Limestone is not toxic to dogs, but it doesn’t mean that it isn’t bad in other ways for dogs.
In this article, you’ll learn more about limestone and how you should manage it around your animals.
Is Limestone Bad For Dogs? (ANSWERED)
Limestone itself is not toxic to dogs, but eating rocks is a dangerous habit for them to pick up.
The jagged edges and digestion challenges alone should make any pet owner nervous.
In certain forms, the limestone or its various forms can be harmful to dogs.
There are two ways your dog can come in contact with limestone – either walking on it or eating it.
Limestone is one of the top recommended rocks for dog runs due to its variety of benefits.
What is Limestone?
Limestone is a rock that is formed at the earth’s surface level, scientifically referred to as a sedimentary rock.
Basically, that means the rock is made up of sediments like the remains of other rocks, other organisms compacted into the rock, or any kind of fossilized debris.
When that sediment is compacted into the earth, it cements itself into the limestone formations.
Limestone is made mostly of calcium carbonate or dolomite.
How Will Limestone Affect My Dog?
The good thing about limestone is that it contains no materials, minerals, or fossils that are toxic to dogs.
A cubic foot of limestone can weigh around 100 pounds.
The real danger posed to dogs is eating too many of these rocks.
Did you know dogs can have an eating disorder?
Pica is a disorder where a dog (or human) eats something that isn’t food.
Pica could explain why some dogs eat rocks.
There are many other reasons, such as:
- Teething pain
- Nutritional deficiency
- Cry for attention
- Plain old curiosity
A dog eating rocks, even a non-toxic one like limestone, can first cause a choking hazard.
Then you’ve got to worry about the potential for damage to the stomach.
What goes in must also come out, and even small rocks can cause big trouble in the unique digestive tract of a dog.
Hypercalcemia in Dogs
The biggest health risk outside of the weight and movement of the rock in the dog’s body is hypercalcemia.
This is when there is too much calcium in the body and remember – lime is loaded with calcium oxide.
While it’s rare to have this condition from eating lime or limestone, it can happen.
Signs of illness are constipation, vomiting, or other stomach issues.
A veterinarian will have to treat this dog. It’s not generally a fatal illness, but it might cost a pretty penny to get the dog healthy again.
How do I stop my dog from eating limestone?
The first step is to catch the unwanted behavior in the act.
This is a great time to practice the “leave it” or “drop it” command.
Always reward your dog with a treat when they drop the rock.
You want to reinforce good behavior, not punish bad behavior.
“Those commands are so highly beneficial,” said Mindy Tusko, dog trainer and owner of Pawsitive Results Training. “It could be life-saving for the dogs.”
Many times, the dogs are just trying to get your attention because they want you to play with them.
Respond in kind. The bonding moments are so critical.
Before you know it, the dog won’t even remember that rocks were once on the menu.
Where Else Will My Dog be Exposed to Limestone?
Crushed limestone is also used in dog runs and landscaping.
The generally light color of the rock is aesthetically appealing, it smooths out easily to avoid hurting their feet, stays cool even in the summer heat, and washes off very easily from pet stains.
When limestone undergoes intense heat, it turns into a pottle or powdery substance of lime.
This is used for a variety of construction purposes, but can also be used as a fertilizer on the grass in your yard or the local park to raise the pH level.
One warning for pet owners who also bask in the glory of a green lawn – you should avoid contact with caustic lime, also known as quick lime.
While it works faster to heal the lawn, it can be a skin irritant for your dog (and you).
When lime is powdery, inhaling it can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs of a dog.
Let the lime settle into the ground before anyone – two or four-legged – walks on it.
What is the Most Toxic Rock?
Cinnebar is a rock even experts handle with extreme caution.
Made mostly of mercury, this rock forms near volcanoes and hot springs.
You won’t find this in your local rock yard for purchase, and it’s very hard to come by in its natural form due to its toxicity.
Salt Rock IS Toxic to Dogs
If you use salt rock for de-icing the driveway in winter, you’ve got to keep a close eye on your dog.
The salt and grit mixture works well to keep the ground from becoming slippery, but those tiny crystals can get into the dog’s paws.
Then the dog licks its paws. It just takes a small amount of the pure salt mixture to make the dog sick.
If your dog comes in any contact with rock salt, wash their paws immediately.
If they do ingest any salt, look for signs of lethargy, vomiting, or excessive thirst. A trip to the veterinarian is recommended.
The Last Word on Limestone
There’s no reason not to use limestone in your landscaping or construction projects.
It’s just best to keep a curious dog away from it or focus them on more dog-appropriate activities like chasing a ball or chewing on designated toys and bones.
No good can come from a dog’s habit of eating rocks, but if they’re going to accidentally swallow one, limestone would only hurt them about as much as it would hurt you.
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