Dogs are known to consume dirt. Pica is a condition in which dogs eat non-food objects such as dirt, grass, stones, twigs, or garbage.
This is why your dog may seem forced to eat dirt, and why you should be alarmed.
Causes of Dogs Eating Dirt
Puppies deficient in essential vitamins or minerals, specifically B vitamins or iron, frequently eat soil since they believe it will provide them with something beneficial. In rare cases, your dog’s food may be the cause of nutritional imbalances that lead to unhealthy eating habits.
It’s also likely that you’re underfeeding your dog at mealtime. If either of these factors occurs, your dog may become constantly hungry, and a patch of pleasant-smelling soil may emerge as a convenient feast.
Nutritional deficiencies can be exacerbated by underlying medical issues in severe circumstances. If you believe something is wrong, make an appointment with your veterinarian and seek to resolve with a veterinary dietitian to find a new diet that is more appropriate to your dog’s needs and more acceptable to them.
On very rare occasions, dogs with anemia may love the earth because their bodies crave iron and try to get it from whatever source is available.
In an attempt to correct any deficits that are causing this illness, an anemic dog may automatically gravitate to eating dirt. The only way to detect potential anemia is through blood tests.
When your dog only eats dirt on occasion, it may be suffering from indigestion and is attempting to relieve it. If your dog has gastrointestinal problems, he or she will be more likely to eat grass.
If your dog is doing this and you haven’t found a medical explanation for it, it’s almost certainly a behavior issue.
A dog in need of increased mental and physical engagement will discover ways to kill time when its surroundings leave plenty to be desired. This can involve trying to dig up your yard and chomping on the dirt or eating bites of everything appetizing.
Dogs suffer from stress in the same way that humans do. Not all tension is negative, but when your dog is agitated, anxious, or terrified, they are so much more likely to pursue an escape from those unpleasant sensations. When an animal is unsure of what to do in a certain scenario, it may participate in displacement behaviors.
Persistent sniffing or self-grooming, rubbing when not itchy, dramatic stretching, shrugging off when not wet, or even hastily eating stuff that isn’t supposed to be in their canine meals are all symptoms of displacement behaviors.
These are just some of the reasons a dog or puppy might eat dirt or stones. But how hazardous is it for your dog’s health if they eat dirt?
Dangers of Eating Dirt
First, the dirt may contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick. In addition, the soil may be contaminated with pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals that are toxic to dogs.
If you notice that your dog is eating dirt in a jar or dirt on the ground, this may be a sign of an underlying disease.
If your dog is choosing to eat large volumes of mud, especially if the soil is quite granular, the next mud-eating concern arises.
Too much dirt or even just stone can cause intestinal blockage or choke. Although dogs usually do not eat enough dirt to cause gastrointestinal problems. In addition to potential intestinal parasites that can become infected, dogs that eat stones and dirt can develop intestinal obstruction that requires surgical removal.
How Do You Prevent Dirt-Eating?
- Spend time with your dog daily and actively observe it to reduce the risk of your dog or puppy eating dirt or stones out of boredom. Meeting your dog’s nutritional and health needs will help the do’s Holistic Veterinarian make sure it is healthy and not eating foods due to nutritional deficiencies or health concerns.
- If your dog eats dirt for any reason other than medical, with your little extra work, you should be able to control his little dirty habit.
- If your dog continues to eat significant amounts of dirt despite exercising, it is best to see your veterinarian and make an appointment to make sure there are no health or nutritional issues behind his behavior.
- Nonetheless, if you’ve spotted your dog ingesting a lot of dirt – or if it appears to be a compulsive bad habit – a simple leash education and not allowing the dog to roam about the yard unsupervised could be all that’s required.
- This helps to correct the behavior. If your dog picks up dirt in his mouth from time to time, you probably don’t have to worry about anything, but if it does become a habit, you should consider the medical and behavioral issues that may be causing them to indulge.
- You can also protect your garden from dogs by installing barriers or sprinkling mud on your dog’s cafeteria with bitter apple spray.
- If your dog often eats dirt after eating, you can try a new diet or use a digestive aid. Eating dirt may indicate that your dog is not getting enough essential minerals for health. If your dog does not get all the nutrients it needs to thrive, either because the food does not provide the nutrients it needs, or because its body does not absorb it properly, this may cause it to eat dirt.
- Your dog’s feces can also give you an idea of what they ate, including dirt. However, if your dog regularly eats dirt, this could be cause for concern.
- To safeguard your dog against intestinal parasites, bugs, insects, and heartworm disease use year-round heartworm and flea/tick treatment. Heartworm prophylaxis is only available with a prescription. The best way to retain your dog from fleas and ticks is to use an oral flea/tick preventative, which also requires a prescription.
If you see your dog eating dirt, immediately discourage this behavior as it can pose several health risks. If your dog eats dirt obsessively, try to keep them out of the area until you have taken them to the vet for a check-up.