As amazing as they are, dogs can be pretty weird at times too. Regardless of whether they do it out of boredom, to attract attention or because of instinct, bizarre behavior is not uncommon and it’s often tied to food and feeding habits. And one habit that is particularly concerning to dog owners around the planet is eating dirt.
Many dogs chomp on mud pies and seem to weirdly enjoy it. Dirt consumption, also known as geophagia, is a tendency to ingest nonfood materials that can be linked to a variety of environmental, nutritional and behavioral factors and causes.
Why do dogs eat dirt cassionally ?
Some dogs do it just because they’re bored out of their mind, others do it as part of their overly enthusiastic investigation of the surrounding world, and both of these reasons are not worrisome.
Yet there are some dogs who tend to do it consistently and even start preferring it over kibble, in which case it’s important to call your veterinarian as soon as possible because your dog could be dealing with a medical issue that requires immediate attention. Recurrent dirt consumption can be a sign of many things, but most often it boils down to one of these:
Anemia occurs when there is a decline in the number of red blood cells, which is measured through hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Accompanying signs include pale gums, lethargy and weight loss. Although dogs in general are able to successfully recover from anemia, early diagnosis is crucial.
While gastrointestinal problems can sometimes be the reason for dirt-eating behavior in dogs, canines are much more likely to gorge on a patch of fresh grass in the hope of relieving their digestive issues than opt for a mouthful of mud.
If large quantities of soil are consumed in a manic way, this is definitely not about soothing an upset stomach – a thorough examination and blood work are required to pinpoint the underlying causes of abnormalities.
Should you let your dog eat dirt ?
Well, no. When a dog eats a lot of dirt at once, they are at risk of intestinal obstruction, a very painful condition that usually demands surgery. What’s really worse, soil often contains a toxic cocktail of pesticides, fertilizers and other dangerous elements that once ingested can seriously damage the organism, including parasites.
In addition, dirt can contain rocks, hard metals and sharp glass, all of which can easily damage a dog’s teeth and cause obstruction and tears in the throat or anywhere along the digestive tract. That’s why veterinarians recommend taking swift action to eliminate the habit of eating dirt in dogs and explore the possible health issues that are underlying this behavior.
How to prevent your dog from eating dirt
Dirt eating is much more than a bizarre behavior from your beloved pet. This can be dangerous for dogs and it may very well point to certain physiological imbalances that need to be corrected, such as anemia and mineral deficiency, but it can also stem from an upset stomach, or even under-stimulation and boredom.
So naturally, the best way to avoid any of these issues is by tending closely to your dog’s health in two major areas: establishing a healthy diet suited to their specific needs, and providing them with enough physical exercise, which should prevent boredom. Always consult your veterinarian before making major decisions about your pet’s diet and activity levels, as well as health concerns.