Strange things fascinate dogs. Let’s take a look at the trash first. Of course, other dogs’ excrement and urine also… And dirt for some dogs! Why do dogs eat dirt?
You don’t want to dismiss your dog’s dirt-eating mania since it has a rationale, just like the pooh eaters and garbage can raiders (searching for that dumped food) that we have discussed.
According to W Jean Dodds, DVM, “others feel it indicates an underlying behavioural issue.”This could be caused by obsessive-compulsive disorder, mental health issues brought on by traumatic experiences in the past, or a behavioural issue that is genetically inherited.
More often than not, this behaviour is assumed to be caused by a slight deficit in one or more minerals or vitamins, an upset stomach or other digestive issue, or even something as simple as the animal smelling some food scraps on or in the ground.
Take the animal to the vet for a checkup if it looks compulsive or excessive, and make sure the diet is balanced.There are certainly several plausible explanations, some more serious than others, for why your dog enjoys playing in the mud.
Let’s take a closer look at the options…
Your dog may be consuming dirt in an effort to supplement nutrients that are lacking in his diet, including vitamins, minerals, and maybe beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Possible offenders include kibble and imbalanced diets
Dogs who are in the state of pica are said to eat items besides food. An illustration of a pica condition would be eating dirt.This typically happens when a dog’s body lacks certain minerals or is experiencing nutritional imbalance. – Dr. Carol Osborne
“Dogs’ innate intuitive instincts aid in their survival, therefore warning flags like this shouldn’t be disregarded. According to integrative veterinarian Osborne, if the disordered appetite persists for more than a few days, you should think about changing your diet and getting advice from your doctor.
When owners feed poorly planned home diets, according to Laurie S. Coger, DVM, CVCP, she has witnessed animals eating dirt.It typically happens when they are not eating bones, thus cooked meals are more problematic than raw diets, according to Coger.
“When bones aren’t eaten, the dog looks for the minerals that are absent. Once the diet is changed, it typically goes away soon. One of the main arguments in favour of a raw diet versus a cooked one is this. Simply put, it becomes far too simple to overlook the minerals when cooking.
2. Concerns about Chronic Illness
Your dog may be looking for vitamins and minerals as a symptom of a medical illness like hypothyroidism or inflammatory bowel disease.
“Intestine inflammation can result in ulceration or bleeding along the bowel, both of which can cause anaemia. B vitamin absorption is low in IBD. Accordingly, dogs with IBD may be eating dirt in an effort to supplement their diet with extra minerals to treat their anaemia, according to Judy Morgan, DVM, CVA, CVCP, CVFT.
The generation of red blood cells by the bone marrow is stimulated by thyroid hormone. Anemia develops as a result of diminished stimulation of the bone marrow caused by hypothyroidism’s decreased thyroid hormone production.Anemia can also be brought on by parasites, ulcers, bleeding tumours, and chronic renal disease.
According to Morgan, “certain tumours (hemangiosarcomas in particular) will also bleed, which will cause anaemia.” Anemia is brought on by internal parasites like hookworms. Actually sucking blood, they cling to the gut lining. The absorption of nutrients is lowered by more intestinal parasites. Anemia is brought on by external parasites like fleas and ticks that drain blood.
“Blood loss brought on by gastrointestinal ulcers results in anaemia. Because the kidneys generate erythropoietin, a hormone that encourages the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow, chronic renal illness results in anaemia. Anemia is a result of autoimmune illnesses when the immune system assaults platelets or red blood cells.
3. Dirt May Have Flavor
Your dog might be chasing something appetising, like bacon or hamburger fat under a barbeque, which is a less significant reason.
“If your dog continues to eat dirt, then you should investigate the dug up patch to see if the dog is attempting to locate a item there. If the dog keeps returning to the same spot, like under a grill, this might make sense, adds Morgan.
4. Behavior Problems
Out of stress and boredom, people develop odd hobbies like hair twirling, knuckle cracking, overeating, etc. The same is true for our pets, who were created to be outdoors and active yet sometimes don’t get the stimulation they need.
Imagine a giant working dog spending the entire day by himself at home. He’ll undoubtedly find some way to amuse himself, perhaps by eating dirt.
According to Osborne, “some dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, may just eat dirt out of pure boredom.” This could be caused by a variety of factors, including inadequate exercise, spending the day alone in a kennel, insufficient playtime, or improper socialisation.
In particular, when working with herding and high-energy breeds, keep in mind that dogs, like people, require a job and a daily purpose. Give your dog a job if his behaviour looks off because dogs in general like having work.
Facilities for doggie daycare provide countless opportunities for socialisation and canine and human interaction. Additionally, they occupy the mind and are often enjoyable.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder can affect pets just like it does people. A dog with OCD may begin to compulsively consume dirt as a symptom of the condition. Consult your holistic veterinarian or an animal behaviourist if you think your pet may have OCD or a related behaviour condition.
Although the idea of “eating dirt” seems absurd, clay can be used to detoxify the body, relieve parasites, and ease stomach issues.Could it be possible that our dogs are naturally attempting to relieve or detoxify a digestive condition by ingesting dirt? Very well could be the case.
According to Coger, “I have a gut feeling that the dog is trying to get whatever is in the digestive tract through, either by throwing up or by pushing it through.” “Dirt might function as a mild abrasive to “scrub” clean the intestines.
Additionally, it can cause the intestine to contract more often, hastening the passage of food through the digestive system.
How To Stop Eating Dirt
Even though your dog may be eating dirt for therapeutic purposes, this does not imply you should ignore it. mostly because modern dirt is, well, dirty. not in the manner you may anticipate.
According to Osborne, “dirt can carry chemicals, insecticides, and poisons.”
“Today, most soil as well as our environment and land are heavily polluted. Don’t allow your dog consume any dirt, as this might cause gastric distress and interior health problems.
If boredom is the issue, make sure your dog is engaged in both work and play. Consult an animal behaviourist if you’re experiencing more severe behaviour problems, like OCD.
Search the area where he is eating the dirt for any unwelcome delectable toppings. You should consult your holistic veterinarian to determine the precise reason and course of action for any health issues.
A change in diet is necessary if food is the problem.
Kibble and other manufactured foods for humans are very different from what nature intended.
Dr. Dobias continues in his article: “Even if it were manufactured from the highest quality components, just the fact that processed food sits in bags for months — and even years — causes fats to go rancid and nutritional content to decline.”
In situations where a raw diet is being offered without bones, according to Coger, adding bones may prevent the animal from ingesting dirt.If feeding meaty bones isn’t an option, Coger suggests using bone meal or other mineral supplements.
“Chicken necks, chicken backs, duck necks, chicken thighs or quarters, and chicken wings are my favourite nutritional bones. Which of these is appropriate will depend on the size of the dog. I enjoy chewing on beef ribs for fun.
Keep in mind that dirt eating is something to be aware of and research. You definitely want to know what that means even though it might signify a lot of various things.