Our dog Peluche eats rocks. Yes, rocks.
We’ve probably all caught our beloved pooch chewing on various strange things. Some of them are straight-up dangerous, while others make us laugh. Peluche has surprised us with innocent things like rolls of toilet paper (apparently, he’s also hamstering) to the power cords of our treadmill and vacuum cleaner. Rocks are just his latest obsession.
Peluche isn’t the only one. Many dogs chew on rocks, even though it could be dangerous for their teeth and digestive systems. Those indestructible and seemingly tasteless pebbles attract them for some reason. So what’s the deal?
There are a few reasons behind this odd rock-chewing habit. Let’s see which category your dog falls into and how you can help.
Reasons why dogs eat rocks 🐶
- Nutritional deficiencies
Your dog might chew and swallow rocks or stones to compensate for lacking certain minerals or components. Rocks seem like an excellent source to get whatever is missing.
Dogs who have been severely underfed and started eating rocks because of it, will often continue to do so even when they are well taken care of. This is the case for Peluche. Spending much of his life on the street in Spain and later in a killing station where dogs are often starved to death, he kept eating rocks although he was rescued and well-fed by the organisation (ACE Charity).
- Intestinal disorder, diabetes or worms
Parasites or gastrointestinal issues could also be why your dog swallows those little rocks. A vet’s input is always welcome if the behaviour is recurrent.
- Psychological or emotional
If there’s a lot of chewing, it could also imply that your dog feels lonely, bored, or anxious. He may just be trying to work out anxiety or frustration. You might think, ‘he’s got all the toys in the world!’, but even then. Dogs are just like us in the sense that they get bored quickly of the things they have.
Pica is a psychological condition that is present in both humans and animals. It causes a compulsive desire to eat non-food items. For dogs, that’s usually rocks or gravel. This condition is often the reason why dogs decide to eat pebbles. It will need to be identified by your vet. A few tips are available on how to deal with it, including acupuncture, acupressure, homeopathy and herbs.
How to stop your dog from eating rocks 🙅🏼♀️
- If your dog chews on things due to emotional distress, figuring out what causes his distress will reveal the solution.
- Ensure your dog can access plenty of chew toys around the house and garden. Try to dedicate some extra time to play with him and exercise more than usual.
- Please make sure that you regularly introduce him to fun, new things! If your dog chews out of loneliness, know that no amount of toys in the world can replace the interaction he needs with you. Try spending some more quality time together, and the behaviour should improve quickly!
- You can permanently remove rocks from your yard, but this might be very tedious, depending on the structure of your garden. Spraying rocks with a pet repellant product or vinegar might help the dog associate rocks with an unpleasant experience, which should decrease their appeal. You might also consider fencing off parts of the garden with many rocks.
- Train your dog the command “let go” by swapping the rocks with toys every time. This way, you positively reinforce your dog to pick toys over pebbles and to stop this nasty habit as quickly as possible.
If your dog chews and swallows rocks, it is of utmost importance to identify the cause and stop the behaviour immediately! You might want to visit the vet for a checkup on the root cause, be it pica, a nutritional deficiency or another underlying medical condition.
This odd behaviour is a sign that something’s up with your dog. Since they can’t talk – or we don’t understand what they’re saying while barking – their habits and actions serve as a means of communication with us. By chewing on rocks, they’re telling us something. As proud dog moms or dads, we must always keep them safe. Eating rocks might hurt your dog, and you shouldn’t wait to act. If it comes to it, replace every rock with a toy and play with your dog, nothing will make him happier! ☺️
Does your dog like to chew on rocks? What could be the reason? Please share your experience with us in the comments!