Is it normal for dogs to eat rocks? The Ultimate Guide

Your Dog Has a Behavioral Concern

When your dog is overly stressed or nervous, and conflicted with how to handle a situation, eating non-food items like rocks can act as a displacement behavior. These are behaviors that appear odd given the context and seem as though they would not do anything to help alleviate the negative feelings your dog is experiencing.

Common displacement behaviors include excessive panting, lip licking, shaking off when not wet, excessive self-grooming, and yes, eating unusual things quickly. A dog that demonstrates a lot of displacement behaviors is not enjoying their current situation, and owners should alleviate the stress by taking them inside the house, leaving the park, or just giving them space, offering their dog an opportunity to rest, and/or removing triggers that may be causing the stress.

Some dogs may have a significant behavioral concern that leads to their desire to consume rocks. General anxiety and compulsive disorder (like OCD) can quickly become serious, causing a dog to engage in obsessive behaviors like spinning, tail chasing, licking, or even consuming lots of odd things like pebbles and rocks. If you think your dog could have severe anxiety or a compulsive disorder, seek help from a veterinary behaviorist.

What Does It Mean When Your Dog Eats Rocks?

Canines are connoisseurs of strange things to eat. Whether its dirt, socks, undergarments, or yes, rocks, our dogs find ways to eat things that at best make us gag and at worst make us call the emergency vet. Puppies may bite, chew, and even swallow random objects accidentally when they are investigating their curious world. Adult dogs may find rocks an appetizing treat or interesting hobby for a variety of reasons—including they just like their taste and texture, boredom, behavioral issues and disorders, or an underlying medical concern.

Is it normal for dogs to eat rocks?

Credit: Aleksandar Boceski / EyeEm / Getty

STEP ONE: Visit your veterinarian promptly.

First of all, it’s important to have your vet take stock of the current situation – your dog may already have rocks in her digestive tract, blocking up the flow. If left unattended this can lead to incredible unpleasantness, with potentially fatal consequences.

After ensuring that she is not full of rocks (or other things) and in immediate danger, your vet can try to determine if any medical conditions are causing the problem. Your vet will likely take a detailed history, including your dog’s diet and general behavior, and have blood samples tested.

If your vet discovers anything of note, follow his or her directions to the letter. After doing so, you can come right back here and take up where you left off (you do have bookmarked, don’t you?)

But in a best-case scenario, your dog will not have any rocks in her belly and she’ll be completely physically healthy. This means that you can move on to step two:

Why Is My Dog Eating Rocks | Veterinarian Explains