Why Does My Dog Hold Rocks In Her Mouth? (8 Reasons + 6 Solutions)
I love my dogs, Duke and Bella! They never fail to bring a smile to my face with their silly antics. My two fun-loving goofballs are always playing together, especially in the backyard.
Duke will chase Bella and then Bella will chase Duke. Back and forth they go, taking breaks to run up to my wife, the kids, and me trying to get anyone who will to join in on the fun too.
As much fun as having a pet dog is, it’s also important to pay attention to their behavior. If your dog is acting strange or sick, you need to be ready to take care of them. No doubt you want to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy.
So, what about dogs that hold rocks in their mouths? Why does my dog hold rocks in her mouth? Your dog could have a medical disorder, still be doing puppy things, be bored, have been trained to do it, think the rocks taste good, be after some attention, be acting on instinct, or just be acting like a silly dog.
Why Do Dogs Hold Rocks In Their Mouths?
If you’re wondering why your pooch sometimes carries rocks in her mouth, you’ve come to the right place. There are several possible reasons for this behavior, and understanding them is key to keeping your dog safe and happy.
Let’s take a look at the most common explanations:
Some dogs could be dealing with a medical issue that leads them to hold rocks in their mouths. For instance, these dogs might be trying to cope with:
- Pica: This is a condition in which dogs are compelled to eat non-food items, like rocks.
- Nutritional Deficiency: A lack of essential nutrients can lead dogs to seek alternative sources, even if it means eating things like rocks. If this is the case your dog might not even know what’s going on, she could just have a craving that rocks seem to somewhat satisfy.
- Other Conditions: Other medical issues such as diabetes or worms can lead to strange behaviors in dogs.
Puppies go through different developmental stages that can lead to various peculiar behaviors, such as:
- Teething: Puppies tend to chew on things when their teeth are coming in, and sometimes, they might choose rocks for this purpose.
- Exploring: Young dogs are naturally curious and enjoy exploring their environment by mouthing different items, including rocks.
Just like us, dogs require mental and physical stimulation. When bored, your dog might resort to gathering and holding rocks as a way to occupy herself.
You Accidentally Trained Your Dog To Do It
Dogs are great at picking up on your reactions. If you’ve ever reacted favorably when your dog held a rock, she might continue to do it to get the same positive response from you.
The Rocks Actually Taste Good To Your Dog
Although it may seem odd to us, your dog might enjoy the taste or texture of rocks. These tastes could be linked to a nutritional deficiency (mentioned above), or they might simply appeal to their unique palate.
There’s also a good chance that there is something on the rocks (moss, another dog’s scent, etc.) that your dog is trying to learn more about or that tastes good to your pooch.
Your Dog Wants Attention
If your dog is craving attention, they might carry rocks knowing it will provoke a reaction from you. By doing so, they manage to grab your attention, even if it’s in a negative way.
Certain breeds, such as retrievers, have a strong instinct to carry things in their mouths. This could be the reason your dog is naturally inclined to pick up and carry rocks.
Sometimes dogs don’t have a solid reason for their actions. They might simply enjoy holding rocks because, well, they’re just being silly dogs.
Is It Okay For Your Dog To Carry Rocks In Their Mouth?
You’ve noticed your canine companion’s peculiar habit – picking up and carrying around rocks in her mouth. And now you might be wondering, is this behavior safe or could it potentially be harmful to your dog?
Let’s check out some of the potential problems associated with this quirky habit, to help you make an informed decision.
First off, it’s important to note that having rocks in their mouth isn’t ideal for your good dog. Though it may seem harmless at first, there are a few potential issues you need to watch out for such as:
- Chipped teeth: Dogs have strong teeth, but continuously holding rocks can eventually wear them down or even cause them to chip. This can be painful for your dog and may require a trip to the vet for dental care.
- Accidental ingestion: Unfortunately, dogs sometimes swallow things they shouldn’t, especially when they make a habit of holding those things in their mouths. If your dog accidentally swallows a rock, it could lead to internal complications which might require medical attention.
Now that you know there are risks associated with your dog carrying rocks in her mouth, you might be interested in some effective ways you can help curb this behavior and keep your canine companion safe and healthy.
How To Get Your Dog To Stop Picking Up Rocks: Tips and Tricks
If you’ve found yourself in a situation where your dog just won’t seem to stop holding rocks in her mouth, you’re probably wondering what to do about it. Here are some practical strategies you can use to address this unusual behavior.
Teach Essential Commands
An important first step is ensuring your dog understands basic commands. If your pup can respond to ‘no’ and ‘drop it’ commands, you’ll have an easier time preventing her from holding rocks in her mouth.
Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
As a loving dog owner, it’s easy to accidentally reinforce behaviors we don’t want our dogs to do. If you’ve taught your dog to pick up rocks without realizing it, try to identify what you were doing and put a stop to it.
In other words, don’t tell your dog she’s a good girl when she picks up rocks. Even if you follow it with ‘drop it’, your dog will likely associate rocks in her mouth with some feel-good attention.
Monitor Your Dog’s Health
This is true for everyday life, but especially so when your dog is doing something that could indicate a medical problem. You want to make sure that your dog isn’t suffering from a medical issue that could be causing her to pick up rocks.
If you’re unsure, consult with a veterinarian to rule out potential health problems.
Offer Plenty of Attention and Stimulation
Like I talked about earlier, sometimes, dogs pick up rocks out of boredom or to get your attention. To stop your dog from feeling the need to do this, make sure you’re giving your good girl plenty of attention and engaging in stimulating activities.
Daily walks and playtime can make a world of difference!
A great tactic to get your dog to stop picking up rocks and holding them in her mouth is by redirecting her attention to a more acceptable activity.
Encourage your dog to carry a toy around instead of rocks. This will help her shift focus onto something more appropriate and safe.
Consult a Professional
Lastly, if all else fails, don’t be afraid to talk to a professional dog trainer or your vet. Sometimes, even the most dedicated dog owners need a little help. A professional will be able to provide customized solutions to address your dog’s specific issues.
Final Thoughts: Why Do Dogs Keep Rocks In Their Mouths?
There are a lot of different reasons dogs might hold rocks in their mouths, including medical issues, teething, exploration, wanting attention, instinct, or just being silly.
To stop this bad habit, owners need to make sure that their dog has had health issues ruled out, provide their dogs with plenty of attention and stimulation, teach them essential commands, redirect their behavior to more acceptable activities, and not reward unwanted behavior.
Despite being a slightly comical sight, rocks in your dog’s mouth can pose health risks, making it important to prevent them from holding them in their mouths.
Thankfully, there are practical steps that can easily be taken to alter this behavior and keep your good girl safe and healthy. Keep in mind that, in some cases, you may need to consult a professional to see lasting results.
So make sure you pay attention to your dog’s behaviors and help to correct them for your canine pal’s future well-being. Taking the time to know the possible reasons behind your dog carrying rocks in her mouth is the first step toward addressing the issue.
Then follow the tips I outlined and be consistent with your approach. You can teach your dog to stop picking up and holding rocks. Remember, patience and perseverance are key when tackling this issue.