It’s a question that has baffled dog owners for centuries: why do dogs eat mud?
While some might see it as gross or unhygienic, the fact is that eating dirt is a perfectly normal behaviour for dogs.
In fact, there are many reasons why your dog might be drawn to a nice, juicy mud puddle.
Let’s take a look at the top three reasons why dogs eat mud.
Dogs will eat mud out of boredom as a form of entertainment. Their sense of smell can also reveal tasty objects in the mud which they may then eat or explore further with their mouths. Dietary deficiencies can also result in your dog adding mud to his daily food intake.
Reason #1: They’ve smelt something in the mud
One of the most common reasons why dogs eat mud is because they’ve smelt something in the mud that is appealing to them.
Dogs have a keen sense of smell, and they can often sniff out food sources that we humans can’t even see.
If your dog is eating mud, there’s a good chance that there’s something in the mud that smells appealing to them—even if it’s just a hint of something edible.
Reason #2: They need more minerals
Another possibility is that your dog is eating mud because they need more minerals in their diet.
While dog food does contain some essential minerals and nutrients, it might not be enough to meet your dog’s needs—especially if they’re an active breed.
Eating clay or dirt can help supplement their diet and give them the minerals they need to stay healthy.
If you think this might be the reason why your dog is eating mud, talk to your vet about whether switching to a food with more minerals would be appropriate.
Reason #3: They’re bored or stressed
Lastly, it’s possible that your dog is eating mud because they’re bored or stressed.
Just like humans, dogs can get bored with their daily routine—and when they’re bored, they often look for creative ways to entertain themselves.
Eating mud might seem like a strange way to pass the time, but for some dogs, it’s just another way to relieve boredom.
Stress can also cause dogs to turn to weird behaviours like eating dirt, so if you’ve noticed your dog seems extra stressed lately (maybe you’ve been working late or there’s been tension in the house), that could be another reason why they’re eating mud.
Will eating mud harm my dog?
Although there’s no real health hazard to your dog if he eats mud there are a some things to consider.
Eating too much mud could cause your dog to have constipation or diarrhea.
If your dog is a serious consumer of mud then it might be a good idea to get him checked by your vet.
Mud can contain harmful bacteria or parasites that could make your dog unwell, similarly in some areas the mud could contain chemicals or other compounds that could result in illness.
While we may never know the true reason why dogs eat mud, it’s important to remember that it’s a perfectly normal behaviour.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s mud-eating habits, talk to your vet—they’ll be able to give you more information and help you figure out if there’s anything you need to worry about.