Thu. Mar 16th, 2023

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Dogs are known for their love of food, but some canines have a strange habit of eating dirt. This behavior may seem odd or even concerning to pet owners, but it is not uncommon. In this blog, we’ll explore why dogs may eat dirt and what you can do to discourage this behavior. Keep reading to know more in detail about the same here. 

Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt – Main Prevalent Reasons?

#1 Digestive Issues

One of the most common reasons dogs eat dirt is related to digestive issues. If a dog is not getting enough nutrients from their diet, it may seek out other food sources, including dirt. Eating dirt can also help dogs to feel full, as it can stimulate the digestive system. If you suspect your dog may be eating dirt due to digestive issues, consider talking to your vet about switching to a portion of higher-quality dog food or adding supplements to their diet.

#2 Boredom and Stress

Dirt eating can also be a sign of boredom or stress in dogs. Dogs that are left alone for long periods may develop destructive behaviors, including eating dirt, to cope with their boredom. Similarly, dogs that are exposed to high levels of stress may develop this habit as a way to cope with their emotions. To prevent boredom and stress-related dirt eating, it’s important to provide your dog with plenty of mental stimulation, exercise, and a safe and secure environment.

#3 Nutritional Deficiencies

In some cases, dirt eating may indicate that your dog is deficient in certain minerals or nutrients. Dogs will instinctively seek out food sources that can help to meet their nutritional needs, and dirt may be one of those sources. To determine if this is the case, consider having your dog’s blood work and mineral levels checked by your vet.

#4 Medical Conditions

In rare cases, dirt eating can be a sign of a medical condition, such as anemia, an intestinal parasite, or a gastrointestinal disorder. If your dog exhibits other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss, it’s important to see your vet immediately.

#5 Prevention and Discouragement

To discourage dirt eating, providing your dog with plenty of mental stimulation, exercise, and a healthy diet is important. You can also try distracting your dog with toys or treats when they are interested in eating dirt. If your dog is eating dirt due to boredom or stress, address the root cause of these emotions and provide a safe and secure environment.

What Do Statistics Say About Dogs Eating Dirt? 

#1 Pawsitively Prevalent

Have you ever caught your furry friend chowing down on some dirt? You’re not alone! A recent American Kennel Club (AKC) survey found that over 50% of dogs engage in pica behavior, which is consuming non-food items, at some point in their lives. And let’s face it, eating dirt is a common type of pica behavior among our canine companions.

#2 Nutrition Matters

Did you know that a dog’s diet is crucial to its pica behavior? A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dogs with iron-deficient anemia were more likely to engage in pica behavior, including eating dirt, compared to healthy dogs. This suggests that our four-legged friends may seek out non-food items to fulfill a nutrient deficiency in their diets.

#3 Urban vs. Rural

Where you live can also impact your dog’s pica behavior. A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology found that dogs living in urban environments were more likely to engage in pica behavior, including eating dirt, compared to dogs living in rural environments. It’s believed that this may be due to the limited availability of natural sources of nutrients in urban environments.

#4 Health Hazards

While a little dirt here and there may not cause harm to our pups, chronic pica behavior can lead to serious health concerns. Eating non-food items can result in digestive problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea, and can also lead to the consumption of potentially toxic substances, such as lead or pesticides. If you’re concerned about your dog’s pica behavior, the ASPCA recommends seeking veterinary care to rule out any underlying health problems. Keep your pup happy and healthy – it’s worth it!


Dirt eating may seem strange, but it’s not uncommon in dogs. Whether it’s related to digestive issues, boredom and stress, or nutritional deficiencies, there are several reasons why dogs may eat dirt. With proper care and attention, you can help to discourage this behavior and ensure your dog is healthy and happy.

Last, understanding why dogs eat dirt is key to finding a solution. Don’t hesitate to talk to your vet if you’re concerned about your dog’s dirt-eating habits. With the right care and attention, you can help to discourage this behavior and ensure your dog is healthy and happy.

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