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Elena Marie
Elena Marie, Rescue Work With Cats and Dogs
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 155
Experience:  Experienced 40 Yrs. W/Cats, Dogs. Knowledge of Medical Problems, Diseases, and Behavior of Animals.
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dogs: pea gravel..eatting the rocks..are picking up this behavior

Customer Question

I manage a day care and boarding facility called Camp Bow Wow. Our yards are covered in pea gravel and we are now having problems with our dogs eatting the rocks. This is starting to become a problem because more and more dogs are picking up this behavior. My question is, how do we keep the dogs from eatting the rocks? We are unable to keep toys in the play areas because of a franchise rule and for saftey from toy aggressive dogs so simple distraction is not really an option. Please help this is becoming a great concern for us, it's just a matter of time before someone eats a rock and gets obstructed.
     Thanks,
       Camp Bow Wow
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Elena Marie replied 11 years ago.

Probably the only logical solution would be to get rid of the pea gravel, depending upon how large an area it is, and if you have the money to have the gravel removed and replaced with something else that is safer. Even if you put dirt over the gravel, and grow grass, the dogs will dig and then eat the gravel anyway.


How large an area are you talking about? I imagine that the areas are fairly large, so this may not be an option. Putting something on the gravel would probably only cause the dogs to get sick, unless it was something that would be non-toxic.


This habit is called "Pica" and it is really hard to break an animal from doing something like this, once they start. Cats and dogs both, can have this type of behavior (as well as humans).


http://www.usask.ca/wcvm/herdmed/applied-ethology/behaviourproblems/picabeh.html


http://www.azcentral.com/families/articles/1224wvpetadvice1224Z3.html


The above sites may help answer some questions and help with finding a solution, except for the total removal of the pea gravel.


God bless and good luck!

 
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Elena Marie's Post: I received your response to my question but it seems just a little "inconcevable" as far as taking the pea gravel out. Putting grass in would be extreamly costly and it would take a lot of up keep and would really be impossible to keep alive. I don't know of any non-toxic taste deterents that can be applied to the gravel or if it would even last long enough to find out if it works. I've tried spraying bitter apple on what seems to be the "problem areas" but it never last long enough to make a lasting impression. The links that you sent me have ways to deter one dog away from doing this but group behaviors are harder to control. And unfortunatly this is the only time i have contact with these dogs and i don't know whether or not these dogs are displaying these behaviors for their parents. I need a way to deter the group not just one dog. If you have any other advice please help me out if not don't worrie every vet I've talked to says their is nothing O can do to stop this behavior.
        Thanks again,
              Camp Bow Wow
Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.
How about trying a thick layer of larger rock (e.g. too big to easily eat) in a test area to see if that stops the behavior?



You should also find out if any other facilities have this problem -- if so, how have they addressed it?



Good Luck!



Steve










Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Oreport's Post: The larger rocks are even more of a problem. First, the dogs are chewing on larger rocks which is damaging their teeth. Second, the large amounts of the larger rocks tend to not give as much when they are playing on them and the dogs pads are being brused and in some cases torn or punctured. Because Camp Bow Wow is a franchise I have talked to many other locations about this and most aren't experiencing this but the few that are are in the same boat as us. Not knowing what to do. Sorry this is such a difficult answer to come up with I'm pretty educated as far as dogs go but I've been pondering this problem for quite some time now and needed some outside opinion just incase I'm overlooking the obviouse.
   Thanks agian,
       Steve
Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.

What kind of ground cover do other locations have (those not having problems)?



Have you concidered trying shredded rubber?  It's made from old tires and is used in road construction.



Thanks in advance.



Steve


 






Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Oreport's Post: The other locations have very similar coverage in their yards, the difference is we've been open for almost 4 years now and the other locations have been open for less them a year. A theory that has crossed my mind is that the accumulation of fecal resedue has put a taste to the gravel that they find irrestible. As far as putting shredded rubber down things like that don't last long befor being eattin. The dogs chew up everything we've experimented with various types of covers and the pea gravel works the best. We've tried wood chips (eatten), rubber (eatten) now were to rocks and they are starting to eat that too. most dog toys are made from rubber and i think that they can't disassocciate toys from the rubber covering the ground.
Expert:  Steve -- a.k.a. Oreport replied 11 years ago.

Try contacting a decorative rock manufacturer/supplier or
nursery/landscape supplier to see if they have or know of any pet
deterrant (and/or odor neutralizing) coatings/products.



Other than the cost involved (since you may end up with no other
options) -- is there anything prohibiting a hard surface like asphalt or
concrete?



Thanks in advance.



Steve


 






Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Oreport's Post: I will try contacting a rock supplier to see if they have any options. As far as adding concreat or asphalt when the dogs are outside they go to the bathroom, the pea gravel lets us pick up their waste with ease and it also lets us spray the yards with enzym based chemicals that fight the odor and kills germs. Asphalt would just be to hot and concret would have to be smooth which means with water (rain/snow) involved the dogs would slip around and cause joint and muscle stretches. If it was rough the dogs pads would surly be torn or rubbed raw. Plus the dogs will be playing rough on the surface which would cause injuries in its self.
        Thanks,
            Steve
Expert:  Elena Marie replied 11 years ago.

Hi Again,


Could you check out the following websites, and maybe, something like this stuff they sell for flooring, might be an idea, or give you some ideas. This sure is a problem I can understand and I will search for more ideas, if I can find any and let you know.


http://www.optionsplus.com/kennelflooring.htm


http://www.yourfencestore.com/dogs/instantkf.htm


http://www.yourfencestore.com/dogs/vetchoiceplatform.asp


http://www.jnkproducts.com/Kennel_floor_liner.htm


http://lambriarvet.com/Flooring.php


God bless and good luck!

       
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Elena Marie's Post: These are some good ideas for indoor flooring. I'm talking about out doors exposed areas where dogs are running around playing and wrestling on them. So having a hard surface like the ones you offered in the websites would cause injuries as they wrestle on them. With snow and rain applied to these floors they will be slippery and we have many dogs with hip displacia, so slippery surfaces are a concern for us as well. The cost of trying to apply a permanate hard surface to our yards you cost a small fortune and would cause us to close and we have never closed since we've opened. Sorry but this just won't do, I know I'm being difficult but it's my duty to think out these problems to the fullest extent. The dogs' safty is my number one concern so I need a solution that is safe and affordable for every camper we have.
    Sorry again,
        Steve
P.S. I really do appreciate the help though.
Expert:  Elena Marie replied 11 years ago.

The flooring on those websites were also for outdoor use. It depends on how large an area you have, I suppose. Maybe you could take up a collection from the dogs' owners that board their dogs on a regular basis with you, and try to get some help with the cost of putting down sod, or flooring over the pea gravel, or else removing the pea gravel, and putting in larger rocks as Steve Oreport suggested, I believe?


If the owners are as concerned about their dogs eating the pea gravel, as you are, and quite understandably so, then I would think that you could try to get them to donate towards a good and worthy solution for the safety of their dogs while they board them with you?


Hopefully you can find some kind of solution. Putting in separate large kennels with the special flooring might be an option? Make some signs, and ask the pet owners for advice also. That might help.


God bless and good luck!

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