Recently seen your dog gobble strange items? Why do dogs eat dirt, anyway? Your pup may have a condition called pica, which means that the diagnosed dog eats non-food items.
Occasionally consuming a small amount is not that big of a deal, but if you notice your dog dig up dirt and swallow a lot of it very frequently, you may want to look at some of the reasons why.
Today, I will walk you through all the reasons why a dog might start eating dirt. Read on to learn more.
Reasons Why Your Dog Is Eating Dirt
Let’s go through all the reasons why your dog is consuming dirt.
Stress and Anxiety
There could be multiple reasons as to why your lovely canine is sticking its mouth so consistently in things like dirt or soil. One possible explanation would be your pet is anxious or stressed. It can be defined as a displacement behavior when these fur babies are confused about a situation.
In most cases, stress or anxiety is the reason the dog may engage in such bizarre behavior. The pup’s natural demeanor could be an indicator of the underlying cause. If the pet is in a comfortable environment, it’s less likely that stress makes it gobble up dirt.
Lack of Nutrition in Diet
Another sign that your dog is doing this could be malnutrition. Your dog might not be getting the vitamin and minerals it needs daily. When your pets do not get the necessary nutrition from their food, they can search for them in other places.
It would be best to constantly nurture your canine friend’s health with a balanced diet, with all the necessary nutrients your dog needs. It is also possible that the dog food you’re currently using does not match your dog’s flavor preferences, or the pup isn’t fed frequently enough.
It could be a result of hormonal imbalance too. Sometimes, it’s possible that an underlying chronic medical condition is causing the pup to do things like these.
Chronic Medical Conditions That Induce Blood Loss
Now, speaking of medical conditions, there are numerous that may incite odd behavior in your furry companion. For example, anemia could induce lower blood cell count levels and, in turn, nutritional imbalance. Dogs with anemia often resort to these tactics.
Such behavior in the pup can also be a chain of medical conditions. To elaborate, bleeding tumors, ticks, stomach ulcers, renal complications, hookworms, etc., can cause blood loss and anemia in the animal, causing it to consume dirt.
It is another common reason dogs may eat dirt. Your dog might have a stomach-ache, diarrhea, vomiting, or other issues related to an upset tummy or bowel issues.
That may induce your dog to eat dirt suddenly, as clay is known to be soothing for upset stomachs. They also help with digestive issues and parasites.
However, stomach troubles lead a dog to eat more grass. A sizeable amount of dirt could be getting inside your pup’s mouth when it is enthusiastically eating turf.
Environmental and Behavioral Factors
There can be behavioral reasons for the animal’s odd antics as well. Dogs are highly sociable animals that need frequent stimulus from the environment for them to be happy.
If your pet is not exposed to sufficient stimulant activities from the environment, it may try to find some by itself. You can find your dog eating dirt out of boredom. Don’t let your puppy get bored; keep your dog busy with safe toys or human interaction.
The Taste Is Appetizing
Also, a bizarre explanation could be that the dirt simply smells good to the pup. It can be that the mud was incidentally mixed with ingredients like food leftovers and hence became appealing to your pet.
Dogs have a highly sensitive nose, and their smells guide their appetite. This reason is less severe than the others, obviously.
The Possible Outcomes of Your Dog Eating Dirt
You certainly can’t know for sure what the sand your dog just threw its mouth at contains. This behavior should be discouraged; otherwise, the friendly canine can fall victim to conditions. Some of those issues are briefly discussed below;
- GI complications can result in the dog requiring invasive surgery and a hefty vet bill
- The stone, gravel, and rocks suffocating the pet, possibly threatening its life
- Parasites get into the pup’s body and, in turn, create new complications
- If the pup munches on any harder material that entered the mouth with the dirt, like stones or sturdier soil, it could possibly break its teeth or get lodged in its intestinal tract, which will make your dog sick. This is a vital concern for many pet parents out there.
- Eating dirt may make way for pesticides or fertilizers inside the dog’s stomach, which is likely to upset it
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Dirt
Clearly, consuming dirt is not just a bad habit; it could be a symptom of underlying health concerns and even a cause for fatal consequences for your puppy.
So, you should check that your dog is not eating non-food items frequently. There are a few things that you can do if you find your dog thumping its jaws into dirt frequently;
Consult a Vet
This is the most appropriate course of action. Take your dog to a vet if it has built a habit of eating dirt. Consulting a vet can help you understand whether your canine friend is suffering from pica syndrome or is consuming it as a result of its continuous blood loss due to any other medical conditions.
Most importantly, the vet can determine whether swallowing earth is a result of the inadequate diet your dog currently has. Ensure your dog gets the correct treatment prescribed by the vet.
Discourage Soil Eating
To get your pet to stop swallowing dirt, distract it whenever it’s about to eat dirt and discourage it through vocal cues. Give them sufficient toys so that even if they’re bored, they do not go on to consume storage items.
Behavior issues can be solved by consulting with an animal psychologist as well. Don’t let your pup run around in the dirt too often, as see if the behavior of digging a hole and eating changes. Keeping it away from dirt may help.
Counteract Stress Inducing Scenarios and Give a Healthy Diet
If your companion is stressed or likely to get anxious over a sudden change in its everyday life, try to eliminate or minimize that stress. If they’re distressed about a situation, provide them company and assurance so that their anxieties are well managed.
Also, make sure your dog is getting enough nutrients from its diet. Feeding your dog a balanced diet is the best way to have it healthy, preventing the habit of eating non-food items. While you are at it, help your dog drink enough water.
By now, you are well aware of all the possible reasons your furry friend may eat dirt. While dogs may eat soil or lick dirt once or twice out of curiosity, things get alarming if they become an eating habit. Responsible dog owners should keep their dogs away from the dirt if such a thing happens.
Remember, every dog is unique, and if yours is consuming something other than mud, don’t assume it may be for the same reasons and consult a vet right away.
I hope I have been able to help you in this matter. Until next time!