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Can You Explain Why Dogs Eat Dirt?


Can You Explain Why Dogs Eat Dirt?

Can You Explain Why Dogs Eat Dirt?

 Dogs have been known to consume a variety of bizarre items, including dirt. Most of the time, a dog will eat dirt out of boredom, however there are times when your dog's behavior is due to a medical condition.

What Is It About Dogs And Dirt?

  • There are a variety of reasons why dogs will eat dirt if given the chance. Bored or agitated, they may consume dirt as a way to self-soothe by smelling or smelling something intriguing in the soil. It is also possible that your dog is eating dirt because of more serious medical problems.


  • Low red blood cell count or low hemoglobin levels are considered signs of anemia in dogs. Iron is required for hemoglobin, the oxygen-binding molecule found in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. Your dog may naturally consume dirt if he or she is anemic due to a deficiency in red blood cells or hemoglobin, respectively. Anemic dogs may be attempting to get iron from the earth by eating dirt.

Disorders of the Digestive System

  • Some gastrointestinal issues may also lead to your dog eating dirt. Some dogs are driven to eat dirt due to health issues such as IBS, parasite infestations, or liver or gallbladder problems. Dogs suffering from any of these gastrointestinal diseases are said to consume dirt to calm their digestive system in the same way humans do when they have an upset stomach after eating grass.

Imbalances in the Diet

  • If a dog's diet is deficient in certain nutrients, he or she may begin to eat dirt. A dog suffering from a nutritional deficiency may be attempting to acquire different minerals from the earth. A dog's GI system may be affected by a malabsorption disease or an insufficient diet, resulting in nutritional imbalances.

  • Everything in commercial dog food must be complete and balanced for their specified life stage, otherwise it will be labeled as "incomplete." This indicates that the food has all of the necessary nutrients, and that they are all present in the correct proportions. All pet foods are required to include the AAFCO statement, which states that they are complete and balanced dietary sources of all essential nutrients.

  • It's critical to understand that AAFCO presently recognizes two life phases. For puppies and kittens or pregnant/lactating women, they're growth and reproduction. For the rest of them, they're just upkeep (i.e. adults and seniors). As a result, feeding your adult dog a commercial food formulated especially for adult dogs reduces the likelihood of your dog developing a nutritional imbalance.

  • Dogs who consume home-prepared meals are more likely to have nutritional imbalances. It's more difficult to give your dog a healthy and full meal whether you make it from scratch or serve them a home-prepared raw diet. Your dog need a number of vitamins and minerals that may be difficult to get. Veterinarian nutritionists with board certification may check a meal for balance and completeness or even provide you with a recipe to follow.

  • Malabsorption diseases are another cause of dietary abnormalities. It's possible to give a nutritionally full diet to your dog who has a malabsorption problem, but they will not be able to adequately absorb all of the nutrients from their food. Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, often known as EPI, is a common malabsorption disease. Because of the lack of pancreatic enzymes, dogs with EPI are unable to properly break down their food as they should. 

  • If your dog is suffering with EPI, you'll notice they're malnourished and underweight. Although EPI may be acquired via infection or pancreatic damage, genetics can also play a role in the development of EPI. EPI is most often associated with German Shepherd Dogs, although it may also be found in Rough Coated Collies, Chow Chows, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels due to a hereditary disease.

Eating Dirt Can Be Dangerous

There are health risks associated with dogs that eat dirt, even if it's not a life-threatening situation right away. Intestinal obstructions and impactions may occur if your dog consumes significant amounts of rocks, stones, twigs, or even simply a lot of soil. These conditions may need surgical treatment. Sharp objects in the soil, such as sticks and rocks, may injure your dog's mouth and throat. Any pesticides or chemicals found in the soil may sicken your dog, regardless of how little the concentration is.

When your dog eats dirt, they may also consume intestinal parasites.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Eating Dirt

  • Providing your dog with appropriate environmental enrichment and enough exercise may help him stop his dirt-eating habit because canines eat dirt when they're bored the most. Simply exercising, having fun in the yard, or going for a run/walk can all benefit you. A sport like agility, fly ball, or dock diving may be suitable for dogs that need greater physical and mental stimulation.

  • Your dog is ready to start eating dirt, so catch their attention by playing a short game of fetch. As a last step, cover loose soil and prevent your dog from accessing flower and mulch beds so that you may maintain some kind of environmental management.

  • Eaten by some dogs as a weird habit, but also as a warning sign of a problem. If your dog begins eating dirt, take them to the doctor so they may be checked out for any hidden medical issues.