Why is my dog eating stones
Your dog eats stones and what you can do about it
"My dog is a vacuum cleaner." Dog owners say this sentence over and over again.
Nothing seems safe from dogs. One or the other fur nose does not shy away from stones.
I don't need to explain that stones are not exactly healthy snacks.
But many owners are not really aware that a dog can put their life in real danger by eating them.
Why some dogs are so hot for stones, how you can recognize an emergency and correct this behavior, I'll tell you here.
Dog eats stones - is that normal?
No, this is not normal and is often a sign of a behavioral disorder in dogs.
Some other animals actually eat small stones. Crocodiles, seals and even birds are among them. Fossils of various herbivorous dinosaurs also contain stones where the stomach must once have been.
The dinosaurs did this because their teeth were not yet designed to chew their vegetable foods. They often swallowed leaves and the like in one piece or only roughly chopped up.
The eaten stones aided them with digestion.
With the movements of her stomach, the stones ground the plants into a food pulp. They still fulfill this function in herbivorous birds today.
Why crocodiles and seals eat stones
Exactly why crocodiles and seals eat stones has not been fully researched.
It is possible that they help crocodiles hunt. The ambulance hunters depend on their camouflage under water. If they suddenly floated up, their prey would be warned.
The eaten stones make them heavier, so that it is easier for them to stay at the bottom (source).
Your stomach acid is even able to dissolve the stones. The animals are therefore not condemned to remain lying on the ground forever. They simply excrete the stones again and continue swimming.
This explanation is also conceivable for seals. It is also possible that the stomach stones will also help them with digestion.
Why do dogs eat stones?
Dogs don't need stomach stones. They are neither hunters nor rely on your digestive help.
Nevertheless, some of them like to eat a few stones lying around by the roadside.
This can have several reasons. Your dog…
- is bored and / or wants to attract your attention,
- gets the wrong or too little food,
- suffers from pica syndrome or
- is still young and inexperienced.
Only with puppies is it often a purely educational problem.
They don't know any better yet and put everything in their mouth out of curiosity. Make it clear to your puppy that stones are not there to be eaten. Then he should stop doing it soon.
Unfortunately, all other causes are not so easy to combat.
Boredom and attention
When an adult dog is eating stones, it is most likely that they are trying to get your attention.
Very few dog owners just go on quietly if they catch Bello eating something off the roadside.
People shout “Ugh!” Or run over to the place and see what has disappeared in the furry garbage chute.
Your dog will learn very quickly what to do in order for you to jump. In this case he is educating you, not the other way around.
Even with persistent boredom, dogs come up with great ideas. One of them is to eat stones. If your dog is physically and mentally underutilized, it will find its own occupation at some point.
Wrong or too little food
When dogs are lacking in nutrients, they sometimes try to help themselves.
If their food contains too few minerals, they simply take them in their rough form from nature. So make sure that the dog food is of good quality and contains everything your dog needs.
He should also get enough of it and not starve.
Dogs don't understand the point of dieting. If their stomach is empty, they want to fill it.
If you want your dog to lose weight a bit, it is better to add a little water to their food. You can also divide it up into several small servings a day.
This will prevent him from walking around on an empty stomach for a long time.
The pica syndrome
Pica syndrome is an eating disorder that manifests itself through eating strange or inedible things.
It can also affect people. Not only stones are consumed in the process. Plastic and other materials without any nutritional value are also consumed by those affected.
How exactly the disease develops is unknown. It is likely a result of brain damage.
If your dog had an accident with a severe head injury, it could have been hungry for stones. Even with dementia, there is sometimes strange eating behavior, which can also be traced back to destroyed areas of the brain.
But pica can also develop without a brain injury. A strong, psychological trauma, isolation (especially in puppyhood) or an extreme lack of iron and minerals are possible triggers.
I already mentioned the latter. It is not particularly likely that your dog will eat stones for this reason.
The deficiency would have to be really strong and would certainly make itself felt differently.
