Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt? 

Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt? 

As a pet owner, you may have seen your dog eating some pretty weird things. Most dogs eat dirt out of boredom or curiosity. Other times, dogs may ingest soil because they simply like the taste or sensation. However, if you find your pet eating dirt compulsively, something more serious may be going on.

What Is Lacking When a Dog Eats Dirt?

If you find that your dog is eating dirt compulsively, it may be due to pica, or an obsessive desire to eat substances not normally ingested. Your dog's dirt-eating habits could be an indication that they are lacking minerals, vitamins or good probiotics in their diet. If your dog's nutrition comes from dry processed foods with limited digestive enzymes, they may try searching for minerals and nutrients elsewhere, such as dirt or soil. 

Why Your Dog Is Eating Dirt All of a Sudden 

Young dogs will go through an exploration phase where they want to put almost everything into their mouths. Despite this behavior, you must not encourage dirt-eating in your pet. Sometimes, older dogs may eat dirt because they think it's the same as a treat.  Other reasons your dog may start eating dirt all of a sudden include:
  • A behavioral problem
  • A health condition
  • Not exercising enough

Is It Bad for a Dog to Eat Dirt?

Unless your dog frequently eats soil, it is not considered a serious issue, but you should still work with your dog to stop the habit. Generally, when dogs eat soil, clay or earth, it's generally regarded as safe — especially if it happens in your own yard. However, if you catch your pet eating dirt near agricultural fields or construction sites, the soil may contain harmful lawn chemicals, fertilizer, pesticides, poisons or toxins. If ingested by your dog, the harmful bacteria contained in these chemicals can make your dog sick. In the case that your dog ingests dirt near a construction site or field, schedule a visit with your veterinarian immediately and ensure they wormed regularly to avoid intestinal parasites. 

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Dirt 

To discourage your pet from eating soil, try removing them from the area and using positive reinforcement once they comply. You can also offer treats or toys once they move away from the dirt. Second, try making a note of the frequency of which your pet is eating dirt and where they're eating it. If your dog is eating dirt frequently after meals, the behavior could stem from digestive issues. Ensure your dog is eating a nutritionally complete diet by slowly introducing smaller quantities of new food and decreasing the volume of old food. Another step you can take is to check your dog. If you spot blood in your dog's stool or notice pale gums, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Always bring your dog to a veterinarian when in doubt. A vet will perform routine blood work and screen for severe medical conditions. 

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Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt?