Dogs eat dirt for a number of reasons. The desire for munching on soil might be boredom or stress, or it could simply be because they smelled something tasty mixed in the mud. But it could also signal an underlying health problem or a lack of proper nutrition, says the American Kennel Club(AKC).
Coger, DVM, explains, “Dirt eating is a form of what is termed 'pica,' the ingestion of nonfood materials. There are many causes, including nutritional, behavioral, and physical. Stress or boredom can also lead to eating all sorts of things, including dirt.”
One of the top reasons that dogs eat dirt is because they are bored. This is especially true if your pet is left in the yard or garden all day by itself. Commonly, bored dogs develop repetitive habits as a way to entertain themselves. These activities include licking, chewing, and eating strange items.
Eating dirt can expose you to parasites, bacteria, and toxic heavy metals. Dirt that contains a lot of potassium could lead to high blood potassium, increasing your risk for cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest.
Bad Food Your dog's dirt eating could actually be a search for minerals, vitamins or even good probiotic bacteria that he isn't getting in his diet. Kibble and unbalanced diets could be the culprits. Pica is defined as a state whereby dogs eat things other than food.
Also be sure to watch your puppy outside, to stop them from eating dirt. Your puppy should grow out of this behavior by 6 months of age.
Many dogs have a condition known as pica, which means they eat things that aren't food, including dirt, feces, toys, and grass. 1 Most experts agree, however, that grass eating is normal canine behavior and that this type of pica usually doesn't cause too many, if any, problems.
Just like humans and other mammals, dogs may eat dirt for several reasons. They may be seeking additional nutrients, need a sedative for intestinal issues, or simply enjoy the flavor. It is interesting to note that soil frequently harbors parasites, and clay eating could create a cycle of parasitic infection.
It's fun, they're happy or excited, it scratches their back, or even because there's a dreadful smelly thing they want to smell like. Dry dirt might be scratching their back or cooling them off if they're hot. Rolling in smelly things is thought to be an instinctual way they mask their scent for hunting.
Dogs dig in dirt or other substrates, like mulch or sand, to bury items they want to save for later, like a favorite chew or toy, or to search for items that they have hidden in the past. They also dig to search for prey like rodents or other tasty treats such as insects.
If it's a hot summer day, he might dig a little to expose cooler dirt and lay down in that to keep his body cool. That cool, fresh dirt feels good on his skin, especially because he does not rely on sweat to cool him down like humans do. Dogs primarily sweat through their paws and pant to cool themselves off.
Eating dirt can be dangerous because of what's in it. Soil may contain heavy metals, human waste, parasites, and other harmful substances. Ascariasis.
Pica is a compulsive eating disorder in which people eat nonfood items. Dirt, clay, and flaking paint are the most common items eaten.
Eating dirt can pose a number of problems for your pooch. Taking in large quantities could cause life-threatening gastrointestinal impaction or blockage, which could require emergency surgery, according to Keefe. In addition, dirt may contain dangerous materials that could harm your dog.