your canine companion.

That’s because rocks can break and damage teeth or inflame and cut gums. Swallowing a rock can also lead to intestinal blockage, vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation. Chocking is another concern, with the rock getting lodged in the throat.

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing on Rocks

The good news: there are plenty of steps that you can take to help your dog break this habit.

The first thing to do is determine the specific reason your furry friend is chomping on rocks.

You should visit your veterinarian, who can run tests to determine if it’s due to an undiagnosed ailment, parasite, or nutritional deficiency. If it is, they’ll create a unique treatment plan for your pup to help fix the problem.

If it is down to a behavioral issue, here are some helpful tips:

1. Basic Command Training

You should teach your dog commands like “leave it,” when they approach rocks, and “drop it,” should they put it into their mouths.

Always remain calm but assertive when training. If you’re struggling, consider involving a certified dog trainer.

2. Manage The Rocks in His Life

This might seem tedious if you’re a vivacious landscaper but, removing rocks (obvious and not) around your home is important management.

If you don’t have the resources to remove the rocks, block your dog’s access to them.

3. Monitor Your Dog

Whenever your dog goes outside, monitor them closely to ensure no rocks are chewed or eaten. This may mean keeping them leashed.

4. Bond With Your Pup:

Is your dog eating rocks as a desperate cry for attention? Bond with them through regular, special outings. Ensure you’re carving out time each day to be together.

5. Muzzle

Muzzles often get a bad rap as they tend to be associated with violent dogs. On the other hand, they can be useful in preventing your dog from eating unsavory items.

If you get funny looks, remember that you’re protecting your dog’s well-being.

6. Stimulate Your Creative Canine:

Dogs are highly intelligent animals that require high levels of not only physical stimulation but mental, too.

They love a challenge! So, be sure to switch up their toys and introduce new ones. You can also opt for a puzzle toy or teach them new tricks.

Also, be sure to limit their alone time. If your work schedule has recently changed, investigate local dog walkers or doggy daycares that can not only entertain but look after your pup.

Now, once the reason your dog is acting this way is determined, you can start to build a plan. If you live with others, talk to them about the rock issue and the plan you’ve designed, so everyone is on board and can be consistent with your dog.

Every canine is one-of-a-kind with a sweet personality and set of skills, but it’s imperative to take a kind and patient approach to fixing the problem. Like anything, it won’t stop overnight and will need to be worked at routinely.

What To Do If Your Dog Swallows a Rock

If your dog does swallow a rock, the first two hours are critical.

There are three main outcomes: the rock will be removed by vomit, via stool, or it could obstruct their intestines.

The most common symptom of swallowed rocks is vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal swelling, pain, diarrhea and constipation. If you suspect your dog might have swallowed a rock, keep an eye out for these symptoms. If you notice any of them, get your furry friend to the vet ASAP.

If you actually see your pup swallow a rock, get your vet on the line right away. They might offer tips, such as instructions to induce vomiting – which should only be done if you feel comfortable – or they’ll tell you to bring your dog in for a visit.

It’s important to note that if left untreated, rocks can lead to the intestinal obstruction which can stop blood flow to surrounding tissues and can, sadly, be fatal.

Your veterinarian will exam your dog, then will perform an x-ray, ultrasound, or an endoscopy to determine the size of the rock and its position. Your vet will also likely administer fluids to prevent dehydration and may provide other medication to lessen nausea.

Once the necessary exams have been done, the vet may decide to let your pup pass the rock naturally or, if it’s determined that the rock has been lodged for too long, your dog will need to undergo surgery.

This is never the news we want as owners, but it’s important to be prepared for this possible outcome.

Following surgery, the vet will offer instructions on how to care for your dog. Your dog will need to rest and recover, so walks, runs, and being active should be kept to a minimum.

Closing Thoughts

The best way to keep your dog away from chewing – or even eating – rocks is to train him out of this behavior.

If the problem continues, manage the dog’s access to rocks and ensure they have enough attention, interesting toys, and challenges daily.

Lastly, always consult with your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog starts displaying new or alarming behaviors.

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