My Puppy Keeps Eating Rocks!
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It’s a common refrain from puppy owners: “Help – my puppy keeps eating rocks!” If your puppy chews rocks, it can be scary and a habit you want to stop!
Has this happened to you?
- Your adorable little buddy is suddenly enchanted by the rocks, stones, dirt and sticks he/she finds every time you go outside.
- Every time you turn your back your pup is hoovering a mouthful of gravel, rocks or dirt
- Suddenly your sweet little four-legged friend turns into a demon with scissor teeth when you try to remove rocks from their mouth, distract them from rock eating, or remove them from the area,
The fact is, lots of puppies begin to eat rocks, understandably a very scary thing for a pet parent to observe. Most likely you frantically remove the rocks from their mouth to prevent them from choking.
Why Is My Puppy Eating Rocks?
Why do puppies chew on rocks? There are a variety of reasons:
Teething: Typically, most puppies chew on rocks to relieve pain from teething. For these puppies, the right chew toy can be substituted.
Pica: If you already ruled out teething issues as the cause of their habit, you need to consider other possibilities such as pica. When a dog habitually eats non-edible items, it’s called pica, which is an eating disorder caused by a nutritional deficiency. In this case, a discussion with a veterinarian about your dog’s current diet is wise. Veterinarians usually offer advice about the right food type and amount that is required for your specific pup.
Medical Disorders: If your puppy chews rocks, other possibilities may include underlying medical disorders you might not know your puppy has yet such as worms, parasites, diabetes, and tumors. If you suspect your puppy has health issues, contact a veterinarian for further assistance.
Training Mom & Dad: Sometimes puppies chew on rocks because they know it catches your attention and they love to be the center of your world. Staying calm, being consistent, and practicing distraction with a different toy or ball lets them know this is all just normal behavior.
Behavioral Issues: Eating rocks could also be due to feeling anxious, frustrated, or annoyed. If you notice your dog chews on rocks when they are nervous around other dogs, people, or specific places, help them avoid those situations to prevent them from eating rocks. In this case, socialization training is one helpful way to help your pup cope with different environments without getting nervous.
Will Eating Rocks Hurt My Puppy?
Yes. Eating rocks can hurt your puppy in a variety of ways. Rocks can cause damage to your puppy’s gums, teeth, and digestive systems. Also, if the rock is large it can cause a blockage in your pup’s digestive tract which could lead to surgery, illness, or death.
How To Stop A Puppy From Eating Rocks
Stopping your puppy’s rock-eating habit as quickly as possible is wise.
First, visit a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues that are responsible for the behavior. Next, teach your dog basic obedience that includes the “sit”, “drop it” and “leave it” commands. These commands are helpful and encourage your dog to release the rocks. A puppy chewing rocks is problematic, but eventually, most dogs learn to leave the rocks alone completely.
- Particularly for puppies, rewarding your dog for their good behavior when they drop the rocks is key.
- Carry treats with you or praise them by petting their head and telling them they are a good boy or girl.
- Keep a favorite toy or ball handy to substitute when they start snuffling around for the right stones to chew.
- Affectionate distraction is extremely rewarding for dogs and the more attention they get from you the more likely they will begin to ignore the rocks altogether.
Take heart – many dogs just grow out of this habit as they age and find more rewarding activities. Remaining vigilant and positive is your best bet to change this behavior.
Eating Rocks Is A Habit For Some Dogs
If your puppy eats dirt and rocks, (or anything else) pinpointing the cause is tricky. With consistent training (and the help of a veterinarian if you need it), the rock eating issue can be solved in due time. Remember to be patient with your pup during obedience training sessions and make sure you always keep a close eye on them to help prevent them from swallowing the rocks until they learn the commands.
It is important to address the problem of a puppy chewing rocks. As your puppy grows, obedience training is essential to here wellbeing and overall safety.