Surely on more than one occasion you have thrown a branch or a stone at your dog so that it can go looking for it, as if it were the most innocent game in the world. It is a bad habit that all or almost all of us have committed, since the ideal is to throw a ball, toy or frisbee at them, toys that cannot cause any harm.
My dog eats stones and also sticks (branches), the truth is that he even eats dirt or sand. This is what most of our friends and companions on dog walks tell us … What they don’t know is how dangerous this can be, not only for their oral health but also for their digestive system.
Let’s see what are the main reasons why a dog eats sticks or stones, what dangers it entails and how to avoid these bad habits.
What dangers are there if my dog eats stones or branches?
Many, many that surely when you finish reading this article you will never throw a stone or a stick at your dog again.
When dogs eat stones, there are two great dangers, the first is that they injure their mouth or wear their teeth (wear is very common in dogs used to eating stones). Often these problems cause infections or even the need for surgeries to solve the problems caused by this bad habit.
The second danger is that the stones are choked, many dogs do it, after biting them for a while or playing with them, consciously or unintentionally, they end up swallowing the stones or part of them. This can cause serious damage to your digestive system, and may even lead to the death of the animal.
Edged stones produce wounds and tears in your throat, stomach, and intestines. Smooth stones can cause major obstructions, the accumulation of stones or sand causes major digestive problems, capable of ending the life of our beloved dog.
The same happens with the sticks, when chewing them the chips can cause serious problems in your mouth, throat and intestines. Surely you will have seen on some occasions how your dog defecates pieces of stick after having been playing with one.
These are undoubtedly highly inadvisable habits for your dog, due to the enormous problems that can cause them.
So…. Why does my dog eat stones and branches?
The reasons why a dog eats stones, sticks, sand, mud, etc … can be multiple, here we leave you a list of the most common so that you can evaluate and contrast them with the situation of your dog:
- Medical disorder known as “itches”: It occurs both in humans and animals, it consists precisely in that, eating stones, sticks, sand, etc … without any sense. It is a harmful behavior classified as disease.
- Teething period: If our dog is still a puppy, it is normal that he wants to eat and bite a lot of things, especially when he is shedding his teeth, which is known as teething period. We must prevent him from doing this and teach him to bite his toys, which should not pose a danger.
- Boredom or stress: A bored or stressed dog can have unpredictable, strange, and obsessive behaviors. Since eating pieces of the wall of the house has eating stones and sticks on the street. Every healthy dog needs daily care and attention, including an adequate dose of exercise to avoid precisely these situations.
- Lack of nutrients or enzymes: It is medically proven that some dogs with nutritional or enzyme deficiencies lick or eat stones. This should be discussed with a veterinaryn if you think it may be the reason why your dog has become fond of the stones.
- Bad behavior / habit: Many owners do not see the danger in playing with stones or sticks, they use them daily during the walk with their dogs, thinking that in this way they have fun (fetching the stick or stone). It is a very bad habit, the ideal is to play with balls, frisbees, or toys specially designed for dogs, never with sticks or stones.
- Disease: Some dogs with stomach pains eat stones, in a way because they feel a little relief, although they are obviously not aware that it will harm them more than benefit. It is a veterinaryn who must feel our dog and determine if he suffers from any digestive illness or disease that motivates him to eat stones.
How to prevent a dog from eating stones and / or branches?
Simply observing it, going for a walk with a dog is not letting it go and just letting it run. We must control it at all times, as if it were a small child, this does not mean that we must keep it tied or not give it freedom, we simply must observe it.
If we see him pick up a stick or a stone, we should scold him to let it go. If not the sole, obviously we must find a way to take it off and scold him to associate that picking up a stone is not right.
A great way to prevent a dog with this bad habit from eating stones is to buy him a frisbee or a ball. We can throw the frisbee or the ball so that he gets used to picking it up, instead of the stones. Over time, a little bit of training with your dog And with some scolding when you try to pick up a stone, you will learn to have healthier habits.
Important, never use violence with your dog, scolding him is just that, “joking” or saying “no”, never, ever, use physical force (violence).
Doing physical exercise with your dog, such as going for a run with him, cycling with him, on skates or scooters, etc … is a great way to prevent the dog from getting bored and also keep it in shape.
Playing with him is super important, it is a very healthy way to strengthen relationships and enjoy the moment (both). You can play to tickle him, chase him, run around the park a bit, etc….
What should I do if my dog swallows a stone or stick?
You must go to the vet on a mandatory basis. It is possible that your dog excretes it with its feces but it is also possible that it causes damage to its digestive system or intestines, which produces a plug or any type of ulcer. Are you going to gamble to see what happens? Do not do it, go to a vet and have a simple ultrasound evaluate the severity of the case.