Lifestyle with Dog

Why is My Dog Eating Rocks?

Many Dogs tend to eat a lot of strange things that, for most of us, make no sense. However bizarre your dog’s chomping habits may be, bear in mind that this is relatively normal behavior, particularly for puppies. But, normal or not, chewing rocks (or other non-food items) can be dangerous if ingested.

The Root of the Matter

First, chewing rocks is dangerous to a dog’s mouth and teeth. Sharp edges can cut delicate gums and tongues, and crunching down can break teeth. Additionally, swallowing rocks can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, and even choking if the rock is too large for the dog’s throat. As common as rock chewing is, it can be due to several possibilities ranging from medical to developmental.

1. To seek attention. Chewing rocks is one way for a snubbed pooch to get noticed. In this case, your dog may be acting out of anxiety, frustration, or mere boredom.
2. Medical problems. It’s also possible that a dog eats rocks because of an underlying medical condition. These can include intestinal tract disorders, nutritional deficiency, diabetes, or other illnesses. It is vital to rule out any medical cause by paying a visit to your vet if continued efforts to stop this behavior are unsuccessful.

Treating the Cause

Chewing rocks may be nothing more than just your pooch’s way to vent his chewing needs. If you suspect this is the case, try the following steps to curb his rock habit:

1. Limit his access to the rocks. Sometimes it’s just impossible to avoid rocks altogether, but try to supervise your dog when they’re around.
2. When you catch your dog eating rocks, distract him from the rocks and redirect his attention to something safe or fun, like playing fetch or chewing a safe toy.
3. Check your own schedule. Is your dog left alone much of the time? Perhaps, all you need to do is to spend more time with him.
4. Keep a lot of chew toys on hand, and rotate them every couple of days to keep him interested.

 

If rock chewing is due to a medical issue rather than behavioral, your veterinarian will be able to make a diagnosis and create a treatment plan. When underlying medical issues are handled, the rock chewing should end on its own.

 

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. doug

    May 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    We are looking after my son's dog (14 week old Boxer ) We were told she is eating rocks, sure enough
    3 came up this morning after a nights sleep,one about 4cm x 2cm and two 2cm x 2cm and a couple in the poop.Thank's for your information we will try to eliminate this behaviour.

  2. Gayle

    May 11, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I have a 7 year old red & white irish setter that just went into emergency surgery to remove a boat load of stones and some smaller shells. $6000 so no doubt I will try to get to the root cause. Being a RN, will help in my quest for answers. I am thinking along the lines of a diet deficiency.

  3. Kandy Justus

    Apr 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

    my eight week old cattle pups I just brought home are eating rocks just got him yesterday so I was looking it up and I found all you guys going to try some of your suggestions glad you guys wrote good luck with all your dogs

  4. Sherri Winslow

    Jan 4, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    4 1/2 mo old puppy just had exploratory surgery for $800+ due to eating rocks (14 large) and 2 of them getting lodged in the pylorus. Very scary and can be very expensive. Emergency Hospital wanted $2600.

  5. Beau

    Dec 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    My Golden is now four months and tries to eat small rocks on our walks. It hard to avoid but I’ve heard horror stories.

  6. SadieSue

    Nov 5, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Our dear little Golden Retriever (5 months and growing!) is always trying to eat something he shouldn’t, especially gravel and rocks. He has learned to hide his stolen rocks somewhere in his mouth, and even with a flashlight we can’t find it! But he starts chewing it again once we lay off of him. He is very clever, and even though we always eventually find the stuff he stuffs in his mouth, it is frustrating. We live in a rural area, and despite having a fenced acre for his use, we have to kep him on a leash, or he eats the yard. Given we are retired, we spend all day with him, so i don’t think he is bored. Anyone? How do we break this habit?

  7. kj

    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    My basset started eating rocks. We took him to the vet for xrays and they found 4 in there.They also figured out he had a heart condition that was making his heart so big it was encroaching on his esophagus. They did surgery to remove the rocks and got him on meds for his heart. He still lived 3 years after that.

  8. Suzi McGregor

    Dec 29, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    My English bulldog is close to 11 years old and has many joint issues. The vet recently put her on prednisone and tramadol for her pain. She does great on that combination of drugs. Very recently, she’s started eating rocks with soil. The last older dog I had that started doing this had multiple tumors. I’m concerned it’s either her medication or she’s very ill like my previous pet. Any thoughts?

  9. Robbin Watson

    Nov 15, 2013 at 11:06 am

    My lab; Tali loved to chew on rocks, she ended up with a tiny chip in her tonsil that was making her cough. She went to the emergency vet and it was a $1000.00 to have it removed. She was on an antibiotic for a week and “cough syrup”. She no longer chews on rocks. Not everyone can do this but we put in a pond and threw in 5 gold fish and she chases them until she is exhausted. Also lost a lot of weight and she is no longer “obese’ either

  10. Margaret

    Nov 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Our recently adopted Yorkie mix likes sticks and (yuk)poop. Obviously I work hard to avoid these things, but living in the country that kind of stuff is always out there. Any suggestions to curtail this?

    • Pam

      Jan 23, 2016 at 8:39 pm

      Try to teach him the command ‘leave it’. It works really well for every dog I’ve had, if your with them when they do it. They pick It Up REALLY quickly. Tell them to LEAVE IT & put something in their face (attention) & move them away from it, the reward when they move away. Good luck!

  11. Judy

    Nov 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Our puppy did this when we first brought him home. Anytime he’d pick up a rock, we’d say “off” and give him a treat (chicken). He learned the off command very quickly. To the point that if he wanted a treat, he’d go get a rock, bring it to us and drop it at our feet! Smart pup.

    • Leslie

      Nov 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      My dog is pretty smart and trained on most things too! I hear people everyday at the dog park and other places who have the same problem and what works for one may not work with another. Even though we monitor him constantly and remove rocks from his mouth daily (many times) I would never take food or treats in the dog park which is where he does this most of the time! I have even thought about this being nervous habit that he does when he gets nervous or stressed!

  12. Leslie

    Nov 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    My dog (Australian Cattle Dog) grazes on rocks, wood, grass and anything else he can eat. He has done this since he was a pup. We have tried everything on this list and he gets to go to dog park everyday plus running or walking. I am almost always with him and goes with me most places. He has never had any trouble but I have always feared this habit would cause trouble sooner or later. I am at the end of my rope trying to figure it out.

    • J B MOUNTAIN

      Sep 27, 2014 at 9:38 am

      I have anew cattle dog puppy that does the very same thing ! I am very worried about him.

      • FrontRangeLiving

        Nov 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm

        I have a cattle dog that has indulged in grass from time to time her whole life. This usually goes down when we are on a long mountain hike so I have no idea how often or how much she is eating, but I see her nibbling and probably more often catch the wretching happening as it comes back up. It has always been harmless and perhaps is serving a purpose?

        Anyway, just yesterday a wretching of hers went down in the house (very unsusal). It was full of rocks (a first) and had no grass. I do not know what to think so here I am on the internet just like all of you. 🙂

    • Patti

      Sep 15, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      I am with you. My Scottie is eating, chewing and swallowing the slate rocks. I don’t know what to do

    • jill

      Dec 20, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Interesting! I’m googling because my 9 year old Cattle Dog started eating rocks too.
      Maybe it’s something with this breed. She knows she shouldn’t so she sneaks them into the house & goes into the extra bedroom (which she thinks is hers) and eats her rocks.
      Anyway – they are the sweetest & smartest dogs is the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest dog news, recall alerts, and giveaways!

You have Successfully Subscribed!