May 6, 2010

Why does My Dog Eat Rocks?

Filed under: Dog Behavior — Dr. Amber Reed @ 12:12 am

dog eating habits Sometimes it seems like dogs will eat just about anything.  They’ll certainly chew on your favorite shoes and you’ve probably even caught them eating feces or other equally unappetizing items.  And now, you’ve caught your dog eating rocks and you’re wondering what that’s all about.  In fact, dogs often eat inorganic substances with absolutely no nutritional value.  Pica is a condition where animals, even humans, eat or desire to eat strange substances.  Sometimes, pica will not pose a threat to your dog’s health but depending on the substance there could be serious health risks.

Eating rocks is one of the most common forms of pica observed in dogs.  Unfortunately, eating rocks can be dangerous for your dog.  Chewing on rocks most obviously can damage the teeth and the tissues in the mouth of your dog.  More seriously, eating rocks can result in blockages of the intestines and subsequently vomiting, diarrhea, and if the rock is large enough it can even cause choking and suffocation.

canine teeth care There are various medical and behavioral reasons why your dog may be eating rocks.  First and foremost, you may not be giving your dog enough attention.  When you react to your dog when he eats rocks you actually reinforce the behavior.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to prevent rock eating.  In addition to the behavioral causes, medical disorders of the digestive system, nutritional deficiencies, and even diabetes may lead to rock eating.  Because of these possible medical causes, it is important to visit your veterinarian to figure out why your dog is eating rocks and treat the underlying condition if necessary.

Efforts to cure pica are associated with the underlying cause.  Behavioral pica should be treated with behavior modification techniques that focus on positive reinforcement.  Meanwhile, treating the medical causes of pica should also end the rock eating.  For example, if your dog suffers from poor nutrition, once you have compensated for nutritional deficiencies the rock eating should cease.  Be sure to visit your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is healthy and to learn the methods that you can use to prevent your dog from eating rocks.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

2 Comments »

  1. i have a golden retreever. he ate 2 rocks and had to have 2 surgrys. he just ate another one and he is getting sick again.

    Comment by jayden — February 14, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  2. my dog is a mix a bulldog and a pug and he eats rocks and he looks sad all the time

    Comment by poptropica — July 28, 2012 @ 5:03 am

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