Pica Syndrome: When your dog has Pica Syndrome, it gets the urge to consume inanimate things that do not have any nutritional value. Rocks are one of the most common things your pet will eat when it has this anomaly, given they are widely available.
Nutritional Deficiency: If a dog's body lacks essential nutrients, the pet might try to eat strange things as it seeks to get them. For pets with mineral deficiencies, eating rocks is quite common, given they can contain magnesium, calcium, and even vitamins. It is the same way pregnant humans get cravings for stones and other things due to mineral deficiencies.
Fear or Anxiety: Animals experiencing fear and anxiety issues often do strange things such as eating rocks. Traumatized pets such as those leading tough lives in shelters can eat rocks as they try to find a way to deal with their anxiety.
Intestinal Parasites: Dogs with some intestinal parasites get strange urges such as eating rocks. Luckily most common parasites are easy to treat, and vets can quickly identify them by fecal analysis.
Is it Safe when Dogs Eating Rocks?
As much as dogs love chewing and playing with rocks, pet parents need to know that they are not safe for the pet to eat. The most common risk of eating rocks is an intestinal blockage, whereby swallowing large ones leads to a blockage along the intestinal tract, making it hard for dogs to eat food or take in fluids.
When a pet eats sharp rocks, the edges can easily injure the dog's mouth, tongue, or throat. Even if the pet manages to swallow the sharp pieces, they still pose the risk of perforating the stomach or colon.
What's more, many pups often end up with broken or chipped teeth as they try to chew the hard rocks. Sometimes ingesting rocks also leads to stomach upset.
How to Stop your Dog from Eating Rocks
Avoid Rocky Places: If your dog cannot find rocks, it becomes harder to eat them. Therefore, an easy but effective way of ensuring it does not eat rocks is to keep it away from areas with lots of them.
Behavior Modification: By teaching your dog it is not right to eat stones, you can help decrease the likelihood of consuming them. Teaching it to obey simple commands and giving it an alternative chew toy can be very helpful.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies: As a pet parent, you have to be very keen on what your pet eats to ensure it gets a balanced diet with all the minerals, vitamins, and other compounds it requires. By doing this, you can address any nutritional deficiencies that might be driving the pooch to eat rocks and other nasty things.
Visit a Vet: Since the urge to consume stones might result from a medical condition like Pica, it is a great idea to visit a vet promptly and have your pet examined. Even if the dog does not have any underlying issue, the vet can still explain how to deal with the problem.
Strange dog habits like eating rocks pose a significant risk to the pet's health and overall well-being. Therefore, you should not overlook them. When you notice your dog loves eating rocks, you need to identify the underlying cause. Also, make sure you keep it away from areas with rocks, address any nutritional deficiencies and talk to a vet for further guidance.