Why do dogs eat dirt? If you have a dog and you are fed up that why is your dog eating dirt or dirt then you are on the right blog.
You can’t stop wondering Why do dogs eat dirt?.
Is it a problem for your health?
How can I make it stop?
You ask yourself these questions all the time.
To begin with, you need to know that your dog is not the only one who eats the dirt. In fact, this behavior is very common among dogs, as is eating their own excrement. There is even a scientific name for this habit – Geophagy!
Yes, this is what the habit of some animals and even human beings to refuel with a little dirt is called Geophagy.
If your dog eats dirt it could be a sign of a mineral deficiency, gastric indisposition, or other illness. Remember that sometimes they do it simply out of boredom, flavor, or fun.
Why do dogs eat dirt?
There are many different possibilities that explain Why do dogs eat dirt? Some of the most common reasons are:
- Bad Food
- Stomach Upset
- Parasites and worms
- compulsive behavior
When a dog feeds on objects other than food, such as dirt or plastic, there is usually no danger to his health, but it can sometimes be harmful and, in some rare cases, can even be a fatal risk.
Let’s see some of these situations in detail.
1. Bad Food –
The first possibility is Bad Food. Most common dog food is processed so it may not contain some of the nutrients that dogs need.
When this is the case, dogs get caught up in their primal urges and instinctively search for the nutrients and vitamins they miss.
This can be a good thing since in this way they are able to compensate for the nutritional deficit, but at the same time, they run the risk of ingesting something that the stomach is unable to process properly, so it is advisable to try to curb this behavior.
2. Stomach Upset –
Stomach Upset is another reason for dogs to ingest dirt.
In this case, your dog eats dirt because he has previously ingested something that has caused stomach problems, and therefore ingesting dirt is nothing more than an attempt to dampen this stomach discomfort caused by heavy food.
It could be a serious problem if for example the discomfort was caused by one of those foods that we usually eat but which are harmful to dogs; which is why you need to pay close attention to what you feed your dog.
3. Boredom –
Boredom is another reason that prompts dogs to eat dirt.
Your dog is likely to always be home alone while you are at work. Dogs usually feel very lonely, and are always looking for something to do to keep busy; for example, they bark, jump, destroy garbage bags, etc.
Sometimes, by repeating these actions every day, they end up bored to death, so they start eating the dirt simply to do something different than usual. Additionally, some dogs feed on dirt simply because they like the taste.
4. Parasites and worms
Another factor that leads a dog to eat dirt can be the presence of parasites and/or worms in your pet’s body. When this happens, the animal itself seeks a way to eliminate these invaders and encourage vomiting.
5. Behavioral Issues
Sometimes dogs become obsessed with eating things that aren’t really food, such as dirt, grass, furniture, cables, etc. They do it simply because they like it. Like humans, dogs can also have obsessive-compulsive disorder. You will notice that dog who has OCD eats dirt obsessively its a part of the disorder.
If you have taken your dog to the vet and the tests have ruled out any physical problems, then it is very likely that your dog is only doing this out of habit and because he enjoys it.
To put an end to this bad habit, there are some reward-based behavioral exercises that you can try.
What happens if your dog eats dirt?
In most cases, compulsive eating of dirt can be harmful to your pet. For example, when dogs eat dirt, it may contain chemicals such as insecticides and fertilizers that can harm the animal’s health, there may also be something really toxic or poisonous and you should go to the vet at the first symptom to treat the poisoned dog like the as soon as possible.
Additionally, there may be sharp or pointed objects on the ground that your dog is likely to ingest when eating dirt. Likewise, another possible health problem that can arise as a result of ingesting dirt in dogs is that they become parasites internally, so it is very important to properly deworm the dog.
How do I get my dog to stop? are there any solutions?
Of course yes. There are lots of solutions to stop your dog to eat soil or dirt.
1. Consult a veterinarian –
If you have noticed that your dog has recently started eating dirt, and has never done so before, then the advice is to consult your vet.
Dirt may have an effect on your dog; so have your vet check to see if your dog’s digestive system and stomach are okay.
In case you suspect that this behavior is a sign of something wrong with the animal you should run immediately to the vet.
During the medical tests, the vet will check the general health of your dog through normal laboratory tests which will be used to rule out pathologies and diseases and at the same time to look for traces of parasites.
2. Check your dog’s feces and gums –
If you live far away from the vet you can look for one that offers telephone consultations.
If that doesn’t exist either, you can try to get by and become a little expert yourself by checking your dog’s feces (although it is not advisable) . If the stool is very greasy it means that your dog is not digesting food properly.
In such a situation, the dog usually eats the dirt to remedy the nutritional imbalance. It is, therefore, better to consult a veterinarian immediately – unfortunately, your “career” ends here.
You can also take a look at your dog’s gums. If the gums are pale and yellowish in color, it could mean that your dog is anemic, a condition caused by a nutritional deficiency in the diet. Once again it is advisable to contact a veterinarian immediately.
The other possible solutions are mostly preventative measures, such as creating fun and engaging activities to keep the dog busy at all times, so as to prevent him from getting bored.
3. Reduce outdoor activity –
It is also advisable to reduce your dog’s outdoor activities, as this reduces the possibility of him eating dirt.
This is a bit of a trade-off as at the same time you should try to prevent your dog from getting bored, as mentioned just above.
What you can do is supervise your dog when he is outdoors. Keep an eye on him at all times, especially around the time he’s got into the habit of eating dirt.
This will discourage him from developing a serious “land addiction” problem – assuming such a thing exists!
When supervising your beloved dog, try as much as possible to discourage him in words from feeding on dirt. In this way, you help the dog learn that eating dirt is not only wrong but also bad for him.
You can also distract him from the dirt by trying to channel his interest to other areas of the garden.
Keep plant pots out of his reach
4. Pay attention to your dog’s diet –
To reduce the nutritional deficit it is advisable from time to time to vary the classic diet that you normally give to your dog. Try something different.
By doing this you will be able to better balance the nutrients and minerals that your dog takes in, and at the same time, you will reduce the desire in the dog to go and look for the missing nutrients elsewhere (see the dirt).
5. Do not punish your dog –
avoid scolding your dog when he eats dirt because as we explained, the need for attention is one of the causes that can motivate this behavior. Do activities with your dog outdoors to regularly distract and reinforce him
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