Reasons Why Dogs Eat Rocks or Pebbles

Updated on February 18, 2016

Wild coyotes and wolves chew stones. However most vets don't advise letting your dog eat stones as they can break their teeth, get caught in their intestines, and lead to serious health problems.

Here are some reasons your dog might be eating pebbles and what you can do about it:

  • It is deficient in phosphorus, calcium, or iron or it could possibly have an enzyme deficiency.

Your vet can test for deficiencies and tell you the best supplements to give it.

  • It might have worms in the stomach.

Deworm it. Even if this isn’t the reason, you should be deworming regularly.

  • Your dog may be ill or in pain.

Again, this means a trip to the vet to get your dog checked out

  • It could merely be bored and need exercise.

This problem is easily fixed. Buy it some chew toys and take it for more walks and playtime.

  • It could be lonely.

I would say this should be an easy one to figure out too. Try spending more time with your dog and see how the problem changes.

  • It may have a condition called pica.

This is a mental health problem that causes people or animals to compulsively eat non-food items. Homeopathy, acupressure, acupuncture and herbs have helped some dogs who suffer from pica. Your vet will need to diagnose this issue and can give you tips on dealing with it.

  • It could have a disorder of the intestinal tract.

A vet can check to find out if this is the case.

  • It could have diabetes mellitus.

This can also be tested for at the vet.

  • Your dog may be suffering from bloat.

This is a serious disease and dogs can die from it if it’s not treated. It might be bloat if your dog's stomach is hard and tight. Go to the vet immediately.

  • I've seen some people say that chewing on or eating small stones helps clean dogs' teeth.

Charcoal, the pure, non-treated stuff, can work for cleaning teeth as well.

Other Tips

  • If you've tried changing the dog's diet, exercising it more, and giving it more attention, and it's still eating rocks, then it's time to take it to the vet to see if there's an underlying condition.
  • You could also try removing stones and rocks from your property if it seems the problem just won't go away.
  • If your dog's stomach is hard and tight, you need to get to the vet right away.


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    • profile image

      nice to know its not just my dog and great info thanks for sharing and caring 8 months ago

      thanks again will have my dog looked at just to sure

    • profile image

      jenny round 10 months ago

      i have a 3 mth old puppy and she ears stones licks concrete and dirt she vomits the stones up sometimes she gets my full attention and has lots of toys and plenty of exercise i cant leave her tho she goes crazy

    • profile image

      Angela 5 years ago

      Good information

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks Thought Sandwiches ... lol what a shame the hub came so long after it was needed.

      Glad to have you as a follower. Im already following you as you have some interesting hubs out there. I especially like the ones on freelance writing.

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image

      ThoughtSandwiches 6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Hi Lyn.Stewart...This hub would have totally vindicated me in a bar bet I had (like) 10 years ago when I said, "Dogs eating rocks is bad." "Nooo...." they said...

      Thank you for adding to the literature in a rational fashion! So...don't mind me...I'm following you now...

      Oh...great hub with all the appropriate actions taken on my part as regards voting and such.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you kashmir56 ... It's all worth it if I help one dog really.

      lets hope to help lots though.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Lyn thanks for sharing this great information and tips,it will help anyone who has just got a new dog .

      Vote up !!!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Ahhh. I am glad that you’re finally starting to get through to her. I believe she couldn't have found a better home.

      She needs someone who will be gentle and loving to her and it will sadly take years for her to "come back" from where she is safe.

      You truly are exactly what she needs. Thank you for not giving up on her and for taking her into your heart.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

      Honestly, I had decided that she must be the dog equivalent of autistic because she exhibited very detached behaviors and seemed not to care at all about pleasing me or connecting with me. It has just been in the last 6 weeks that she has begun to come out of that shell. She must have been through hell where ever she was before she arrived at my gate. I think she probably eats dirt because she's still afraid there might not be enough food (even though there is food out all the time). I think she will eventually trust that food will be there whenever she wants it. She eats dirt whenever she happens to be outside. As far as doing or not doing things she has been warned against - this seems to have no effect on her. She is a completely autonomous dog!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      I hope she will finally stop eatting dirt as well.

      It is possible she has an underlying slight mental health condition from the neglect she obviously lived with. Eating dirt probably kept her alive and became a habbit.

      At least she is getting lots of love and possative attention now days. perhaps take note of when she eats dirt ... is it after she has been told off that she eats dirt?

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

      I have a little dog who showed up at my gate starving to death and dragging a big chain. She had developed the habit of eating dirt. Even though she is no longer starving (having gone from 6 pounds to 22!) she still eats dirt when I'm not looking! It has taken 3 years for her to begin to relax and recover from whatever she went through before she came to me. I'm hoping she will eventually give up on eating dirt. Voted up and useful!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you for your kind words crystolite

      Thanks Ingenira I personally have never had a dog who does this but at least if one of my dogs start I now know what to test for.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      I have never heard of dogs eating stones before. Glad to know this, and thank you for sharing it on Hubpages.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Nice and well articulated piece of work that really spoke wisdom and educative words,thanks for sharing this work.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you I havn't seen any posts and couldn't find any full facts online so I went and asked a vet friend of mine as I believe this is info people need to know.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Lyn. some great tips on why your dog may eat stones.I will share.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 7 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      If you want to chat about this or add anything please feel free to post a comment