My Puppy eats stones!
Puppies are always exploring and picking up things in their mouths. More often than not it tends to be things that are rather dangerous if swallowed. There are things you can be doing to stop puppies eating stones.
Chewing stones is a common problem, particularly with puppies. They usually grow out of this behaviour, but sometimes the habit continues into adulthood and often surgery is needed to remove them. You can see here a Labrador who ate 13 large stones!
We are not sure why stones are so attractive to chew or swallow, but it could be a throw back to their ancestory as wild coyotes and wolves are known to chew stones. However, vets do not advise you letting your dog eat them as they can break their teeth and get caught in their intestines and lead to serious health problems.
Sometimes there is an underlying health problem that makes your dog eat pebbles. It could be ill or in pain or another possibility is that it could be deficient in phosphorus, calcium or iron. Or it could just be plain boredom and the dog needs more stimulation and exercise.
So, If you have tried changing your dog’s diet, given it more exercise and attention and its still chewing stones, then it’s time to take it to the vet for a check-up as there could be a health problem. If your dog’s stomach is hard and tight, the indications are that it is full of stones that he is unable to pass. Again a necessary trip to the vet!
For puppies, the best solution is distraction. Practise getting your pup’s attention and offering praise and rewards when he looks up at you. Take a variety of toys and play with him so he learns there is an alternative to stones. Try not to tell him off as this can reinforce the behaviour.
This is also a good time to begin to introduce the ‘leave it’ command. Begin practising with a toy that your puppy is showing interest in. Hold it in one closed hand and let him sniff it. Tell him to ‘leave it’. Wait for him to turn away and then immediately praise and offer him a better reward from the other hand. Using this principle continue practising bringing in other toys that he finds more tempting. Try the technique with items on the floor as well.
Fortunately, with time and patience and plenty of playful interaction with toys this behaviour can be stopped. ‘Leave it’ training will not only help with the stones, but will also be useful to use when out walking and your dog picks up something undesirable that you need him to drop and not create a game of tug!