Dogs Eat Dirt for Five Reasons :
Strange things pique the interest of dogs.
Let’s see… there’s the trash… And, of course, the urine and excrement of other dogs… For some dogs, it’s also DIRT!
There’s a rationale for your dog’s dirt-eating mania, just like there’s a cause for garbage can raiders (searching for abandoned food) and pooh eaters (gross! – and yes, we covered this issue as well), so it’s not something you want to ignore.
“This might be related to obsessive-compulsive illness, mental health issues stemming from traumatic experiences in the past, or a genetically inherited behavioral problem.” This behavior is usually attributed to a small mineral or vitamin shortage, gastrointestinal discomfort or irritation, or even something as basic as the animal sniffing a food scrap on or in the ground. Take your pet to your veterinarian for a checkup if it appears obsessive or excessive, and make sure the pet’s food is balanced.”
Clearly, there are a variety of solid reasons why your dog enjoys digging in the soil, some of which are more significant than others.
Let’s take a deeper look at the options…
1. Unhealthy Food
Your dog’s digging in the earth might be a hunt for minerals, vitamins, and even healthy probiotic bacteria that he isn’t getting from his food.
It’s possible that kibble and imbalanced meals are at blame.
Pica is a condition in which dogs devour items that aren’t food. Pica disorder, for example, is when you consume dirt.
“This generally happens when a dog’s body is mineral deficient or has a nutritional shortfall or imbalance,” says the author. DVM Carol Osborne
“Dogs’ innate instinctive instincts aid in their survival, and indicators such as these should not be ignored.” “Consider a food adjustment and seek counsel from your veterinarian if the abnormal hunger persists for more than a few days,” suggests integrative veterinarian Osborne.
When owners feed poorly planned home diets, explains Laurie S Coger DVM, CVCP, dirt eating occurs.
“It generally happens when they aren’t eating bones,” Coger explains, “so it’s more of a concern with prepared diets than raw diets.” “When bones aren’t provided, the dog looks for minerals that aren’t there. Once the diet is corrected, it typically clears up quickly. This is one of the main reasons I prefer a raw diet than a cooked one. When cooking, it’s all too easy to forget about the minerals.”
2. Health problems that occur when dogs eat dirt
what is a dog lacking when it eats dirt ?
Your dog’s hunt for vitamins and minerals might indicate a medical problem such as inflammatory bowel disease or hypothyroidism.
“Intestinal inflammation can result in bowel bleeding or ulceration, both of which can contribute to anemia.” B vitamin absorption is reduced in people with IBD. So dogs with IBD may be eating dirt to gain additional minerals to aid with their anemia, according to Judy Morgan DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT. “Thyroid hormone stimulates the bone marrow’s creation of red blood cells. When thyroid hormone synthesis is reduced due to hypothyroidism, the bone marrow is less stimulated, resulting in anemia.”
Anemia can also be caused by bleeding tumors , parasites, ulcers, and chronic renal disease.
“Some tumors (particularly hemangiosarcomas) can bleed, resulting in anemia,” Morgan explains. “Anemia is caused by internal parasites such as hookworms. They cling to the lining of the intestine and suck blood. Other parasites in the intestine reduce nutrition absorption. Anemia is caused by external parasites such as fleas and ticks sucking blood.
“Blood loss from gastrointestinal ulcers leads to anemia. Because the kidneys produce erythropoietin, a hormone that encourages the bone marrow to create red blood cells, chronic kidney illness causes anemia. Anemia is caused by autoimmune illnesses in which the immune system assaults red blood cells or platelets.”
3. Delicious Dirt
what minerals are dogs lacking when they eat dirt ?
A less significant reason might be that your dog is chasing something yummy beneath the grill, such as bacon or hamburger fat.
“Whether a dog is eating dirt, the owner should inspect the area to determine if the dog is attempting to reach something.” “This might make sense if the dog kept returning to a specific location, such as behind a grill,” Morgan explains.
