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Why Do Dogs Eat Rocks? Is Your Westie Eating Rocks?

Why do dogs eat rocks? Have you noticed that when your Westie is outside or in the backyard, they are picking up rocks and chewing on them?

This is more common than you may realize.

Dogs love chewing on things. Whether that is toys, your socks, or whatever they can find.

Why do dogs eat rocks? Westie sitting on a big rock in a park

Many dogs love to explore the backyard or garden, and they may like to pick up rocks and chew them, but this can be dangerous.

Swallowing rocks can pose issues in the gastrointestinal tract, especially for small dogs like Westies.

Rocks can also damage the teeth and gums, so this is a problem that you may need to rectify.

So why do they do it?

Why Do Dogs Eat Rocks Or Dirt?

Dogs can often pick up anything and everything that they find.

If your Westie is eating rocks then this can be due to a psychological problem, behavioral issue, or a medical problem.

For instance, when some dogs repeatedly and obsessively eat objects that are not edible, this can be caused by a medical issue called pica.

This is an eating disorder that is often caused by a nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet.

>> How Much Food Should a Westie Eat? And How Often?

For example, if your dog is lacking in vitamins and minerals, then they may turn to eating rocks or dirty to try and get those minerals in their system.

Other reasons may be that your Westie has an internal medical issue going on.

This could be worms, tumors, parasites or diabetes.

When your dog is unwell, it may resort to eating odd objects to try and deal with the pain, stress, or discomfort.

Dogs that are anxious or frustrated may also pick up rocks and chew on them to get out this frustration and feeling.

For many dogs, they may chew and eat rocks simply because they want your attention.

For instance, if you chase after them to try and get the rock out of their mouth, then they may think that this is a fun game, and will eat rocks whenever they want your attention or when they want you to chase them again and play with them.

For many dogs and puppies, they may pick up rocks simply because it is fun, or feels good to chew on.

Dogs are inquisitive creatures, and will explore their surroundings by putting things in their mouths.

Westie sniffing rocks and dirt in park

They are also attracted to smells, and certain rocks may smell interesting to them, or have markings from other animals on them.

For the majority of dogs, eating rocks is a way to ease boredom.

Even if you play with them often, walk them often, rocks can be fun for them.

Westies in particular need a lot of playtime, so eating rocks can be something that they do when they have nothing else to do.

Is It Okay For Dogs To Eat Rocks?

The answer is No. It is not okay to let your dog eat rocks.

Rocks can be incredibly dangerous and hazardous for dogs.

Rocks can break your dog’s teeth, damage the gums, or even cause gastrointestinal problems.

If your dog swallows rocks, then these could cause choking, or a blockage in the digestive system, which could require emergency surgery or have disastrous consequences.

It is important that you do not allow your Westie to eat rocks at all.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Rocks

If you have watched your dog eat a rock, and tried to stop them, then move quickly.

Try and get the rock out of their mouth if they have not swallowed it yet.

If you think that they have ingested the rock, then it is best to call the veterinarian immediately for advice, or take your Westie to the vet as soon as possible.

The veterinarian can also give you advice as to why the dog is eating the rocks.

This can help you narrow down the cause, and prevent this from happening in the future again.

They may recommend a different diet, medication, or refer you to a behavioral specialist for help.

How To Stop Your Dog Eating Rocks

The first step is to practice basic obedience training.

You need to teach your dog to ‘leave’ and to ‘drop’.

>> Best Online Training For Dogs – Tried And Tested

This is the best way to get your Westie to leave the rocks alone, and to drop the rocks when commanded to, to prevent them from eating them.

The ‘drop’ command teaches your dog to release any rocks from its mouth before it is too late, while the ‘leave’ command can teach your dog that picking up rocks is not a behavior that you want.

Practice these commands in your free time, not just when your Westie is picking up rocks, so that it becomes a learned behavior.

Westie dog training at home

Ensure that you provide positive reinforcement and treats when your dog successfully completes these commands.

You can also reward your Westie with affection and attention when they ‘drop’ or ‘leave’ it.

You can also ensure that your dog is not acting out of boredom or because it wants attention.

Ensure that your Westie is having plenty of exercise, playtime, training, and mental stimulation.

>> How Often Do Westies Need Walking?

Play games together, and provide brain-training toys to help your Westie remain mentally and physically stimulated.

This will help you build a stronger bond, and limit unwanted behaviors.

Finally, it could be worth removing the rocks from your backyard to limit the problem, or only allow your Westie outside under supervision so that you can stop them and prevent them from eating rocks.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, your Westie may eat rocks for a number of reasons.

This could be due to a nutrient deficiency, boredom, for attention, or due to a medical issue such as an eating disorder.

You must remember that eating rocks is not harmless fun for dogs. Rocks can tear the gums, break teeth and cause blockages in your dog’s digestive system.

Your pooch could also choke on the rocks, so you have to prevent and limit this behavior.

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