Puppies are generally an energetic and curious bunch. One of the ways they satisfy this curiosity and explore their new environment is by chewing and eating things. If you have noted that your young pup is eating stones, you must be wondering why and how you could stop this behaviour. Let’s delve into it.
Why do puppies eat stones?
There is no scientifically proven reason why puppies eat stones, unfortunately, but here are a few reasons your puppy could be eating stones.
Dietary deficiencies can be one reason puppies eat stones
This is one of the reasons your puppy could be eating stones. The food you are feeding your puppy could be lacking some crucial nutrients like calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. If you notice your young puppy eating stones, you might want to take a trip to the vet and have them look at what you are feeding your puppy and advise on any adjustments you might need to make.
Curious puppies have been known to start eating stones
Tasting and chewing on things is one of the ways dog explore their environment. The reason your puppy is eating stones could be that they are just curious and exploring. With time your puppy will grow out of this habit.
Some dogs, however, might carry this habit into adulthood. This is why you should try to deal with this habit whilst your puppy is still young.
They may also start eating grass – Check out this guide on why dogs eat grass here
Boredom is another reason puppes will eat stones
Puppies are very energetic. You need to make sure that your puppy is getting enough physical exercise as this helps puppies expend their energy. You can also get some toys for your puppy and take some time to play with them.
Is eating stones dangerous for your puppy?
Eating stones is dangerous to your puppy and could lead to serious health problems. These stones could lead to indigestion or a blockage of the digestive system. In some cases, these pebbles might scrape off the villi, which means your dog will have problems absorbing food. This might lead to perpetual hunger where your pup is always hungry. In some incidences, your dog might need surgery to take out the stones.
Here are some ways to help prevent puppies from eating stones
Now that you understand why puppies eat stones, here is how you can help to break this habit.
Training your dog to drop stones on command
As soon as you bring your puppy home, you need to start conditioning them to adopt desirable behaviours and drop the undesirable ones. One thing you don’t want to do when you notice your puppy eating stones is to tell them off.
Telling them off negatively reinforces the behaviour. You should try and distract your puppy with something else like a toy.
Prying the stones out of your puppy’s mouth might be a little hard initially without training. Training your dog on the “leave it” command will come in handy. To train them on this command, you should use toys they love.
Praise them when they drop the toy and give them a treat when they drop the toy. With time, you can use this command to get them to drop any stones they pick in the future. This will also mean keeping an eye on your puppy. Puppies should not be left alone outdoors.
Clear stones and pebbles from your property or fence your puppy into a stone-free area of the property.
If you can do this, it would help stop the puppy from eating the stones and pebbles. When you take them out on a walk, keep an eye on them to make sure they are not secretly picking up stones.
Have a vet look into the best diet for your puppy
As I have already mentioned, you might want to have your pup’s vet look at what you are feeding your puppy and advise on any adjustments that you might need to make
Eating stones and pebbles is a stage some puppies go through. With time, most of puppies outgrow this habit. A few puppies, especially if no training is done, may carry the habit into adulthood. Ideally, puppies will stop the habit at around 6 months old.
It is a harmful habit to the puppy, and when you notice it, you should try and stop it. Training usually helps, but you should also have a vet look at their diet and make sure you are not missing anything.