If Your Dog Is Consuming Dirt, Should You Be Worried?

The majority of us love dogs.  How can we not?  These four-legged creatures are adorable, and they spend their time on earth loving everybody around them.  When we picture dogs, we see their eager faces and wagging tails and it fills us with joy.  Still, our pets have some weird behaviors. 

Why are dogs eating dirt?

Dogs love to dig, and they love to eat, so why not combine the two?  Dog logic is often lost on humans, especially when it comes to eating dirt.  But there is not much mystery as to why they do it.

Dogs enjoy smelly objects and dirt fits the bill.  The smells associated with dirt in particular make it like a delicacy to many dogs.

In addition to the fact that it tastes good to them, many dogs find that dirt contains a lot of minerals that are useful to them.  If your dog is feeling hungry, or more importantly if they have a deficiency, they may turn to dirt to fill the void.

Is dirt bad for dogs?

The short answer is that it generally is not, but their exceptions.  Dirt is not harmful to dogs, but pesticides are. 

Pesticides can make a dog extremely sick, and the dirt can act as a sponge for them.  Have you sprayed your lawn with weed killer recently?  What about growth hormones for the grass?  Bug or insect spray?  Rodent traps?  Snail bait?  The list of pesticides is quite long.  Think over what work you have done for your yard.  Do you have any concerns?  A quick online search might tell you if you have something to worry about. 

If your dog frequently eats dirt, then you might have something else to worry about.

How often does your dog eat dirt?

Dirt is a delicacy to dogs.  If your dog is rarely, or even just somewhat occasionally eating dirt, then the only thing you need to worry about is them tracking mud through your house!

But what if your dog constantly eats the dirt?  As stated earlier, dirt contains several minerals that are useful to dogs.  These minerals can usually be found elsewhere though, so if your dog is turning to dirt to get them then they might have a deficiency. 

If you find this to be true for your dog, check the food you buy for them.  See what key ingredients it might be missing.

What if you do not buy food from the store for your dog?  If you feed your dog homemade food and you find this behavior to be frequent, then check the diet over with the vet and make sure they are getting what they need.

Finally, if it seems they are getting proper nutrients, have them checked for parasites who are stealing these minerals away.

How To stop this behavior

Do not yell at your dog.  It will likely have the opposite effect.  Instead, look at switching their gears once they start eating dirt.  Give them a better option like a bone or distract them by playing a game.  Finally, if you think there is a serious problem, invest in a trainer.