Dogs can eat almost anything. For some, this is an advantage, while for others it can be an issue. But, why do dogs eat dirt?
First of all, there are many reasons why your dog is eating dirt. You should know that if he eats all kinds of non-food things (dirt, grass, rocks) it has pica, which is a condition.
It isn’t dangerous and it only means that he eats non-food things. If he eats dirt only, he has geophagia condition. There are many reasons or causes for this condition and now we will mention all of them.
Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt? Main causes
Dogs don’t like to eat dirt. They do this when they have a problem and need a solution. This can mean that they are in pain, they have a health problem and they are in discomfort. In most cases, a visit to a veterinarian is mandatory and highly recommended. These issues cannot be solved by dog owners by themselves and it is difficult to determine the cause!
Lack of minerals or hormonal issues
Dogs may have a low level of minerals in their diet or they may have improper hormone balance which means minerals are not absorbed by the body. He will try to eat dirt in order to recoup lost minerals and solve the problem.
This is however very rare, especially in healthy dogs. On the other hand, it may occur and you will need to change the diet or perform the test of the hormones.
We must add that this issue can be linked to anemia but rarely. It can occur by itself and it can be a severe problem for the overall health if not treated. Now you know why dogs eat dirt when they have a great diet.
Your dog has an upset stomach
Rumbling bowels or upset stomach is probably the most common reason why some dogs eat dirt. As you can deduce, your pet will have tummy issues that cause pain and discomfort. Eating dirt is an effort he is using to decrease the pain and promotes digestion.
Some experts claim that when this problem occurs, most dogs will eat grass rather than dirt. Just keep in mind that some pets will still prefer dirt and this matter cannot be generalized. Checking the diet is the first thing you should do.
Low blood cell level
Anemia or low blood cell levels are one of the most common reasons why dogs eat dirt. This happens due to improper diet or the fact your dog doesn’t get all the nutrients he needs. That’s why he will eat dirt. He will simply try to get all the nutrients needed and restore the blood cell count.
The only way you can diagnose this issue is by performing blood tests. Yes, you should take your dog to a veterinarian.
Don’t forget that some dogs may have a low level of hemoglobin. The symptoms will the same. He will also eat dirt almost every day. A different type of test is needed for this issue.
Eating dirt can be very dangerous
We must explain that some dog owners believe eating dirt is common and harmless. In reality, the situation is different. Dogs who eat dirt are at a much higher risk of the damaged intestine, which can be even impacted! This requires surgery and it is a very severe problem to solve.
Another big downside here is that dogs can consume pesticides or toxins found in the dirt. This is actually more common than the first danger.
In rare situations, dogs can ingest parasites that live in the dirt. This is rare but can be severe. Damages to the teeth throat and stomach, in general, are almost mandatory. They can occur in most situations and maybe even impossible to sort out.
Choking is also a danger that may occur in this case scenario. If your pet consumes a large piece of dirt or finds a rock, he will end up choking. A recommended thing to do is to learn what to do if your dog is choking. This is something all dog owners whose dogs suffer from geophagia should learn today.
If your dog is suffering from geophagia, the first thing to do is to take him to a veterinarian and determine the main cause. It can be one of the mentioned problems and the treatment will depend on it.
But, if everything is fine with your pet, but he still eats dirt every day, you will need to use a strategy and try to make him stop doing this.
The first thing to do is to distract your dog when he wants to eat dirt. Use your voice or your loud voice in order to make sure he stops eating dirt. This will be effective in most situations but you need to be persistent. Always use a leash to move your dog from areas with dirt and move your plants to some place where he cannot reach them.
Don’t forget that your dog needs plenty of physical activity and he should be happy. Make sure he gets both of these things just in case. How much physical activity your dog needs will depend on the breed you keep. Some dogs need a lot of activity while others need less.
Help your dog adapt to any massive change in his life. This can be separation anxiety or anything similar. Your dog needs time to adjust and he should have the complete support you, his owner needs to provide.
The final word
Why do dogs eat dirt? The answer isn’t as easy as you may believe. There are several reasons for that and each one needs a different solution. Luckily, this is something you can solve with the help of a veterinarian and with some strategies to make sure he never eats dirt again.
Keep in mind that this is a dangerous disorder that can cause various, severe, and less-severe health issues.
Do you have a hyper dog? Learn How To Calm a Hyper Dog here.