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Dog Eats Stones: 7 Causes And What You Can Do! (Tips)

In this post you will learn the most common reasons why your dog eats stones and what you can do about it.

Your dog exposes itself to dangers that should not be underestimated if it eats or swallows stones. Of course you want to avoid these dangers.

Now you can find out how to tackle the problem.

In a nutshell: Why do dogs eat stones?

If your dog regularly eats or chews on rocks, this could be a mood problem, as well as a gastrointestinal problem, among other possible causes.

Stone eating is most often a consequence of a number of possible causes. These are often in your hands.

The diet, the upbringing and the workload or occupation of your dog play a major role. Of course, the age of your dog also plays a role.

A puppy usually eats stones for different reasons than an adult dog.

First of all, you should find out the causes of stone eating so that you can wean your dog from eating stones.

7 reasons why your dog eats stones

There are many reasons why your dog chews on rocks and may even choke on them. You can find the most common ones in the following paragraph.

1. Curiosity

This cause is found in puppies in particular. They perceive their environment differently than adult dogs and put everything in their mouths that comes their way. It’s a way of gaining experience. If something bad or uncomfortable happens, the puppy will not repeat it.

So if your puppy puts stones in its mouth, it’s actually normal and part of development. But here is your chance to break the habit of eating stones.

Draw his attention elsewhere and reward him when he lets go of the rock.

2. Gastrointestinal problems

It is said that when dogs eat grass, they do so to vomit and clean their intestines. According to experts, the same applies to stones. Your dog might try to relieve his stomach discomfort in this way.

If your dog’s stone eating is accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, you should consult a veterinarian.

3. Positive reinforcement

If your dog keeps eating rocks over and over again, you may have subconsciously encouraged it yourself.

All your dog wants is your attention. When you caught him with the first stone, you probably asked your dog to let him go and possibly tried to remove the stone from his mouth yourself.

Your dog had your full attention at that moment, more than that, he might even see it as a game. Each additional stone where the scene has played out again has conditioned its behavior. So the situation will continue to repeat itself.

Instead of getting the rock out of his mouth, distract him with another toy, then reward him with a treat when he lets go of the rock.

4. Pica Syndrome

Pica syndrome occurs in both dogs and humans. It is a disease or syndrome that forces the affected person to put all sorts of objects in their mouth and swallow them.

So if your dog eats not only stones, but everything in its environment, this can be a sign of a mental disorder. This should be professionally diagnosed and treated.

5. Tooth growth

At the age of 6 months, the teeth change in dogs to adult dentition. Puppies at this stage tend to bite almost anything. The aim is to train the jaws and alleviate toothache.

If your puppy is chewing on a rock, swap it out for an appropriate teething toy.

6. Loneliness and lack of attention

If your dog doesn’t get enough attention, he’ll try to get your attention. This can also manifest itself in negative behavior.

The mundane reason your dog is eating rocks could be boredom, or it could just be because he wants you to take care of him more.

Don’t try to remove the stone from its mouth. Your dog might take it as a game or a fight.

It’s better to teach your dog verbal commands to let go, but don’t let your voice make him feel angry or impatient.

Tip:

When your dog lets go of the rock, praise and reward him for it. Letting go of stones should be a positive experience for him.

7. Mineral deficiency

A mineral deficiency could be another reason for your dog to eat stones. This behavior is also observed in many other animal species, including humans. In technical terms, this is referred to as geophagy.

In this case, your dog’s diet must be changed or adjusted. It is helpful to consult a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.

Is it dangerous if my dog ​​eats stones?

  • If your dog picks up small pebbles, which can happen quickly, for example when picking up a treat, it is usually harmless. The small stones are excreted naturally. However, you should watch your dog.
  • It becomes more problematic with stones from marble size. Ingested stones can lead to partial or complete intestinal obstruction. This manifests itself in the form of diarrhea, abdominal pain, dehydration and even lethargy.
  • Stones often have sharp edges. Your dog could suffer internal injuries, such as a stomach perforation, from swallowing. Symptoms are similar to intestinal obstruction.
    Even just chewing the stone can be dangerous. Chewing stones causes excessive wear on teeth. In the worst case, a tooth can break off.
  • Broken teeth not only interfere with your dog’s biting and feeding habits, they also encourage bacterial infections that can severely affect your dog’s general health.

When should I contact a vet?

You should definitely go to the vet if:

  • Your dog has significant damage to its teeth or a broken tooth;
  • You suspect an intestinal obstruction;
  • If you suspect a behavioral disorder such as pica syndrome;
  • You notice deficiency symptoms and need help with changing your diet;
  • Your dog appears lethargic and unhealthy for longer.

What can I do about rock eating?

A balanced diet tailored to your dog makes a big difference. Of course, the dog psyche must not be neglected either.

Make sure that you spend enough time with your dog and that you keep him busy and challenged.

How can stone eating be prevented?

Training your dog is very important. Make sure this isn’t counterproductive. Your dog wants attention. Work with verbal commands, treats, and distractions.

Don’t get involved in trying to take the stone out of your dog’s mouth so that it becomes a game or even a ritual.

Conclusion

When dogs eat rocks, sometimes it’s because of their diet, sometimes because of your dog’s mood, and often because of your relationship with your dog.

There are many things you can do yourself to prevent this from happening in the future, but it is often very helpful to have a third party, be it a dog nutritionist, dog trainer or veterinarian.

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