Have you ever seen your dog eat soil?
If so, you’re not alone. Soil-eating is a common behaviour for dogs, but why do they do it?
There are a few theories out there, but the answer is still unknown.
Why your dog might be eating soil
Dogs are known for being scavengers and will eat almost anything, but why do dogs eat soil?
Some people might think it’s because their dog is hungry and needs food, but that’s not usually the case.
In fact, there are a few suggestions why dogs eat soil.
One is that they’re trying to get minerals from the soil.
Dogs need certain minerals in their diet, and if they’re not getting enough of them from their food they may try to get them from other sources.
Soil contains many different minerals, so it’s no surprise that some dogs turn to it as a way to supplement their diet.
Another suggestion is that dogs may eat soil is because they’re trying to detoxify their system.
There is also the possibility that something tasty has been mixed in with the soil, maybe some spilt food, a dead mouse or something similar that appeals to his senses of smell and taste.
Is eating soil bad for dogs
Very much so.
Soil can contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can be dangerous or even deadly to dogs.
Soil that has been treated with weedkillers, pesticides or fertiliser could poison a dog that eats it.
The soil itself can also be a choking hazard, and it can also lead to gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
There is also the risk that your dog could chew stones and other debris that could damage teeth and gums and, if these items are ingested, choking and potentially internal injury.
Soil also contains a variety of parasites and worms, all of which could be harmful to your dog.
If the soil is infected with certain parasites then this could cause potential infestations of roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and more.
How can I stop my dog from eating soil
There are a few things you can do to help stop your dog from eating soil.
The most important thing is to make sure that your dog has a healthy diet and is getting all the nutrients they need.
If your dog is hungry then he may turn to the garden for food and this can include soil, so make sure that he is getting enough good quality food.
If you’re not sure whether your dog is getting enough nutrients, talk to your veterinarian about what they should be eating.
You may have to supervise your dog when he is outdoors to prevent and discourage him from eating soil.
If you see him sniffing around or trying to eat soil then distract him with a toy or treat and take him inside.
It’s important to be consistent with this so that he knows that eating soil is not allowed.
Providing your dog with plenty of chew toys can also help to stop him from digging and eating soil.
Chew toys can help to satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew and toiys such as Kongs, can be filled with treats to keep them occupied.
In some cases, you may need to remove the temptation altogether and this means keeping your dog away from areas of the garden where there is soil.
You can do this by fencing off certain areas or using a child gate to block off access.
If your dog is bored or doesn’t get enough exercise then he will get rid of his excess energy in his own way.
This is often manifested in activities such as digging in the garden which p
often includes eating soil as part of the job.
Make sure that your dog has a good opportunity, daily, to run free, explore and burn off some of that energy.
A tired dog is often a good dog and, if your dog is worn out then he won’t have the urge to dig the garden and eat the contents.
One of the main dangers of eating soil is that it can contain a variety of different parasites.
These parasites can then infect your dog and cause a range of problems.
The best way to protect your dog from these parasites is to make sure that he is regularly treated with worming medication.
Your vet can advise you on the best worming treatment for your dog.
Why do dogs eat soil?
Dogs may eat soil due to curiosity, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal discomfort, or instinctual behaviour.
Is it harmful if my dog eats soil?
Eating small amounts of soil is usually not harmful, but excessive consumption can lead to health issues or exposure to toxins. Consult a vet if concerned.
How can I prevent my dog from eating soil?
Supervise your dog outdoors, train commands like “leave it,” provide proper exercise and mental stimulation, ensure a balanced diet, and manage the environment to limit access to soil. Consult a vet for persistent behaviour.