Why Is My Dachshund Eating Dirt?
Have you noticed your Dachshund munching on the dirt lately? Some of the main reasons a dog will consume dirt are mineral deficiencies, health issues, upset digestive system, or behavioral problems. Find out what may be bothering your dachshund and how to help resolve the issue below.
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Should I Be Worried About My Dog Eating Dirt?
My Dachshunds, Reno and Bastian, started eating dirt about 1 month after we changed their dog food. We have taken care of dachshunds for many years, and we hadn’t seen our doxies eat dirt quite like this before. What was concerning was that they were Both doing it every time they went outside to go potty.
I had a feeling it was something they were missing in their new dog food diet. Sure enough, when I changed up their food, they stopped eating dirt.
Not all “dirt eating” can be cured by a dog food change, but it is definitely the first step I would take when you notice your pup downing a good amount of soil from your yard.
Essential Nutrients Found in Soil:
Let’s take a look at the dirt itself. Dirt contains minerals, such as calcium, sodium, and iron. Many animals in the wild eat dirt to make up for a mineral deficiency during a seasonal change, change in health, or as they grow older.
Here is a list of nutrients obtained from soil
Is it Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Dirt?
If your dog is eating a little dirt, it isn’t considered dangerous. But, if your dog is eating LOTS of dirt, it is worth finding out the real issue behind this action. If your dog is consuming dirt, he is trying to tell you something.
Can My Dog Get Sick From Eating Dirt?
Yes, harmful bacteria and other nasty toxins are in the dirt and can make your dog sick. If you went outside and ate some dirt and grass, it is likely that you would obtain a parasite and become ill.
So, even though the dirt contains good minerals, (as listed above) it is NOT “Clean” and safe to eat. Lots of parasites, bugs, chemical pesticides, and animal feces are in the dirt. Here are the common parasites dogs can get from eating dirt.
4 Reasons Your Dog is Eating Dirt:
If your pup continues to eat dirt, this could be a sign of sometime more serious. Lets dig a little deeper and use the power of elimination to find out why your pup has decided to add dirt to his diet, there is likely a good reason.
1. Mineral Deficiencies:
Is your dachshund just eating dirt with no other issues? Is he still eating well and acting like himself? Look for other symptoms that may be out of the ordinary. If its mainly the dirt eating that you notice, we need to then ask the question “Is My Dog Lacking Nutrients?”
Dogs are intelligent animals, if their body needs a nutrient, they usually know where to get it. Eating a natural resource, like dirt, can give them the missing minerals their body is craving.
So many dog foods have various ingredients and nutrients. Your dog’s regular food may not be meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs.
Unfortunately, some dog foods contain certain toxins that are not safe for your dog to consume daily for a prolonged time. By occasionally switching up their regular dog food, it can help minimize the damage it may be doing to your dog.
Note: Pups who eat DIY or homemade meals have a higher chance of having a mineral or nutritional deficiency. Don’t get me wrong, homemade meals are awesome for dogs, especially for pups with allergies. It is best to consult your vet to make sure your dog’s homemade food recipe is balanced and fulfilling all of their nutritional needs to stay healthy.
2. Digestive Issues:
If your dog is eating dirt and having diarrhea or vomiting, your dachshund may have a tummy ache or GI issue. Most dogs eat grass to indicate a digestive problem, but they may also grab a hunk of dirt as well. Some types of soil or clay can help calm an upset dog stomach by moving the “problem” through their digestive tract quickly and detox the dog’s system.
3. Health Issues:
If your dachshund is eating dirt and not acting himself: not eating well, drinking more or less than usual, acting lethargic, your dog may be consuming the dirt for additional minerals to help them deal with an underlying medical condition. Often times, these conditions include hypothyroidism, GI Ulcers, kidney disease or an inflamed bowel disease. These diseases can all lead to blood lose, causing Anemia.
If you have any suspicion that your dog isn’t acting right, take them to see your vet ASAP.
Why Do Anemic Dogs Eat Dirt?
Some dogs with anemia may eat dirt because they need the iron, which is a natural nutrient found in soil.
4. Behavioral Problems:
So, what if your dog is super healthy, and the three issues listed above don’t apply to your dachshund? Well, behavior issues would be the next possibility. Dachshunds do tend to be bold and spiteful at times, so, it really isn’t that far fetched.
If your dog has a lack of mental or physical stimulation, eating dirt may be his way of showing you he needs help.
Mental disorders, like separation anxiety, can stem from excessive boredom and stress. This can cause your dog to find something, anything to keep them entertained, like being destructive.
What is Pica?
Pica is a disorder that dogs have when they eat non-food items, like dirt. Other things that pups will eat when they have pica include rocks, garbage, tissues, dryer sheets, plastic, metal pieces, and even poop. Hmm… are dachshunds born with Pica?? I gotta say, my doxies get into a lot of these non-food items, especially the dryer sheets!
Pica actions can signify mineral deficiency, health problems, or the need for more mental stimulation. So, all of the problems listed above that cause your dachshund to eat dirt and other non-food items, come full circle to Pica.
How Do You Test For Pica in Dogs?
Consult your dachshund’s veterinarian to check for Pica. They will not only check for mineral deficiencies in their blood, they will check for pancreatic function and other potential GI issues to rule out more possible causes for a pica disorder.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Dirt:
Now that we have identified what may be causing your dachshund to consume dirt, lets look at the solutions to help them STOP.
Dog Food Change
Promoting Healthy Digestion
Separation Anxiety Solutions
1. Change Your Dog’s Food:
Why Should I Change My Dog’s Food? If your Dog has a mineral or nutrient deficiency, changing their dog food diet may resolve the issue. It helps to change things up a bit to make sure your dog is getting all of the nutrients their body needs to be happy and healthy. Check out how to properly switch your dog’s food.
2. Checking For Health Issues:
Take your dachshund to the vet to get some blood work done. Also ask your vet if they could check their urine and feces as well. Dachshunds are prone to Cushing’s Disease and Hypothyroidism, so checking for theses diseases is a good idea anyway.
3. Calming Digestive Issues:
Probiotics are not only good for your own gut, but are also very beneficial to your dog’s gut as well. Adding Probiotics to your dog’s diet can actually help reduce the likelihood of allergies or skin issues from developing.
Check out: Zesty Paws Probiotic Bites for Dogs from Amazon. Alternatively, your vet can also prescribe probiotics for your dachshund.
Adding a teaspoon of pumpkin puree to your dog’s food is a healthy way of adding extra nutrients and fiber to their diet. Pumpkin Puree helps promote digestive regularity, eases stomach issues, and it tastes delicious too.
Homemade Pumpkin-based dog treats can also help keep your dog’s digestive system regular. Check out some of my favorite easy recipes here.
Note: Do Not feed your dachshund Raw Pumpkin, just pumpkin puree.
4. Help Your Dog with Behavior Issues:
If your dog checks out fine after being tested for mineral deficiencies and health issues, its time to consider behavior issues. Helping your dog through mental and physical lack of stimulation to prevent them from eating dirt is important.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Dirt?
Check out some simple solutions for separation anxiety and boredom problems.