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Why do dogs eat dirt and what you can do about it

Why do dogs eat dirt and what you can do about it

A 6-step holistic program to stop your dog 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.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to prevent your canine friend from eating soil while you are going through the elimination process.

Step 1 - Check for missing minerals and toxins

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, you can 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, LiverTune, 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, follow the next step.

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 dog food sits in bags for months - and sometimes, years - causes fats to go rancid and nutritional value to decrease.

To discover more about how to feed a raw or cooked diet to your dog, sign up for our free raw and cooked diet course.

Step 4 - Correct vitamin deficiencies and rebalance the gut

Indigestion and eating soil can also be caused by vitamin deficiencies, especially B complex and Vitamin B12, as well as gut imbalances, which can be corrected by high-potency canine 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 having more comprehensive blood testing done, including a complete blood count, chemistry, urinalysis, pancreas, thyroid and adrenal tests. 

This can help identify any underlying conditions such as hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, Addison's disease, Cushing's disease, and other health conditions. 

Step 6 - Help your dog stay active 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.

Boredom can also be a factor. If your dog loves 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

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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