People eat some pretty strange things, you have to admit. But when your dog gets a craving for rocks, or sticks, or dirt, or something else that’s not food, you have to wonder what’s going through their heads. This condition in dogs is called “pica” and it’s probably best if you try to put an end to it as soon as possible after you notice it. While the items your dog is eating may not be toxic, they can most certainly cause an obstruction inside of the intestines, which can cause all sorts of problems.
The eating of rocks and sticks is most common in young pups, where it’s also going to be most easily discouraged. What exactly brings on this strange behavior isn’t understood well, but most professionals agree that it has something to do with stress and anxiety. Some dogs who aren’t getting enough attention will also resort to pica just to catch your eye.
Getting them to stop can often be difficult and time consuming, but it’s in their best interest to leave the rocks off the menu. Make sure that they have enough real dog food to eat and also that they have ample chew toys around. If they’re occupied with their harmless chew toys, then they can’t spend time eating rocks. If you must, make sure that you remove the offending items from their environment. If at all possible, clear the rocks and twigs out of the back yard. You might also try spraying the offending items with a solution of water/vinegar/cayenne pepper.
Be sure to give your dog adequate praise when he/she forgoes the rocks and takes up a chew toy instead. A reward for doing the right thing is always the way to go.