It is not uncommon to see your dog chewing and tasting anything that looks vaguely interesting. While it shows your dog has healthy curiosity and will to explore his surrounding, it can be really dangerous.
One of the more common problems dog owners complain about is rock chewing and eating. If you are the proud owner of the dog that seems to like chewing or eating rocks this article is for you.
Is My dog only one who does this?
Answer to this question is both short and simple. No! Your dog is not the only one that has this problem. Plenty of dogs chew rocks, and even though it can be dangerous for their digestive systems and their teeth
they still do it. Like all things related to dogs this behavior has it reasons and they are different for every dog.
What are the reasons for this behavior?
We can divide reasons that cause this behavior in two distinct groups:
1. My dog chews and eats rocks
Dogs that eat rocks may suffer from Pica disorder. It’s a medical condition in which dogs crave and eat non-food items. Pica is generally diagnosed as a result of behavior itself, and while it is relatively easy to identify it, the tricky part is figuring out what is causing it.
Anything from nutritional or hormonal imbalances, anemia, low level of red blood cells and iron in the blood, or diseases like diabetes and thyroid gland problems can cause it.
Thyroid gland issues are one of the things most vets will investigate when evaluating a dog exhibiting Pica.
Your vet must conduct blood, urine, stool and other tests in order to properly determine if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing Pica.
Pica can also be triggered by emotional issues such as separation, anxiety and stress.
Some dog breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers are more prone to Pica.
Serious medical conditions
Your dog eating rocks can also be sign of serious medical conditions, like Gastrointestinal problems, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), stomach tumor, hookworms.
When a dog suffers from any type of gastrointestinal problem, his brain is tricked that he is starving and he may eat anything he sees including rocks.
Starvation and abuse
Another cause for rock eating could be starvation and abuse. If the previous owner neglected your dog, starved him or even tortured him, rock eating could be a habit he picked up trying to eat anything that would keep him alive.
2. My dog chews rocks without eating them
If your dog is not eating rocks but simply chewing on them reason for this is almost certainly psychological or emotional.
This could be your dogs way of handling anxiety or frustration or he is simply bored.
There are a few reasons this can occur, maybe you are not spending enough time with your dog and that can cause feeling of loneliness.
Your dog doesn’t have enough chewing toys, and he looks for something different and new.
Should I be worried about my dog’s health?
Yes! And you need to act quickly as soon as you notice this behavior.
It could be very dangerous for your dog, digestive system can not pass a rock easily it can be painful and can cause lethal obstructions.
This could be a symptom of dangerous illness.
How can I prevent or stop this kind of behavior?
This is no easy task, but remember your dog’s very life could be on the line. To succeed you need diligence, devotion and dedication throughout entire process.
Visit and consult veterinarian
First and foremost, make an appointment with your vet. Let him do all the necessary tests to determine if physical or psychological problem lies at the root of rock chewing/eating behavior.
Healthy and balanced diet
Best way to prevent this behavior is healthy and balanced diet, so make sure your dog has all of animal proteins such as beef or chicken. Also avoid feeding your dog with table scraps or food that was not specified by the veterinarian.
Spend more time with your dog
This is the most important part if the rock eating issue is caused by psychological problem. There is nothing in this world your dog craves more than your attention, so be sure you provide it.
Lack of attention can cause bad feelings associated with loneliness, depression and frustration.
Provide new and interesting toys
Dogs are like kids, they need new and interesting things to keep them occupied and happy. Therefore it is vital you provide new chewing toys every once in a while, and always have some in reserve.
Spray rocks with vinegar or pet repellent product
You can deter your dog from eating rocks in your backyard by removing the rocks or spraying them with vinegar or pet repellent product.
Work on your dog training
Try to work on “leave it“ and “no” commands with your dog. Try other objects for practice then gradually move to rocks.
Treating your dog rocks eating disorder can be very expensive.
Remember, depending on the cause, this disorder is very expensive to treat.
If the cause is anemia treatment price can be in range of $300 to $1,000. For behavioral problems and repeat obstructions, the cost can rise up to as much as $5,000.