To be on the safe side, however, you should also have your dog checked for this.
Is it dangerous if my dog eats stones?
Yes, you should definitely prevent your dog from eating stones.
While they are not poisonous, they can endanger your dog's life in other ways.
Possible consequences are
- Digestive disorders caused by stones stuck in the digestive tract,
- Intestinal obstruction,
- internal injuries from sharp edges and
- Injuries to the teeth (wear and tear or breaking off) or even tooth loss.
It depends on the size and amount of stones your dog ingests.
Every dog has probably eaten a stone while going for a walk.
It happens so quickly that no one can prevent it. You let your dog look for some dry food and he accidentally picks up a stone.
In most cases this is not a problem.
But if he constantly eats stones and does not stop at larger ones, you can quickly find yourself in an emergency situation.
When do I have to go to the vet?
If you catch your dog eating stones, watch him for a while. Small stones come out the natural way two days later.
If that doesn't happen, you should see your vet.
Of course, this also applies if your dog behaves in a strange way. If he vomits, is tired or sleeps too often, you'd better get on your way.
If he seems to have a stomach ache or if he is no longer pooping, he must urgently see the vet.
How to stop your dog from eating stones
Once you have found the cause of the stone eating, you can begin to wean your dog off.
You should definitely, because every stone your dog ingests can be a potentially fatal hazard.
As always, nothing works without training and education.
So that you can be sure that your dog will leave the stones lying around in the future, you should teach him not to eat anything from the ground on walks. In this video you will learn how to do it.
Walks shouldn't be eating time. Of course, you can or even have to work with food during training. But this is completely different from when your dog is serving itself.
Don't let boredom arise
You should make your dog's day exciting. It also helps during walks if you include several small training or play units.
This will prevent your dog from having to find something to do for himself.
Let him look for food, fetch, slalom around trees or briefly practice a few commands.
If you suspect that the stone eating was caused by inadequate feeding, take a look at the composition of your dog food.
It should ideally consist of as few carbohydrates as possible. Above all, dogs need animal proteins and fats.
Of course, a little vegetables shouldn't be missing, but dogs need meat first and foremost.
Minerals and trace elements should not be neglected either. Make sure your dog food contains calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, iodine, selenium, and zinc.
Magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, fluorine, copper and manganese are also important for your dog.
Without its water content, dog food should consist of around 10% minerals and trace elements.
Protein and fat together provide around 85%, whereby the protein content should be higher than that of fat. The remaining 5% is completely sufficient for carbohydrates.
Please note, however, that some diseases require adapted feeding.
Stop the stones from eating consistently
Especially at the beginning of your training you shouldn't let your dog get tempted anymore.
So keep him on a leash and always stay alert. If you see a stone that fits into its prey scheme, react early. Systematically prevent your dog from eating stones.
In particularly severe cases, it may also be advisable that your dog no longer comes freely into the garden.
Especially when your dog is eating stones to get your attention, he will take every opportunity that presents itself.
Eventually, you will continue to react the way he wishes. Getting used to it also plays a role.
Eating stones is definitely not normal dog behavior.
If your dog accidentally picks up a stone, you don't need to panic right away. But stones don't belong in a dog's stomach and can cause serious problems there.
In order to get a grip on the behavior, your dog must learn that walks are not meant to be eaten.
He should just take something out of your hand and leave everything else behind. That requires training, but with enough stamina and consistent action, you can certainly do it.
To rule out organic causes, you should also describe the problem to your vet and ask for advice.
frequently asked Questions
Why does my dog eat stones?
There can be various reasons for this. To rule out disease, talk to your veterinarian about the problem.
My dog ate a few stones on a walk and has been looking sick ever since. Should I go to the vet?
Yes, because foreign objects such as stones can lead to an intestinal obstruction. In that case, your dog would need an urgent operation.
My dog has been eating stones since I got a new job. Is there a connection?
This can be the case, for example, if you are away for a longer period because of your new job. Your dog may be trying to get your attention by eating stones because he feels lonely.
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