If your Golden Retriever keeps eating rocks you might want to know why and what you can do about it. In this post, I will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever eat rocks? Possible reasons are that it is not getting the right nutrients in its diet, boredom, illness, stress or it could be an inherited trait.

There are actually many different reasons why it might be doing it. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the most probable cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Why your Golden Retriever eats rocks, stones or pebbles

Below are some common reasons why Golden Retrievers do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.

It’s not getting the right nutrients in its diet

One possible cause is that it is not eating the right diet and it is trying to get the extra nutrients from dirt and rocks. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since a change in its diet.

If you’re unsure if your Golden Retriever is getting the nutrients that it needs, you can read on nutritional guidelines at Petswebmd here. You can also read about what you should and should not feed a dog here.

Boredom

Golden Retrievers are supposed to get exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise, they will often begin to behave abnormally and it might be a part of the reason why yours has been eating rocks. This would be more likely if it does it more on days when it has not been able to get any exercise.

Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise daily as healthy adults. If your Golden Retriever is not getting that much exercise it would help to make sure that it does.

An inherited trait

It’s also thought that dogs would eat rocks, grass or gravel before they were domesticated by humans. They would do it since they wouldn’t have been able to get food as easily so they would try to get some more nutrients from the rocks or dirt. It could be that this is a trait that dogs still have today which is why they occasionally choose to eat dirt and small rocks. This could be why wild dogs are often seen eating small rocks and dirt.

Illness

It could also be the case that it has been doing it in order to relieve an upset stomach. This would be more likely if it has been showing signs of illness, it has started eating rocks suddenly and if it has been doing things such as vomit a lot. If it does seem like illness could be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

It likes the taste

It could simply be because it likes the taste of the rocks or stones. To reduce this from happening you can make sure that your Golden Retriever is getting a lot of exercise and you can give it things to divert its attention away from dirt such as toys or bones to chew on.

It smells food

The reason why it does it might be because it smells food there. This would be more likely if it eats from the ground in locations where there was food recently. For example, if it eats from the ground where a grill was recently, it would make it more likely that it smells food.

Stress

Another reason could be that it’s a coping mechanism to put up with stress. If your Golden Retriever recently had something happen that could be causing it to be stressed such as a change of environment, a change of owner or if one of your other dogs died then this could be the cause.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when trying to figure out why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.

When it started eating rocks

If your Golden Retriever did not always eat rocks, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.

If it started doing it suddenly, it would make it more likely to be due to things such as stress, a change in its diet or becoming ill. It would help to consider what else changed when it started doing it.

When it eats rocks, stones or pebbles

If there seems to be a common time that it does eats small stones, it would also help to consider what is different at that time.

If it only seems to do it when it hasn’t gotten exercise it might be doing it out of boredom. Whereas, if it does it when it has not eaten for a while then it could be the case that it is hungry.

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop eating rocks

Below are some things you can do about your Golden Retriever eating rocks.

Make sure its diet is right

As mentioned above, eating rocks could be a sign that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to discuss its diet with your local vet when you see them next. You can also read on nutritional guidelines at Petswebmd here and you can read about what you should and should not feed a dog here.

Give it exercise

Since Golden Retrievers are meant to get a lot of exercise daily, it would help to make sure that yours is getting the right amount of exercise. It is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.

Give it other things to chew on

Another option you have is to distract your Golden Retriever from eating rocks. You can do this by giving it other things that will keep it occupied such as by giving it lots of toys to play with, chews and bones.

Train it to come to you

You can also train your Golden Retriever to come to you when you call it. That way when you see your Golden Retriever eating rocks or when it is about to eat them you can call it to come to you which will help you to reduce the amount of dirt that it is able to eat.

Take it to a vet

If you cannot figure out why it has been eating rocks, it has been doing it excessively or it has been showing signs of being ill, the best option would be to seek the guidance of a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever and to rule out medical causes.

Reduce its access to rocks

It would also help to reduce its access to rocks whenever possible. You can do this by preventing it from being able to access certain areas of the yard or by monitoring it when it is in the yard.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.