Can dogs get sick from eating dirt?

Dog Eating Dirt Risks

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.

If your dog has ever started eating dirt while you were outside with it, you may have wondered why and whether it was safe to do so. As pet owners, we take great care to watch out for and shield our animals from any potential danger.

Dogs frequently eat dirt, but what does this mean and how do you stop it? Continue reading to find out.

Dogs eat dirt for a variety of reasons, such as stress, boredom, or just because they smell something delicious mixed in with it.

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You may have observed your dog eating (or attempting to eat) some incredibly bizarre things as a pet owner. However, have you ever caught your pet munching on pure dirt?

Holistic veterinarian Dr. Laurie S. 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.”

You shouldn’t ignore your dog’s persistent dirt-eating behavior. It might be a symptom of something more serious, like:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, especially in minerals
  • Low-quality food
  • Upset stomach
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance
  • Dr. While stomach and gastrointestinal conditions may be to blame for your dog’s interest in dirt, Coger points out that in these circumstances, dogs are more likely to seek out grass. It’s time to visit the vet, she advises, “if [the dirt eating] is frequent, intense/manic in nature, or large amounts are consumed.” Changes in stools are another indication that a vet visit is necessary. In order to identify the cause, bloodwork to check for underlying abnormalities may be useful. ”.

    Can dogs get sick from eating dirt?

    As you might anticipate, allowing your dog to continuously eat dirt carries some risks. If your dog eats a lot at once, the main concern is impaction of the intestine (hardened stool that becomes lodged in the body as a result of prolonged constipation). Impaction often means surgery. “.

    If enough dirt was consumed, the pesticides, fertilizers, or other toxins in the dirt could accumulate to toxic levels. Coger adds. Dental damage or wear could also be a concern, depending on the dirt. For instance, if the dirt contains rocks, this could harm your dog’s teeth and cause obstruction in the throat or anywhere along the digestive tract. Sharp objects could pierce your dog’s mouth, throat, intestine, or stomach linings. Additionally, your dog might consume a parasite along with the dirt, which could result in a variety of additional health problems.

    “I would add that any new, abnormal behavior, like eating dirt, should be addressed right away,” Dr. According to Coger, “both due to potentially serious underlying causes and before it develops into a habit.” Who wants a house full of dirt eaters? Dogs will learn from other dogs in the house.

    Can dogs get sick from eating dirt?

    Consult your veterinarian about your dog’s diet to see if any changes need to be made if you’re concerned that your dog’s tendency to eat dirt is a result of a nutritional imbalance. Make sure your dog receives enough mental and physical exercise to prevent dirt eating that results from boredom. Denying access to favorite dirt-eating areas may be necessary if all else fails, according to Dr. Coger says. Keep in mind that dirt eating could be a sign of something more serious.

    Your Dog Might Not Be Eating Healthy

    The majority of premium commercial dog foods are fortified with all the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to be healthy and happy. Your dog is probably receiving the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals if they are eating a commercial diet.

    However, nutritional deficiencies are more prevalent if you feed your dog subpar food or make it yourself. Try switching to a quality commercial dog food to see if the problem disappears.

    Why Is My Dog Eating Dirt? Possible Explanations

    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). Compulsive geophagia might be a sign that your pooch has one of the following issues.

    Anemia in dogs is a condition marked by low blood cell count or hemoglobin levels. According to CertaPet, anemia can be caused by a nutritional imbalance. An anemic dog may instinctively turn to eating dirt in an attempt to restore any deficiencies causing this condition. The only way to reliably diagnose anemia is through blood work tests.

    A nutritional imbalance by itself could cause your dog to eat dirt even if they don’t have anemia. When your dog eats dirt, it may be a sign that they aren’t getting enough of the vital minerals they require for good health. The minerals and nutrients in your dog’s food may also not be being absorbed by them due to a hormonal problem. Healthy dogs rarely have nutritional imbalances, so consult your vet before selecting the best dog food for your pet.

    To calm an upset stomach or rumbling bowels, dogs may also resort to eating dirt. However, according to the AKC, your dog is more likely to eat grass if they are experiencing stomach problems. It’s possible that some dirt will get mixed in with the grass in a dog’s fervor to devour it.


    What happens if my dog eats dirt?

    Although your dog won’t likely get sick from occasionally eating some dirt, it should still be discouraged. You should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if your dog eats a lot of dirt or starts eating it for the first time out of the blue.

    What to give a dog that eats dirt?

    If they are malnourished and starving, dogs may also turn to eating dirt. The dirt fills them up and helps them get some of the minerals they need. If a lack of minerals is the cause of your dog’s habit of eating dirt, consider switching to high-quality dog food.

    Why does my dog eat dirt and then throw up?

    Like humans, dogs occasionally eat dirt as a simple natural remedy for indigestion. When dogs consume objects that aren’t food, the ASPCA states that this may indicate some stomach distress. If your dog vomits up bits of dirt or bile, this may indicate stomach problems.

    Can eating dirt cause diarrhea in dogs?

    Call your veterinarian right away if your dog’s dirt eating starts out suddenly, intensifies, or is accompanied by other physical or behavioral symptoms like excessive thirst, diarrhea, excessive urination, vomiting, eating other non-food items, or seizures.