4. Behavioral problems
Stress and boredom cause humans to engage in odd behaviors such as hair twirling, knuckle cracking, and overeating. The same can be said for our pets, who are meant to be active and outside yet don’t always get the stimulation they need.
Consider a huge working dog who is left alone at home all day… He’ll most likely find a method to amuse himself, maybe by eating dirt.
“Some dogs, especially pups and young dogs, may just eat dirt out of boredom,” Osborne explains. “This might be due to a variety of factors, including a lack of exercise, being confined to a kennel throughout the day, insufficient playing, or a lack of healthy social connection. Remember that dogs, like people, require a work and a daily purpose, particularly with herding and high-energy types. Dogs, on the whole, appreciate tasks, so if yours is acting strange, give him something to do. Doggie day care centers provide a plethora of possibilities for socialization and canine-human connection. Furthermore, they alleviate boredom and, for the most part, are just enjoyable!”
Dogs, like people, can suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. As part of the disease, a dog with OCD may begin to eat dirt constantly. Consult your holistic veterinarian or an animal behaviorist if you feel your pet has OCD or any comparable behavior condition.
5. Stomach Distress when dogs eat dirt
“Eating dirt” may sound unusual, but certain clay may be used to aid with digestive issues, parasites, and detoxification.
Is it possible that our dogs are eating dirt to relieve or detoxify a digestive issue? It’s possible that’s the case.
“My guess is that the dog is trying to get whatever is stuck in the digestive tract to get out, either by vomiting or pushing it through,” Coger explains. “Dirt may function as a mild abrasive to scrub’ the interior of the intestines clean. It may also cause greater bowel spasms, allowing stuff to go through the digestive tract more rapidly.”
Get rid of the habit of eat dirt
While your dog’s dirt eating may have therapeutic benefits, that doesn’t imply you should ignore it. Mostly because today’s dirt is, well, filthy. However, not in the way you might expect.
“Toxins, pesticides, and poisons may be found in dirt,” adds Osborne. “Today, our environment and land, as well as most soil, are heavily contaminated. Avoid internal health risks and digestive disturbances by not allowing your dog to eat dirt.”
If boredom is the issue, remember to keep your dog busy with both work and play. For more significant behavior concerns, such as OCD, consult an animal behaviorist.
Look around to see if there are any unwelcome yummy toppings where he’s eating the dirt. When it comes to health issues, you’ll want to consult with your holistic veterinarian to determine the specific reason and treatment.
If the problem is caused by food, a dietary modification is required.
Kibble, like manufactured human food, is a long cry from what nature intended.
“Even if it was manufactured from the best quality components, the fact that processed food stays in bags for months – and even years – causes fats to go rancid and nutritional content to deteriorate,” Dr. Dobias continues in his piece.
In circumstances when a raw diet is being served without bones, adding bones may stop the dirt eating, according to Coger.
If feeding meaty bones isn’t an option, Coger suggests using bone meal or other mineral supplements. “Chicken necks, chicken backs, duck necks, chicken thighs or halves, and chicken wings are my favorite nutritious bones.” Which of these is appropriate will be determined by the size of the dog. I prefer beef ribs for leisure chewing.”
Keep in mind that dirt eating is something to be aware of and research. It might indicate a variety of things, but you need to know what it means.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Dirt
When dogs eat dirt because they are bored, ensuring that your dog receives appropriate environmental enrichment and exercise can assist your dog quit this habit. Training, playing in the yard, and going for walks or runs can all be beneficial. Agility, fly ball, or dock diving are some of the sports that dogs who demand more movement and mental stimulation may enjoy. Get your dog’s attention and refocus them with a brief game of fetch if you catch them sniffing around and ready to start eating dirt. Finally, attempt to keep the environment under control as much as possible by covering loose dirt and preventing your dog from accessing flower and mulch beds.
Eating dirt might be an odd behavior in some dogs, but it can also be a sign of a more serious issue. If your dog begins to eat dirt, have your veterinarian examine them to verify there isn’t a medical problem that is otherwise undetectable.