Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt?

We truly are lucky to have dogs, they’re man’s best friend and keep us sane. But sometimes they do stuff we can’t understand, no matter how hard we try. A lot of our canine buddies will try to eat dirt, even though they have perfectly good treats inside!

Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt

There are a few different reasons why your dog may eat dirt, and here they are!

Boredom and Stress

Like any other living creature, dogs can get as bored and stressed as we do. It may not be for the same reasons, but humans will do the most random things when in the same position. Maybe not eat dirt, but other activities, for sure!

Pica

Pica is a strange condition which affects dogs and other animals, like cats and even cows! Simply put, it’s a condition that makes animals, in this instance dogs, crave inedible materials. Dirt falls firmly under this category.

It’s not always dirt, sometimes it can be other stuff like grass.

Pica is treatable but can be solved in different ways, depending on whether the condition is mental or physical within your furry pet. If the condition is purely psychological, then simple stuff like exercise or playing can keep your dog from feeling stressed or bored.

However, if the condition is more to do with an underlying health condition, then herbal remedies or appropriate medicine from your local vet can help to treat the condition.

Some dogs may be eating dirt to try and ease an upset tummy. Dogs can get a bad stomach for a number of reasons and sometimes their first instinct is to munch some soil to help relieve the pain.

Other reasons for eating dirt can include trying to sort out a nutritional imbalance in their diet. This can be fixed by finding a different diet or finding different dog food. Again, your vet will be happy to help find the best course of action for your puppy’s health.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Some dogs may be eating dirt to try and ease an upset tummy. Dogs can get a bad stomach for a number of reasons and sometimes their first instinct is to munch some soil to help relieve the pain.

Other reasons for eating dirt can include trying to sort out a nutritional imbalance in their diet. This can be fixed by finding a different diet or finding different dog food. Again, your vet will be happy to help find the best course of action for your puppy’s health.

According to the American Kennel Club, your dog is more likely to be eating grass than dirt, but the reward (grass) doesn’t come without risk (dirt). Any dog owner will know exactly how fast dogs eat their food, so it’s understandable why some dirt gets thrown into the mix.

A lot of the time your dog will unintentionally eat the dirt when trying to eat grass and can cause a few problems.

Problems With Eating Dirt

Problems With Eating Dirt

If your dog eats dirt very rarely or as a one-off, you don’t have much to worry about – some simple behavioral techniques should stop them from turning it into a dirty habit.

However, if it’s a regular occurrence then you may need to act before it takes an effect on your hound’s wellbeing.

Dirt isn’t the cleanest, dog owners don’t need to be told this twice! So ingesting the stuff can invite some unwanted guests into your pup’s stomach, such as parasites and small insects that are trapped in the soil.

Of course, when eating dirt, it can cause choking due to the inconsistency of the materials involved. Because of this, it’s vital to stop consumption as often as you can! This is also a reason why damage can occur to the stomach lining and teeth.

Lots of sticks and stones can sneak their way into a big mouthful of dirt, adding another reason to prevent your canine from eating the unknown substance.

On top of these barely visible materials, your dog might be ingesting invisible ones too. If your dog is eating dirt and grass in a public place, like a park, then you never know what harmful chemicals could be sprinkled on top of the terrain.

Insecticides and pesticides are used in a lot of parks and fields to protect the environment from little pests and insects – meaning your dog could be digesting some stuff that could make them very ill.

If they start to show symptoms of illness then it’s always recommended that you contact your vet and get them seen by a medical professional.

Ways To Prevent Your Pup From Eating Dirt

It’s quite simple to stop your dog from consuming soil if it’s not a regular occurrence. Some simple training or distracting can often deter them from making it a consistent problem.

For example, you can use a whistle or the option of playing with toys to keep them from chewing up your garden. If you walk your dog on a leash then it can be easy to control them from eating dirt.

Keeping them close by your side, and keeping a watchful eye on them, can sometimes be the best way to go about keeping them healthy.

As mentioned earlier, some dogs will stress-eat or feast on dirt out of boredom. This can be solved by taking them for a walk or by grabbing the nearest toy and giving them some attention.

Obviously, you don’t want to reward eating dirt with playtime but if it’s going to keep them busy, then eventually you’ll be able to stop them before they start.

Summary

At the end of the day, you know your dog better than anyone else in the world. You know all of their habits and all of the naughty little things they try to sneak past you, so you know whether this is a new thing or something out of the ordinary.

If your dog starts feeling ill or showing symptoms of stress and anxiety then it’s always good to give your vet a call, just to be sure. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

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