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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14884
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dog like to eat earth! is there a reason ?

Customer Question

My dog like to eat earth! is there a reason for this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about your fellow's habit of eating dirt.
Ideally he would see his veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid panel. Some dogs exhibit pica (eating or licking/biting non-food items) when they are anemic or sick and we do want to make sure that he is healthy and there is not a physical reason for his behavior. He could be anemic, or suffering from metabolic organ disease or hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism). This can also be a sign of nausea.
At home to try and settle his stomach in case this is related to nausea you can give either:
1)Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
OR
2)Prilosec (omeprazole) at dose of 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and should help him feel less nauseous, and thus less likely to chew/lick on non-food items. These medications are quite safe and can be used long term if they help him feel better.
If he seems at all nauseous you can try offering a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or boiled, lean hamburger and 2/3 boiled, white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow and get additional fluids into him.
If he stops the behavior with the acid reducers and bland diet then try slowly reintroducing his regular diet by mixing it with the bland. If the behavior starts again on his regular diet then perhaps a permanent switch to a low irritant diet is indicated, such as the over the counter sensitive stomach foods made by Hills or Royal Canin or prescription foods like Hills i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN.
If she continues this behavior though he should see his veterinarian for diagnostic testing.
In some cases this has nothing to do with a physical problem. Dogs can indeed show some obsessive-compulsive type behaviors when they are bored for long periods of time. They are naturally built to hunt or work. When we take their "work" away from them some dogs get a little strange with their behavior. This may wane on its own, but if he is healthy it may also help to give him more to do, such as more play time, hiding treats that he has to look for, mechanical toys that he can chase and hunt and maybe even an agility class.
Best of luck with your fellow, please let me know if you have any further questions.

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