Why Does My Dog Eat Dirt? - Causes & Solutions!
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Dogs are curious animals that love to rummage around corners, bark and eat almost anything they can find. This behavior can at times be dangerous, especially if your dog ingests substances which can be harmful to its health. Among these many dangerous substances is dirt. Have you noticed your dog eating dirt? If so, this cannot be ignored. If you notice that your dog eats soil from pots or dirt off the ground, this could be a symptom of an underlying pathology.
For more about, ‘‘Why does my dog eat dirt?’’ Its causes and how to stop this dog behavior, keep reading here at AnimalWised.
Dog eating potting soil
Ingesting dirt is a fairly common behavior among dogs. Whether your dog eats soil from pots or eat dirt directly from your garden, attention needs to be paid. The main causes for a dog eating dirt include:
1. pica syndrome in dogs
Pica syndrome is one of several eating disorders that a dog can suffer from. Pica syndrome manifests as the desire to ingest non-edible substances, such as dirt. This behavior is not normal and requires veterinary attention. Pica syndrome in dogs can be caused by stress, anxiety, lack of both mental or physical stimulation, lack of socialization and more.
2. Discovery in puppies
Is your puppy eating dirt? Puppies discover the world through their senses, just like human babies. Therefore, it is not strange that a puppy will eat inedible food, such as dirt. With time, this behavior should remit.
3. Boredom and stress in dogs
A dog that spends too much time alone, lives a life that lacks environmental enrichment, is punishment or does not walk enough, can become bored, stressed and anxious. One way in which dogs try to channel and expel this pent up energy is through destructive or compulsive behavior, such as eating dirt. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss compulsive behavior in dogs.
4. Demand for attention
Dogs that receive little attention from their tutors may manifest "inappropriate behaviors" for the sole purpose of receiving attention, even if this means being punished. In these cases it is important to review your dog’s daily routine and make sure your dog is receiving enough attention from everyone in your family.
Although rare, hunger may be one of the reasons that explains "why does my dog eat dirt." To confirm that this is the reason for this behavior, make sure that you are offering your dog enough food according to its age and breed. If, however, you want to offer your pup a homemade diet, this should be done under the supervision of a veterinarian. For more, read our article where we discuss homemade food for dogs.
6. Dog eating dirt: mineral deficiency
Sometimes a dog eating dirt can also be a sign of anemia or mineral deficiency. If in addition to this pica behavior in your dog you notice that your dog suffering from fatigue, dark urine, loss of appetite and accelerated breathing, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. For more, read about hemolytic anemia in dogs here.
How to stop a dog from eating dirt
The first thing you need to do is visit your veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. A veterinarian will prescribe the appropriate management guidelines and medication according to the root cause of this behavior.
In general, however, here are some tips to help you avoid your dog eating dirt to make sure that your pup is living both a happy and healthy life:
- Preventive medicine: in addition to visiting your veterinarian regularly, do not forget to follow your dog’s regular vaccination and deworming schedule. For more, read about the importance of deworming animals.
- A daily routine: dogs like routine. Try to offer food, exercise and attention at the same times.
- Balanced diet: offering your dog a high quality balanced diet will guarantee its nutritional needs are met. Make sure the proportions of your dog’s food are correct. In the case of changing your pup’s diet, remember that this should be done gradually, over the period of one or two weeks.
- Prevent your dog from accessing dirt: keep pots away from the ground and make sure to supervise your dog when outside.
- Do not punish your dog: avoid scolding your dog when it eats dirt. As we’ve already mentioned, demand for attention is one of the main causes of this pica behavior in dogs. Make sure to only use positive reinforcement and play with your dog regularly. Discover the importance of positive reinforcement in dogs here.
Is your dog eating dirt and throwing up? In this case, there’s a possibility your dog has ingested an unsafe and toxic substance. In this case, consult your vet as soon as possible.
Why does my dog eat sand?
Dogs that live near the ocean or have access to sand may begin to eat it. This can become a serious health problem if not addressed in time. Dogs that eat sand may develop additional problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, weakness and/or excessive thirst. In addition, sand can contain small stones, plastic debris, cigarettes and other dangerous inorganic materials. The reasons that can trigger this behavior are the same which lead a dog to eat dirt. However, sand is more dangerous.
If you want to read similar articles to Why Does My Dog Eat Dirt? - Causes & Solutions!, we recommend you visit our Diet problems category.