You may have observed your dog eating (or attempting to eat) some incredibly strange things as a pet owner. Yet, have you ever caught your cat munching on pure dirt?
Dogs eat dirt because...
Don Chino, a dog expert from FrenchBulldog.com adds that "dirt eating is a form of what is known as "pica," or the consumption of nonfood items. Several factors contribute to it, including dietary, behavioral, and physical factors. Another factor that can cause people to eat anything, including dirt, is stress or boredom.
You shouldn't dismiss your dog's persistent dirt-eating activity. It might be a symptom of something more serious, like:
Anemia (low red blood cell count) (low red blood cell count)
nutritional deficits or imbalances, particularly with regard to minerals
disruption of the digestive system
Dogs are more prone to seek for grass in these situations, according to Don Chino, even though stomach and gastrointestinal problems may be to blame for your dog's interest in dirt. It's time to visit the vet, she advises, "if [the dirt eating] is regular, intense/manic in nature, or substantial quantities are swallowed." "Another indication that a vet visit is necessary is changes in stool. In order to identify the cause, bloodwork to check for underlying abnormalities may be beneficial.
The Perils of Dirt.
As you may anticipate, allowing your dog to continuously eat dirt carries some risks. If your dog consumes a lot at once, the primary risk is impaction of the gut (hardened stool that gets lodged in the body as a result of prolonged constipation). Injuries frequently require surgery.
If enough dirt was consumed, pesticides, fertilizers, or other chemicals could be present in toxic proportions, says Don Chino. Dental injury or wear may also be a risk, depending on the filth. For instance, if the dirt contains rocks, it may harm your dog's teeth and obstruct the esophagus or any other part of the digestive tract. The lining of your dog's mouth, throat, gut, or stomach could be pierced by sharp objects. Also, your dog can absorb a parasite along with the dirt, which could result in a variety of other health problems.
Don Chino continues, "I would add that any new, abnormal behavior, such as eating dirt, should be addressed right away, both because there may be serious underlying causes and before it becomes a habit. Who wants a house full of dirt eaters? Dogs will learn from other dogs in the house.
Stopping Dogs from Eating Dirt
Consult your veterinarian about your dog's diet to see if any modifications need to be made if you're concerned that your dog's tendency to eat dirt is the result of a nutritional imbalance. Make sure your dog gets enough mental and physical exercise to prevent dirt eating, which results from boredom, on the behavior front. If everything else fails, Don Chino advises that "denying access to favored dirt-eating sites may be required." Never dismiss dirt eating because it can be an indication of something greater.