Why Your Rottweiler Eats Rocks and What to Do


If you have noticed that your Rottweiler has started chewing or eating rocks, then you are not alone.

Although it is not a normal behavior, it is more common than you would expect.

But what reasons lie behind the behavior, and what can you do to stop it?

Medical conditions, including worms, can cause rock-eating. Rottweilers also eat rocks when they have pica, a behavioral disorder often arising from nutrient deficiencies. In addition, your Rottweiler is anxious, frustrated, or bored, it can turn to rock-eating. Puppies chew rocks to alleviate teething pain.

In this article, we furnish you with several reasons why your Rottweiler may be eating rocks and how to address the behavior depending on the cause.

Rottweiler puppy and rocks

Should You Be Worried if Your Rottweiler Is Eating Rocks?

If the extent of your Rottweiler’s rock-related behavior is to bring you rocks and stones to throw for them, then you probably have nothing to worry about. However, you should still substitute with a ball or another toy.

If your Rottweiler occasionally chews on a rock for a few minutes before moving onto a different activity, you do not have much to worry about, either.

Give them a more appropriate chew toy and watch to ensure the rock-chewing does not increase in frequency.

When the chewing behavior becomes a frequent occurrence, or when your Rottweiler actually starts to swallow pieces of rock or whole rocks, then the case is quite serious.

At this juncture, you should seek professional help or make a concerted effort to stop the behavior.

Dangers of Rock-Eating for Rottweilers

Persistent chewing on rocks can wear down your Rottweiler’s teeth or cause them to break, which can be painful and may interfere with their eating.

Rocks and stones can also damage gums, which causes pain and may become infected.

If your Rottweiler swallows shards of rocks and stones, these can perforate your dog’s gastrointestinal tract at any stage.

This means that, even if the rock makes it through the esophagus and stomach without causing damage, it can puncture the bowels.

The risks of perforation include internal bleeding and widespread visceral infections.

Depending on the severity of the perforation, you might not know anything is wrong until it has developed into a big problem.

Large rocks can also become wedged in the esophagus, causing your Rottweiler to choke. If you are not around to assist when this happens, your Rottweiler can die.

Rottweilers Sometimes Eat Rocks if They Have a Medical Condition

Some medical conditions can cause your Rottweiler to take up rock eating.

Rottweilers with an undiagnosed parasitic worm infection, anemia, gastrointestinal issues, or diabetes can turn to rock-eating to alleviate discomfort and pain or in a natural attempt to remedy a deficiency.

How to Stop This Rock-Eating Behavior

To stop the rock-eating behavior associated with a medical condition, you will need to treat the medical condition first and foremost.

If your Rottweiler has started eating rocks, your first port of call must be the veterinarian to rule out a medical cause.

Rottweilers Sometimes Eat Rocks Because They Have Pica

Pica is a psychological condition. It is the obsessive ingestion of non-food items. If your Rottweiler is eating rocks, sand, dirt, grass, wood, plastic, etc., it can indicate pica.

While pica is an obsessive psychological behavior, it can be triggered by a physical condition, such as a nutrient deficiency.

How to Stop This Rock-Eating Behavior

If your Rottweiler is eating rocks because it has pica, then you should seek veterinary advice.

If there is a nutrient deficiency, discuss a good and balanced food that you can ease your Rottweiler onto.

You will also need to break the habit.

Be very strict about immediately taking rocks away from your Rottweiler whenever you see it. You can substitute it for a toy or a treat; just make sure that your dog doesn’t associate chewing rocks with being rewarded.

It would also be beneficial if you removed temptation from their environment, at least for a time.

So, if you have a gravel drive, then keep your Rottweiler in the backyard. If you have a stone garden, put up a temporary fence. If you have potted plants with stone decorations, then remove the stones until your Rottweiler has kicked the habit.

Rottweilers Can Eat Rocks When They Are Anxious or Frustrated

Chewing on anything is a common sign that your Rottweiler is feeling anxious or frustrated. Your Rottweiler might just have chosen rocks as their go-to stress-relieving chew toy.

Look out for other signs of anxiety or frustration, which would indicate that this is the cause of the rock-chewing.

VCA Hospital has published this helpful article on recognizing anxiety in dogs.

How to Stop This Rock-Eating Behavior

Rock-eating that originates as a response to anxiety or frustration will only be stopped by treating the underlying cause of anxiety or frustration.

Once you recognize the stressors, you can work on eliminating them or at least mitigating them.

For example, if your Rottweiler chews rocks during thunderstorms, then provide them with plenty of distractions when a storm rolls in.

Give them safe place away from windows, pull the curtains closed and turn on the lights so that the lighting does not bother them.

Also, turn on the TV or radio to drown out the noise and substitute their rock for a peanut butter jar, Kong, or tasty bone.

Our go-to has always been a Kong. These toys have been around forever, and are pretty much indestructible. If you put some peanut butter in the middle, it will safely occupy your dog for quite some time.

Rottweilers Can Eat Rocks When They Are Bored

Boredom is another common cause of rock-eating. Your Rottweiler simply does not know what to do with itself, so it makes a game of rock-chewing.

It’s just the same as if your Rottweiler were to chew up your slippers when left alone for the whole day, only more dangerous.

How to Stop This Rock-Eating Behavior

When your Rottweiler chews rocks out of boredom, it’s a clear sign for you to up the enrichment level in their lives.

Take them for walks, buy or make them toys, play games with them, do training or canine sports, etc.

Rottweilers Can Eat Rocks When They Are Teething

When Rottweiler puppies are teething, the pain makes them want to chew everything, and rocks are effective because of how hard they are.

Is It OK for a Puppy Rottweiler to Chew on Stones?

While your puppy chewing on rocks is better for your furniture and cheaper than buying toys, it can be very dangerous, as we have already mentioned.

So, it is NOT OK for your Rottweiler puppy to chew on stones or rocks.

How to Stop This Rock-Eating Behavior

The simplest way to stop your Rottweiler puppy from chewing on rocks and stone while they are teething is to provide them with chew toys or bones to gnaw on instead.

Final Thoughts

If your Rottweiler grabs a rock or stone for you to throw for them, they are not looking to eat the rock; they just want to play fetch. Substitute the rock for a ball, and they should be fine.

However, if you notice your Rottweiler persistently seeking out rocks and then lying down and chewing them, then this can indicate a problem.

The problem becomes particularly dangerous if they swallow the rocks or stones.

Whether the rock-eating is caused by pica, a medical condition, frustration, anxiety, boredom, or teething pain, it is not a behavior that should be allowed to continue.

Use the recommended solutions set out in this article to help your Rottweiler give up the stones.

If you feel overwhelmed or unsure, seek help from a veterinarian or a dog behaviorist.

Hunter Reed

I've owned and trained German Shepherds and a variety of other large and medium breed dogs for over 20 years now - Labradors, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pit Bull Terriers - just to name a few. Myself, along with my team of highly experienced canine professionals, strive to bring you the best and most useful information to help you raise your dog the right way. Read my story here.

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