It can be hard to communicate with your doggies, as we don’t speak human and you don’t speak bark. Luckily, I am here to help you. Being a dog myself, I can answer all of your questions about us dogs and how our brains work!
You may have noticed that furry friends such as myself tend to pick up things on our walks.
Whether it is sticks, rocks or funny things that we might have found, you may have noticed that we like to forage!
But sometimes, dogs like to chew on or even eat rocks, even though they do not taste like delicious kibble, so you may be wondering ‘why do dogs eat rocks’?
I am a pawfessional in this field, as I am a Labrador Retriever called Lexie, and I love to eat rocks!
Why do dogs eat rocks?
You may be surprised to find that a lot of us dogs eat rocks. My human calls me a doofus for eating rocks, but many of my canine companions have told me that they like to do it too! Apparently, it is a medical condition called pica.
Pica is when someone eats things that are not considered food items, such as rocks, dirt, plastic, clothing or sticks.
We often do not know why we like to eat these things, but many veterinarians say it is linked to deficiencies in our bodies, which is why we get the urge to eat such items.
In addition, a common reason why your dog may like to eat rocks is for the same reason I do. I need to be the center of attention as much as possible.
For me to be happy, I like lots of care, belly rubs and butt rubs from my humans, and sometimes when they are distracted, or just sitting around in the backyard, I will choose to go find a rock to gnaw on.
This makes them get up and chase me around until I give it back. Sometimes, they even hide it, which is a fun game, because I will not stop until I find it again.
Chewing on rocks is another way for me to relieve some stress and anxiety, or even if I am just bored when my humans are too busy chatting to their friends.
I like to do this to keep me busy, and I think it is fun to do it when my humans are not watching.
Another reason why your dog may be eating rocks is because sometimes, we can get iron deficiencies just like humans!
An iron deficiency will give us dogs an instinct to eat a rock, but you should dissuade us from doing this, and seek professional help or change our diets.
Your dog may also enjoy eating rocks because it can be fun. We like to forage for cool rocks, carry them home and play with them in the house, or use them to interact with you.
We love it when you shout no, and chase us when we have rocks. It is such a fun game.
What happens when dogs eat rocks?
Despite how much we enjoy chewing on and looking for chunky rocks to bite, it can be very bad for us.
If your dog ingests a large rock, then it becomes blocked in the esophagus and we will not be able to breathe, or it may even get blocked in the digestive system, which would need surgery to remove.
If a rock did block up my digestive system, I would not be able to ingest food properly, I could get sick, or malnourished, which would make me very sleepy, lethargic, and I would not be able to chase sticks or play with you.
Which would make us both very sad.
In the worst case scenarios, sharp rocks can get lodged and stuck inside your doggie, and they can cause a perforation as they go through the digestive system.
This would cause your furry friend a lot of pain and you will need to take them to the veterinarian, and hold their paw whilst the vet checks them over!
With some smaller rocks, your dog could chip or break their teeth, which would make it harder for them to enjoy treats and kibbles, which would be the end of the world! Or, they could just experience some vomiting and diarrhea.
If your dog has consumed smaller rocks or pebbles, then you should not have to worry about it too much, just keep an eye on us and take us to the vet if we become poorly, or seem to be in pain.
Is it OK for my dog to chew on rocks?
Whilst your dog may seem perfectly happy chewing and gnawing on some rocks, it is not good for them, and it is your job to discourage them from eating them.
This is because chewing rocks is dangerous for our mouth and teeth, because some sharp edges can scrape the delicate parts of our gums and tongue, and crunching on hard rocks can wear away at our teeth!
Also, if you furry friend manages to swallow and actually eat a rock, then this can cause an intestinal blockage, digestive problems, vomiting, diarrhea, or can even become lodged in the throat and cause a blockage.
All of these things can be very dangerous for us doggies, and you will have to take us to the veterinarian, which neither of us like doing.
How to stop your dog from eating rocks
The best way to prevent any health issues caused by eating rocks is to train us, and use behaviour modification to help us avoid eating rocks.
Sometimes, you could bring our favorite treats on walks, or a toy to play with so we do not even think about grabbing a rock!
Also, if your dog loves rocks, then maybe it is best to keep them away from any, and avoid walking in places where they may find some!
Sometimes, we only pick up rocks because they are mentally stimulating, and fun to play with, so if you give us lots of attention and love, I am sure that your dog will forget all about the rock!