Your dog will probably eat everything he can. Dogs love to eat, so they can eat food, plants, and all other kinds of things. But there is one situation that is a bit of an award. Why do dogs eat rocks? There are 11 reasons for that, and as you can assume, you need to know all about them.
This is not ideal behavior, but it doesn’t have to be extremely dangerous. Hoverer, you will still have to prevent it as soon as possible.
Exploring the Curiosity
Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and part of their exploration of the world involves using their most potent sensory tool: their mouth. This investigative behavior is particularly pronounced in puppies, who, much like human infants, experience the world by putting things in their mouth. This inquisitive tendency can sometimes lead them to pick up and even consume non-food items, including rocks.
Puppies, especially those in the teething phase, might find the texture of rocks intriguing or soothing for their sore gums. Chewing on rocks can provide a form of relief from the discomfort of new teeth coming in. However, this behavior isn’t limited to puppies. Adult dogs, too, may occasionally pick up a rock out of curiosity or playfulness. The unfamiliar texture, smell, or even the temperature of the rock can trigger their curiosity, leading them to engage with it.
In exploring their environment, dogs don’t always distinguish between what is food and what isn’t. This lack of discernment is partly due to their ancestry. In the wild, canids, the family dogs belong to, often have to make do with whatever they can find, leading them to be less selective. While domestic dogs have evolved from these wild ancestors, some of these primal instincts linger, explaining why a dog might not immediately realize that a rock is not food.
While occasional curiosity isn’t usually a cause for concern, it’s essential for dog owners to monitor this behavior. If a dog is consuming rocks regularly or seems fixated on them, it could indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed. Understanding this facet of canine behavior is the first step in ensuring the safety and well-being of our four-legged companions.
11 Possible Reasons Why Dogs Eat Rocks
1. Lack of Vitamins
This is one of the more common explanations. Why do dogs eat rocks? They need vitamins. Diarrhea can cause this. It happens because the digestive tract won’t have enough time to absorb the vitamins from the food. Some types of cancer can cause the same thing.
As a result, your dog will eat rocks and all other kinds of things in order to try and recoup the vitamins. You will have to take your pet to a vet and determine which vitamin causes this.
The first thing you need to know here is that your dog doesn’t have to be low on weight if he suffers from malnutrition. This means that he doesn’t get one or multiple nutrients in the amounts he needs. Yes, starvation can cause malnutrition, and it is actually the most common reason here.
If this is the cause, you must examine the dog and determine what causes malnutrition and which nutrients your dog needs. Your vet will help you with this issue and he will do so by analyzing the blood and signs a dog may display.
In the lack of better word anemia means loss of blood or more precisely, red blood cells. These transport oxygen to the organs. When there are not enough red blood cells, organs will lack iron as well. As you can assume, iron deficiency can cause your dog to eat rocks or dirt. You can see that he will look for mineral things to eat such as rocks.
Yes, parasites can cause this. Basically, they will prevent your pet from absorbing the vitamins and nutrients he needs. As such, a dog will eat rocks in order to get those nutrients and vitamins.
This can be a separate reason or it can be a part of the malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies we have here. It is impossible for a dog to remove parasites by himself so professional help is mandatory.
5. Stress and/or Anxiety
Both can make your dog eat rocks. As a matter of fact, your pet will be seriously nervous or anxious that he will have to find a way to suit himself. Eating weird stuff is one of the things or signs he will show. You must determine the cause and you will have to deal with them as soon as you can.
6. He Is Confused
Believe it or not, this is a possible reason. It happens in older dogs, and pets who have medical conditions or are under a treatment that forces them to do weird things. Basically, your pet will be so confused that he won’t know what to eat and what not. You will have to take him to a vet as soon as possible.
7. He Wants Your Attention
Smart dogs will eat rocks because they want something from you. They want your attention. As you can see, they are going to get it. For most owners, this is a scary and problematic problem that looks weird and actually scarier than it is.
As such, most of them will try to find the cause and help the dog as soon as possible. A dog will get the attention he needs. Of course, there are much better ways to give him attention. Just try to spend more time with him.
This is not a mild condition or something that will go away within days. It is a severe disease that will affect your dog for its entire life. You can see a dog who drinks water more than ever before. He urinates more as well. Dog eats rocks as well. He will eat them because of the excessive hunger he feels all the time. Diabetes can cause his body to fail to absorb certain nutrients and vitamins. If you notice any of these signs, take your dog to a vet immediately. He will need a proper and probably life-lasting treatment.
Teething means that your puppy has growing teeth. It is a huge problem and it is very uncomfortable. Puppies will eat rocks and all other things in order to try and eliminate the discomfort. There is no need to take your puppy to a vet. This is normal and it can manifest in numerous other ways.
Pica is a disorder that both people and animals can suffer from. It is precisely as you can assume, eating weird things and stuff. It is possible that your dog suffers from some issue that forces him to eat rocks. But he may also eat rocks because he wants to do this.
11. He Is Bored
A dog who is bored can and will probably eat weird things. He may eat rocks as the result of that boredom. There are no medical causes for this. He is just too bored and he doesn’t know what to do with his time.
Dogs may act weird when they are too bored. However, puppies and younger dogs are more common to eat rocks due to boredom.
Tips to Prevent Rock Eating
Dealing with a dog that eats rocks can be challenging and worrisome. Here are some tips to help prevent this potentially dangerous behavior:
Supervision and Distraction:
Supervise your dog during outdoor activities. If you catch them picking up a rock, distract them with a toy or a command. Consistently redirecting their attention can eventually break the habit.
Provide Adequate Exercise:
Ensure your dog gets plenty of physical and mental exercise. Boredom can lead to destructive behaviors, including rock eating. Regular walks, play sessions, and mental stimulation through puzzle toys can help alleviate boredom.
Chew Toys and Dental Treats:
Offer your dog safe chew toys or dental treats. These can satisfy their urge to chew and are a healthy alternative to rocks. Rotate toys to keep your dog interested.
Training and Commands:
Train your dog to respond to commands like “leave it” or “drop it.” Positive reinforcement training can be very effective in teaching your dog to drop undesirable items.
Create a Safe Environment:
If your dog is prone to eating rocks, consider creating a designated play area free from rocks or other harmful items. Regularly check your yard and remove any rocks or debris.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies:
Sometimes, rock eating can be a sign of nutritional deficiencies. Ensure your dog is on a balanced diet, and consult with your veterinarian to rule out any dietary issues.
Address Underlying Anxiety:
If your dog’s rock eating is related to anxiety or stress, addressing the root cause of their anxiety is crucial. This may involve behavior modification techniques or seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.
The Final Word
As you can see, this is a weird issue that can manifest in all dogs. Why do dogs eat rocks? They need something that forces them to do that. Your task is to examine and deduce why your pet is doing this.
Once you know, start solving the cause of the problem. It is better to take him to a vet first and find the cause within minutes than to try and do this by yourself.