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Why Does My Dog Eat Dirt

June 16, 2021

While dogs come across as messy and dirty animals that do not care for their personal hygiene, eating dirt is not one of their normal “doggy” behaviours. Pica, a condition where dogs crave and eat non-food items, is a pretty common disorder that dog owners deal with.

Though dirt isn’t known to clog a canine’s digestive system the way other foreign matter might, if your pup is into the habit of eating dirt, it could very possibly be an indicator of an underlying behavioural or medical issue that should be addressed.

1. Nutrition-Lacking Food


Dogs who are fed a diet lacking in the necessary nutrition and minerals sometimes turn to dirt for the minerals found in it. You needn’t worry about this if you are feeding your dog a commercial diet that is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

But dogs that are on home-cooked food or low-quality kibbles and canned food may be suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiency. If you suspect this is the case, please consult your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist.

2. Boredom


Bored dogs often act out in bizarre ways due to insufficient mental and physical stimulation. If you have an active dog that is cooped up at home most of the day, you may want to consider ways to entertain it when you are out. Click here for a full collection of toys to entertain your bored dog.

3. Upset Tummy


It may sound strange, but sometimes a dog may be instinctively eating dirt because it's suffering from a tummy ache. Some dogs find dirt soothing to the stomach, and may consume it when experiencing the occasional stomach upset.

It is found that the clay in dirt can act as a detox, “scrubbing” away parasites and bacteria that are causing the discomfort. If this is the case, there’s no need to sound the alarm bells – monitor your pup closely for signs of development and take the appropriate actions.

4. Chronic Health Issues


If none of the above reasons seem like a potential diagnosis, it is possible that your dog has a more serious medical issue such as anaemia, which is the loss of red blood cells. Anaemia is often the result of other diseases or conditions including tumours, ulcers, parasites or kidney disease.

A dog with anaemia may eat dirt to replenish the iron it lacks. Signs of anaemia include lethargy, lack of appetite and pale gums. If you think this might be the case, consult your vet immediately, as severe anaemia is life-threatening.

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