Many dog owners become desperate because their dogs eat dirt. People get concerned because they don’t understand this behaviour and also because it is a problematic habit that may cause problems to the animal.
When dogs eat something that is not food, they have a behaviour disorder named Pica. This situation may have several reasons.
Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt?
Some specialists claim that this is an instinctive pattern. Since dogs used to look for their food in the past, nowadays they maintain this habit, even if they have proper food at home. But this strange routine can also be a demonstration that is something wrong. To understand what is going on, you should take your dog to the Veterinarian, since according to some experts, the act of eating dirt can hide a serious health problem but it may also be a behavioural issue.
If you want that your dog stops eating dirt, and you probably do, because eating dirt can damage dogs’ teeth, as well as harm his stomach and even block his intestine, you will have to teach him, since your dog is not aware of if it is wrong or right. It is important you do it because your pet may have problems because he eats trash. In fact, the dirt can have dangerous material that can harm your dog, like open cans, little branches and other stuff.
You may also seek professional assistance (if the source of the problem is behavioural, there are specialists on this area who might help).
One believes that in many cases dogs eat dirt because they are bored. If you think this might be your dog’s case, try to keep him busy and having fun. Your dog must do exercise, as well as go for a walk regularly. Provide him toys and healthy snacks to chew.
Some specialists claim that dogs can seek on trash cans something that is missing on their diet. According to this, dogs who eat dirt are probably trying to instinctively satisfy their need for minerals, which can happen if their diet isn’t nutritionally balanced. If this is happening, you should seek other food brands, talk to the Veterinarian to choose the best food for your pet and be attentive to your dog’s needs (perhaps he has some health problem which leads to special needs on his diet). Keep in mind that dogs have different nutritional needs according to their age, health conditions and activity among other factors.
One also says that some dogs may dig in the dirt because they want to get their owners’ attention. As soon as they understand that owners don’t like it, and chase them every time they do it, they find out the key for a permanent concern and play (yes, your dog may think that you are chasing him because you want to play when your main goal is to take what he has on his mouth .
Another reason that can lead a dog to eat dirt is a problem on his stomach. If your dog ate something that is distressing his stomach or intestinal tract maybe he is trying to get rid of it by eating dirt, similarly to when dogs eat grass and vomit afterwards. It is possible that what is hurting him is a piece of trash or even “human food”, which is frequently pernicious to dogs’ health.
Which diseases can lead a dog to eat things that are not food? Some specialists suggest that some health problems related to this conduct are: diabetes, anemia, several neurological diseases, intestinal parasites, thyroid disease and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.
If you think that is possible that your dog ingested something that is making him sick, don’t waste more time and take him to the Veterinarian.
Here are some things you can do to avoid that your dog goes to the trash can seeking food:
– Make sure your dog eats a proper amount of food considering his age, size and daily activity. Try to divide the food for several meals per day in order to your dog always have food to eat as the day goes by.
– Tell your dog not to eat dirt. Make him understand that this is a wrong behaviour. How? When you are going for a walk, if he tries to eat trash, simply tell him “No” but don’t yell at him. Try not to leave him close to dirt, pull his collar if he tries to do it.
– At home, don’t leave the trash can in a place your dog can reach and try not to have trash inside the house
– If your dog obey when you tell him not to eat dirt, praise him: “Well done!” or “Good boy!”
Keep in mind that changing your dog’s habits requires persistence, patience and time. You will have to persevere until your dog finally reach that stage. You may ask your Veterinarian some tips or look for a professional dog trainer if you can afford one.