If your Labrador has a habit of eating rocks you might want to know why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my Labrador 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.
Your Labrador might be doing it for many different reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. 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 Labrador eats rocks, stones or pebbles
Below are some common reasons why Labradors do it and what would make them more likely to be the reason why your Labrador has been doing it.
It’s not getting the right nutrients in its diet
It could be the case 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 started doing it suddenly when you started feeding it differently.
If you’re unsure if your Labrador 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.
Labradors are meant to get lots of daily exercise. 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 advised for Labradors to get at least an hour of exercise daily as healthy adults. If your Labrador 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.
It might 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. 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 Labrador 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 cause could also be that 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.
Another reason could be that it’s a coping mechanism to put up with stress. If your Labrador 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 Labrador has been doing it.
When it started eating rocks
It would help to consider when your Labrador first started eating rocks since it could be the case that it has been doing it due to an event that occurred.
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
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it at.
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 Labrador to stop eating rocks
Below are some things you can do about your Labrador 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 Labradors are meant to get a lot of exercise daily, it would help to make sure that yours is getting the right amount of exercise.
Give it other things to chew on
Another option you have is to distract your Labrador 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 and by giving it lots of toys that it can chew on instead.
Train it to come to you
You can also train your Labrador to come to you when you call it. That way when you see your Labrador 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 can’t 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 Labrador 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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