Why Do Dogs Eat Dirt? Michael Answers!

For the dog owners, tracking your pet’s diet, as well as eating behavior, is among the top interests.

Quite often, you might notice your dog is eating dirt or mulch.

Sometimes they do this if they need some extra minerals or their stomach needs something other than plain kibble food.

These little omnivores sometimes look as if they are enjoying the best meal on the planet when they are eating dirt - but at the same time, they know they are misbehaving.

It may look something like this:

Or this:

But the real question is: Why do dogs eat dirt?

Does it taste good to them? Is there an underlying problem with this eating habit?

Knowing the reasons behind your dog’s behavior can help you in the process of taking care of your pet.

Last Updated: May 25th 2020

The Main Reasons for Eating Dirt

Why do dogs eat dirt? Michael answers!

Wait, hooman, I can explain this.

Reason #1 - Poor Diet

The No.1 reason for your dog eating dirt is a poor diet, just like it is the main reason for many canine health problems. 

Finding dirt to eat can be a dog's need for minerals, vitamins (especially vitamin B) or just good probiotics bacteria that your doggo does not have enough in a diet.

This can be caused by too much kibble or an unbalanced diet.

A balanced diet is essential for your dog’s health. Nutritional deficiency and imbalance are the top reasons for eating dirt.

What is the Solution?

If eating dirt continues for more than a few days, consider changing your dog’s diet, especially if there were some recent changes involved, or if it has been eating one and the same kibble for a long time.

To find out what precisely your dog is missing, test their hair with a highly accurate plasma induction method. The roots of his hair are bathed in the body’s plasma and contain minerals.

Therefore, hair can be a way to check the mineral levels in your dog’s body.


If your dog stops eating dirt, it means that toxicity and deficiency were the main problems.

A quick tip that I have for pet owners is that raw food should be overcooked so that the necessary minerals can be dissolved quickly.

Reason #2 - Chronic Health Problems

The act of eating dirt can also be a sign of your dog’s dangerous and chronic medical condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or hypothyroidism. It can also point to some autoimmune diseases.

Regarding inflammation in the bowels, bleeding, or ulceration along the bowl can happen, which is likely to cause anemia.

For the dogs with inflammatory problems, dirt wanting is popular because they are striving to get more minerals to cope with mild anemia.

What is the Solution?

“Eating dirt” as medicine sounds so strange, but in fact, some clay can soothe digestive problems, help with parasites and detox.

Although this habit may help your pet if it is dealing with some chronic condition, it still doesn’t mean it is healthy and that it cannot cause additional problems.

Hence, make an appointment with your vet, who will prescribe an adequate treatment for your doggo (rather than dirt eating)!

Reason #3 - Tasty Dirt

why dogs eat dirt?

Tastes as good as homework.

Another reason for dogs eating dirt that some of you might find ridiculous and unbelievable is that it is tasty to them. 

For instance, it can contain bacon or hamburger grease under a grill.

And soil containing compost or fish residue fertilizers is likely to be among dogs’ favorites! 

What is the Solution?

If you notice that your dog is eating dirt underneath a grill or somewhere where there can be some remains of food or grease, make sure to double-clean that area, or restrict your dog’s access to it. They will not be that hungry for dirt afterward.

If the soil includes a lot of snails or critters, you can “treat” your dog by adding these foods into its diet as a good way to stop a dog from eating "tasty" dirt. 

More importantly, your dog will get used to not eating dirt anymore.

Reason #4 - Behavior Issues

Behavior issues may cause dogs to eat dirt, such as, for example, chewing furniture, licking paws, hair twirling, etc. So, eating dirt will be just another example of those issues, perhaps even the most prominent one.

There are several similarities between humans and pets or dogs, particularly. One of them is “distorted behavior”, when we can become bored or stressed. 

Some symptoms can be sudden activeness or outdoor preference.

One of the things is that youngsters and puppies may often eat dirt out of pure boredom, probably because of lack of exercise, being cooped up in a kennel all day, or shortage of outdoor exposure.

Additional symptoms are co-occurring instances of mischievous behavior that I mentioned.

On a more serious note, it can be due to obsessive-compulsive disorder, mental problems from painful past experiences, or even a genetically inherited problem.

Like humans, social interaction is very important for dogs. Every dog should have at least two 45 minute walks a day.

Bonus tip: Don’t let one of your dogs feed the other one with dirt like this pal 🙂

Here’s a little trick on how to teach puppies not to eat off of dirt:

What is the Solution?

First of all, make sure that your dog is getting enough quality outdoor time.

Take them for a walk more often, let them run out in your yard (if you have one), make them a jogging buddy. They are always eager to go!

If the problem persists (and other signs of behavior issues are present), consult the vet, as there might be some underlying psychological problem behind it.

Reason #5 - Gastric Upset

Another possible reason is that your dog has eaten something upsetting its stomach or intestinal tract.

The act of eating dirt can be to dilute or to dispose of the offending food item. 

For example, something as mild as a plant can cause your doggo a little distress. 

You can notice this by observing the dog while it's eating dirt. If it is a lot of dirt at once, his bowels or stomach can be the matter.

What is the Solution?

If you think that your dog has eaten something that could cause gastric upset, prevent any further intake of the notion in question, and immediately call or see the vet.

If the item that your dog has swollen is not dangerous, the vet might suggest inducing vomiting, but this is not always the solution. 

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Eats Dirt?

​Someone left the evidence behind.

You should not be dead worried if your dog eats dirt - it’s probably a sign that something from the list above has happened.

However, it is not something to trivialize, either. It can be a symptom of something much more serious.

If some methods above do not show any improvements, I suggest you do comprehensive blood testing for your dog, including a blood count, chemistry, urinalysis, pancreas, thyroid, and adrenal tests.

Final Words

The snow doesn’t stop them sometimes.

Many dog owners often ask questions like "Why does my dog eat dirt?" and the answer varies greatly depending on the dog’s environment, diet, behavior problems, or simply put - lifestyle.

Every dog, like humans, deserves the best conditions to have a healthy life.

And you’re the one who can provide them to your best friend! So, pay attention to their eating habits, and should you see that they eat dirt, the right thing was to read this article and take all the necessary further steps.

Hope I helped you!

Loved the article?

If you have any questions or something to share, don’t hesitate to leave comments below. 

Share this with your friends to make sure the owner of your dog’s buddy does not let him eat dirt anymore!

I'm a devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time deputy pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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