Why Is Your Dog Suddenly Eating Dirt?
2 May, 2017
dog eating dirt

Most dogs will eat or at least nibble at dirt.  It’s inevitable and common. And an occasional nosh of dirt isn’t a bad thing.  But, if your dog suddenly starts eating dirt, there is usually a reason why your dog started to do it.   It could be behavioral or medical.

A dog will usually eat dirt because he has indigestion

A dog might suddenly start to eat dirt because he has an upset stomach.  Eating dirt (this can happen with grass too) is your dog’s way of trying to get rid of the food that is bothering him. This may be something as mild as a plant he has eaten or it could be something serious that your dog should not be eating. If your dog eats a lot of dirt at once, this is also a sign that something is the matter with his bowels or his stomach.  And you should call your vet to follow up.

Sometimes a dog starts eating dirt because of a poor diet

A dog may eat dirt because his/her diet is poor so they eat dirt to get the nutrients they need. Or maybe they just don’t like the food you have been feeding your dog.  Read labels, look for natural ingredients with minimal additives, and talk to your vet about your pet’s dietary needs. If the behavior continues, take your dog to your vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical issue.

 A lot of dogs will eat dirt because of a mineral deficiency in his diet

Some dogs eat dirt because their standard diet lacks certain minerals, usually B complex and vitamin B12. If he isn’t getting the minerals he needs from food, he may try to get them by eating dirt. Check if your dog eats dirt frequently when he’s outside; if he doesn’t, this is a potential sign that he may be missing out on certain materials that he needs for his diet. This can usually be corrected by adding high-potency probiotics.

Your dog might only eat dirt because there is food underneath

In many other situations, your dog will appear to be eating dirt but may actually be eating some food item that lies in the grass or on the ground.  In these situations, the dog will likely not eat very much dirt at one time and it will only be a single occurrence. Keep in mind that your dog can smell food that is buried under the ground significantly better than you can.

Try stopping your dog from eating the dirt before it happens

If your dog eats dirt suddenly and there is no underlying medical issue, try to stop the occurrence before it happens.  Use your usual commands, ‘sit’ or ‘no’ when your dog is on his way to the dirt.  Of if he starts to eat dirt, give him something else to grab onto like some treats or his favorite toy.

If you don’t think that your dog is eating dirt for any of the above reasons, than there might be an underlying behavioral problem that should be addressed.  It could be anything from boredom to a compulsive disorder which is best to discuss with your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist.

 

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