A 6-step holistic program to stop dogs from eating dirt
Dogs! We love them, we care for them and sometimes we wonder why their habits are so different from ours.
It is unlikely to see a person's head in a planter or a garden bed eating dirt, however, many dogs do exactly that.
Naturally, one would wonder if there is something missing in their dog's diet. Others would ask if dirt-eating is a sign of indigestion, toxicity or is just a bad habit shaped out of boredom.
If your dog is a dirt eater, my plan is to take you through six simple steps to help you stop your dog's habit. So there's no need to worry.
Step 1 - Check for missing minerals and toxins
Most people would agree that most animals know by intuition what is good for them. When it comes to eating dirt, it is very likely that your pooch is trying to replenish missing minerals or neutralizing toxic substances in their body.
Minerals should normally be gleaned from food, however, when you consider the level of intensive agriculture and soil depletion and the questionable quality of pet food ingredients, it is not surprising that deficiencies and toxicity can be very common conditions.
To find out what your dog is missing, test your dog's hair with a highly accurate plasma induction method. The roots of your dog's hair are bathed in the body's plasma and contain minerals. While the plasma levels of minerals fluctuate, these minerals are sealed in the hair of your dog and can be measured with extremely high accuracy. In a way, your dog's hair is a time capsule of his or her nutritional history.
Step 2 - Detox the system, provide minerals
At this point, you have the option to wait for the hair test results or start your best friend on an herbal liver detox and a plant-based mineral supplement. If your dog stops eating dirt, it means that toxicity and deficiency were the main problems. If the habit continues, here is what you can do.
Step 3 - Rule out indigestion
The second most likely cause of dirt eating is indigestion. If your dog is eating kibble, I urge you to switch to either cooked or raw food. Kibble, similar to human processed food, is far from what nature intended. Even if it was made from the purest quality ingredients, just the fact that processed food sits in bags for months - and sometimes, years - causes fats to go rancid and nutritional value to decrease.
To learn more about preparing raw or cooked food, sign up for our free raw and cooked diet course here.
Step 4 - Correct vitamin deficiencies and add high potency probiotics
Indigestion and eating soil can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, especially B complex and Vitamin B12, as well as imbalances of the intestinal flora, which can be corrected by high-potency probiotics.
The paradox is that all-natural, whole-food based vitamins help address soil eating, but the majority of vitamins are synthetic and can exacerbate a soil eating habit.
Step 5 - Check for other underlying problems
If your dog continues to eat dirt when you have completed steps 1 through 3, I strongly suggest comprehensive blood testing, including a complete blood count, chemistry, urinalysis, pancreas, thyroid and adrenal tests. Click here for more information on hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, Addison's disease, or Cushing's disease.
Step 6 - Help your dog to be occupied and happy
If all the tests come back clear, it is highly likely that your dog is an obsessive soil eater. In this case, I suggest you find an experienced animal homeopath, Bach Flower practitioner, or herbalist to balance your dog's body.
It is also wise to prevent your canine friend from eating soil while you are going through the elimination process.
Boredom can also be a factor. If your dog loves other being around other dogs, play and park time is the way to go. Every dog should have at least two, 45-minute walks a day and if you live in a too-hot or too-cold region, safe play is a great way of keeping your dog occupied and happy.
Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM