Help… My Dog Ate A Rock! What To Do If Your Dog Eats Stones Or Pebbles

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When my dogs were about a year old, I noticed one of them was eliminating river stones.

River stones are smooth stones that are flat and 1 to 2 inches in diameter.  This freaked me out a bit, but I remained calm and kept a close eye on him to make sure that he didn’t get sick from swallowing a few stones.

Well, he did get sick.  When he became lethargic and refused to eat, I took him to the doctor who x-rayed him only to find that he had 2 river stones stuck in his intestines.

Here’s what 13 rocks in a dog’s stomach looks like on an x-ray, and details about the surgery it took to remove them.

My dog survived the operation, and my wallet survived the $1,000 bill.

After that, I removed all of the decorative river stones from my yard and flowerbeds.  Fortunately, these rocks do not occur naturally in my area, and I had put them there, so it was easy to remove them all and dispose of them.

My dog is not the first dog to have a few stones for lunch…

Dogs, especially when bored, are apt to eat indigestible objects.

This behavior is called pica and it occurs in some children as well as animals.

Why dogs eat rocks is anyone’s guess.

There are a number of possibilities that range from medical to behavioral. Chewing rocks may be one way for an attention-starved dog to be noticed … In this instance, the dog may even be acting out of boredom, anxiety or frustration. There may also be medical reasons behind the behavior.  Source: PetPlace

One sign that your dog has been chewing on rocks for awhile is blunted and shortened teeth.


If Your Dog Eats Rocks, Stones, Or Pebbles…

If you notice that your dog has ingested rocks or pebbles, here are 5 things you should do:

  1. Watch your dog’s activity level check their poop to make sure they have eliminated the object.
  2. Feel your dog’s tummy — gently but firmly — for signs of more stones.
  3. Watch your dog closely for any sign of lethargy or distress. If so, take your dog to the vet immediately.
  4. If you have any question as to whether your dog has any more rocks in his body, take your dog to the veterinarian for an x-ray and exam.  It’s the only way you will know for sure.
  5. If the veterinarian finds more rocks in the dog’s body, he will discuss all of the options available to you.


Eating Rocks Can Be Fatal

When my dog ate the river stones, the doctor informed us that he had a 50/50 chance of living.

He had apparently eaten quite a few rocks over a course of time without us noticing, and part of his intestine had died.

The surgery the vet performed actually removed a length of intestine, as well as the rocks. Fortunately, he recovered without incident.  In the worst-case scenario however, a dog that has eaten rocks could die.

Sometimes, the rocks can be surgically removed from a dog’s intestines. Other times, chewing on rocks could be deadly.


How To Keep Your Dog From Eating Rocks

If you notice that your dog has a bad habit of eating things he shouldn’t, you should take extra steps to prevent him from eating rocks and other dangerous items.  I like to think of it as dog proofing.

You should dog proof your home and dog-proof your yard in the same way that you would baby proof your home and baby-proof your yard.  Get down to their level and explore.  If you see anything of danger to the animal, then remove it or take steps to keep your dog out of that area.


Other Strange Things Dogs Eat

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I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future -- which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.

6 thoughts on “Help… My Dog Ate A Rock! What To Do If Your Dog Eats Stones Or Pebbles

  1. eating stones and small stone particles or mud etc is a sign of lower level of calcium in their body ! consult ur vet to find out the best medicine for ur dog ! it comes in the form of a tablet and liquid.

    1. Luis – I think you’re referring to a different article. This one:

      To answer your question… if you read the notes carefully, you’ll see that liver is only harmful in LARGE AMOUNTS. The reason it appears on both lists is because people see liver routinely used in dog food products and are likely to assume that it is completely safe. I wanted to caution readers that LARGE AMOUNTS of liver is not safe for dogs. You can see more details if you click on the links next to the word “liver” in that article.

  2. Help dog doesn’t eat the stones…he just constantly pushes them around and holds the biggest one he can possibly fit in his mouth for hours. He always has one in his mouth and carries it around wherever he goes. Occasionally he drops it then pushes it around so he can chase it. This behavior started as a 6 month old…he is now 3 and a half. I have tried everything. ..please..does anyone have a suggestion? He is breaking teeth and it’s costing a fortune at the vets…thanx

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  4. Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

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