Dogs are generally known as smart creatures that are very curious about their environment and will learn quickly how to figure out how everything works. However, when it comes to eating rocks, dogs are not so well known for their sharpness.
My Dog Is Eating Rocks — It’s Fine, Right? (Or Not?)
It’s not unusual to find a dog with a rock in its mouth. After all, it’s a good way to get a dog to hold its mouth a bit open, which can be highly enticing to a dog that wants to chew.
But why do they do this? Some say it’s a bored and playful activity, and others say it’s a way to get a little more exercise, while others say it’s because they can’t get a taste of the rock if it’s inside their mouth. But the answer might have something to do with what they lack in their diet.
The dog’s gastrointestinal tract is a marvel of engineering, allowing it to process a wide range of foods with a specially adapted stomach, the ability to regurgitate food to get snatches of food on the ground, and the ability to lap water to wash off food that is stuck in their teeth and mouth.
However, despite the ability to process a wide range of habitat-appropriate foods, some foods are not fittest for consumption and should not be ingested — like rocks.
Reasons Behind Dog’s Rocky Appetite
Dogs like to play with things that are interesting to them. When they find something interesting, they will keep it in their mouth. If it’s a stone, they will swallow it — which is, mind you, bad for them. Here are the following reasons why dogs are eating rocks:
1. Your dog must be lonely.
One of the most common reasons why dogs eat rocks is because it’s part of their play. However, a new study has found that this is a secondary reason why dogs go on long foraging trips for rocks, and the primary reason for this is loneliness.
It’s true that for some dogs, eating rocks is their go-to behavior when they are feeling lonely or bored. This habit can be a hard habit to break since it’s easy to get into the habit of putting a rock in your pocket or throwing a rock to keep yourself occupied. Many dogs will be fine if they are rewarded for their rock-eating habit with some extra attention from their owner.
2. Boredom strikes.
Dogs get bored easily, especially if they are left home alone without a job to do because there is no walk, no play, and no human interaction. But you shouldn’t give up hope on your pet and try to find a way to cure his boredom.
Your dog may eat rocks to alleviate boredom, or she may eat rocks because she is trying to get rid of the extra calories to gain more energy for a fun day of romping in the park. Either way, it is not a good idea to leave rocks lying about your yard.
3. Your dog may have been thinking about it’s for their tooth health.
There are many reasons dogs eat rocks, but one of the most important is keeping their teeth clean and free of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance that forms on teeth that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, as we all know. That may be a smart way to think from our dogs, but still, a rock is a rock — it shouldn’t be eaten.
4. Your dog might have bloat.
Bloat is a very common condition among dogs, and the most common cause is swallowing food or fluid lodged in their esophagus.
It can suddenly happen to a dog that is eating normally, even if no symptoms are present. Another cause is eating a lot of food at once. Dogs may also eat rocks to get rid of the heat.
5. It must be in pain or is ill.
Many people love their pets, and many of those pets love to chew on things. But why do dogs chew rocks? It’s not because they enjoy crushing rocks, but because a rock may be a good choice for a dog who doesn’t feel well or is in pain.
As a pet parent, you naturally care for and worry about your dog. You want to ensure that he is as healthy and happy as possible and that there are no underlying health issues that would prevent him from living a long and healthy life.
6. It is because of diabetes mellitus.
There are many reasons dogs eat rocks and stones, and one of them is their sugar cravings. Most dogs do not have diabetes mellitus, but they could develop it if they are not given the right diet and care.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease that affects how your body processes sugar, which can cause a lot of health issues.
7. It has PICA.
Pica (“pye-ka”) is a disorder that causes a dog to compulsively eat non-edible objects such as dirt, paper, plastic, rocks, and paint.
Although it’s a fairly uncommon occurrence, it is a serious medical condition that can lead to the death of your pup if not treated. The good news is that it’s not as mysterious as it may seem, and some simple tests can help determine whether your dog has Pica.
8. Your dog has an upset stomach.
Gastroenteritis causes dogs to eat rocks and other objects. Gastroenteritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the stomach, intestines, and/or pancreas.
This inflammation can be caused by a bacterial infection, parasites, or a virus. Regardless of the cause, symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain.
9. It got some wiggly worm friends in its stomach.
The most common dog-related health issue is worms — and it’s not just an unpleasant irritation. Worms can cause physical problems, such as anemia and an increased risk of cancer and heart disease.
10. You dog must be having enzyme deficiency.
A common misconception about dogs is that they must have some obsession with rocks and other hard objects. The truth is, they may have a fascination for rocks. But it is not because of a behavioral problem. It is because of a nutrient deficiency that affects their metabolism.
Why dogs eat rocks is a very common problem for dog owners, it is not just about their desire to eat rocks but also their health. As the fur parent, you need to ensure that your dog is in good shape and health.
How to Deal with This Rocky Situation
Dog owners know that their pets like to eat rocks. Some think that it is because they are bored, while others say it is because they are looking for a snack. However, there are times when dogs do eat rocks.
Food allergies, mental disorders, and medical conditions can make dogs eat non-edible items. That is why it is up to us fur parents to seek solutions to this rock problem for our furbaby.
Here are few tips that will help you to deal with this rock-eating behavior:
- Invest in a chew toy. While there are many reasons why dogs chew rocks, the most common reason is that they need some stimulation. Chewing is normal for dogs, but if you don’t want your pet to gnaw on rocks, you should discourage them from doing so. The best way to do it is by timing your pet’s meal, giving them only a bit at a time. You can also try chewing with your dog or getting a toy to entertain your pet.
- Your dogs need to be trained. It’s no secret that dogs love rocks. They will go to great lengths to get to one, which can lead to them eating them. To avoid this, you can prevent your dog from eating rocks by being strict about house training.
- Encourage your dog to exercise. You can encourage your dog to exercise with you and toys like balls on walks or games in a dog-friendly park.
- Take it to the vet. If your dog is eating rocks, you need to have it examined by a veterinarian. If the dog is eating rocks, it is likely suffering from an underlying medical condition. For example, if your dog is eating rocks and is not showing any signs of illness, it may be suffering from boredom. Rocks in the environment can be dangerous for your dog. They can get lodged in the throat or intestines, choking or injuring it. Rocks can also cause gastrointestinal problems. So if your dog is eating rocks, you need to take it to a vet.
This piece will answer the question of why dogs eat rocks. For those who are not familiar with rock-eating, it is an interesting thing that dogs do. And it may be strange, but dogs do it all the time.
There are many reasons why dogs eat rocks, and indeed, there are many reasons why dogs eat anything. Sometimes, it is a question of instinct, but other times, it is a matter of convenience. Talk to your vet to better understand your dog’s behavior and the best solution for this rock-eating problem.