Why does my dog eat rocks?

Why does my dog eat rocks? When a dog eat rocks, then the reason for could be one of the following. It could either be a medical problem, for example anemia, exocrine, panachretic insufficiency or a portosymatic shunt. These conditions might be what causes a dog to eat rocks. Birds naturally eat pieces of sea shells or small stones as they need this for their digestion. Dogs on the other hand should not do this, if they do there is a problem.

Why does my dog eat rocks?
Why does my dog eat rocks?

The other and more common reason for rock eating is a compulsive behavior. This could for example be case of a dog who has spent a lot of time alone, locked up somewhere where there simply wasn’t anything else to do than eat rocks. Dogs adopted from a rescue shelter might have had experiences like this.

So the first thing to do if your dog is eating rocks is a check up by a veterinarian. Once you have concluded that there is no medical problem behind the reason why your dog is eating rocks then you will need to see if this is a compulsive behavior and cure this.

If your dog is picking up rocks in your garden then the first step would be to take out all rocks from there or if this not possible, seal of a portion of your garden with a fence and then use a garden rake to get rid of most (if not all) of the rocks there.

Now there is time for some fun. Once, your dog no longer has access to rocks you should give him/her an alternative. Plenty of different toys should do the trick. Dog toys, tennis balls, pieces of wood or anything that is safe that your dog enjoys chewing and playing with.

If you do this for a few weeks it is very possible that your dog will stop eating rocks. You can try this by putting a few little rocks on your lawn and see if your dog is interested in them. If he/she attempts to eat them, firmly say No and stop your dog. Give your dog a toy instead and when he/she starts to play with it give plenty of praise, caresses and attention. This will teach your dog that toys is a much better alternative to eating rocks.

If you would like learn more about how to treat various dog related issues and how to get a happy, well behaved dog, I suggest you take a look at this page

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found it useful. As always, if you have comments, questions or experiences to share, write them below. If you would like to share this post on social media, use the buttons on the left.

All the best.


Comments 4

  • Very interesting article. I’ve had a dog who would chew on rocks, not necessarily ingest them. I always felt this was ok because it was cleaning his teeth. Do you think that this is ok, or is this a behavior that should be discouraged? He would also throw them into the air like it was a ball.

    • Hi Janet,

      I think it would be better to discourage a behavior like that. Even if the dog is not swallowing the rocks they will most propably damage his teeth. I once heard of a case like this, a dog was constantly playing with small rocks and the members of his family even throw rocks for him to fetch. In the end they had to stop it and replace the rocks with a bucket of  tennis balls in order to save his teeth.


  • I dont have a dog but I do have to admit it was an interesting read. I thought to myself this could also apply to humans and how to change bad habits to good habits.. one of the best ways to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good one! right?

    • Yes, absolutely. You have got a good point here. replacing a bad habit with a good one is the way to go. In this case, make the dog bite and play with toys instead of eating rocks. Another example is to show a dog that it can chew a toy or a piece of wood instead of chewing your furniture. Dogs are creatures of habits just like us humans so bad habits can be replaced with good ones.

Leave a Reply

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