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.
4 Reasons Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt
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, or 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 promote 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 your diet is the first thing you should do.
Low Blood Cell Level
Anemia, or low blood cell levels, is one of the most common reasons why dogs eat dirt. This happens due to an improper diet or the fact that 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 be 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 damaged intestines, which can even be impacted! This requires surgery and 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 may even be impossible to sort out.
Choking is also a danger that may occur in this 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 gastrophagia should learn today.
Potential Risks of Dogs Eating Dirt
Even though eating dirt might seem like a harmless, even quirky behavior, it can potentially pose several risks to your canine companion’s health. Understanding these risks will equip you better to protect your pet. Here are the key risks to be aware of:
Dirt can be difficult to digest. In large quantities, it might lead to issues such as constipation or even severe blockages in the gastrointestinal tract. In extreme cases, this might require surgical intervention.
Parasites and Bacteria
Dirt is often a breeding ground for various harmful microorganisms, including parasites and bacteria. If your dog is eating soil, they might contract parasites like roundworms or harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli. These can lead to serious health problems.
The soil in your backyard might contain harmful toxins or chemicals. For example, if your lawn or garden has been treated with fertilizers, pesticides, or other substances, ingesting this dirt can be harmful, or even deadly, to your dog.
The act of chewing and eating dirt can lead to oral health problems for your dog. This includes chipped teeth, cavities, gum injuries, and other oral health issues. Over time, this could result in painful dental conditions and costly veterinary treatments.
Underlying Health Issues
In some cases, eating dirt can be a symptom of underlying health issues such as malnutrition, anemia, or other diseases resulting in nutritional deficiencies. If left untreated, such conditions can have serious long-term health impacts.
Being aware of these risks is crucial for every responsible dog owner. If your dog has developed a habit of eating dirt, it’s recommended to consult with a vet to ensure this behavior isn’t signaling a more serious underlying issue.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Dirt
It’s natural to be concerned if your dog has taken to eating dirt. With the various health risks associated, you’ll want to take steps to deter this behavior. Here’s how you can manage and prevent this habit:
Provide a Balanced Diet
If your dog is eating dirt due to nutritional deficiencies, providing a balanced diet can help address this problem. Ensure your dog’s food meets all their nutritional needs, and consult with a vet for advice on your pet’s diet if needed.
Ensure Adequate Hydration
Dehydration might sometimes trigger pica, the term for eating non-food items such as dirt. Always ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water to maintain proper hydration.
Increase Physical Activity
Boredom or lack of physical exercise can also lead to unusual behaviors like eating dirt. Incorporate more physical activity into your dog’s routine through walks, games, or training exercises to keep them occupied.
Enrich the Environment
Positive Reinforcement Training
If your dog eats dirt, you can utilize positive reinforcement training to discourage this behavior. Reward your dog for leaving the dirt alone and redirect their attention towards more suitable activities.
Regular Vet Check-ups
Regular vet check-ups can help identify any underlying health issues that may be causing your dog to eat dirt. A vet can also provide personalized advice on how to deter this behavior.
It’s important to monitor your dog’s behavior and seek professional help if necessary. Keep in mind that sudden changes in behavior, like eating dirt, can be a symptom of a larger issue and should not be ignored.
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.