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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 13947
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 18 years.
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My ten year old Border Terrier has been eating soft soil in

Customer Question

My ten year old Border Terrier has been eating soft soil in the garden this last week and frantically. I give him dried food and a small carrot or small piece of cabbage stalk daily and also a dental stick. also a teaspoon of milk with each feed which is twice a day. He eats grass daily but not frantically. He also suffers a throat problem when he finds it hard to breathe mainly when waking up suddenly.
He is still an active dog and weighs 10kg
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Altman :

Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and I am happy to answer your questions.

Dr. Altman :

This behavior may be a sign of a systemic problem, or it may be nothing at all...

Some dogs do this for behavioral reasons - to get attention or due to anxiety. Depending on the texture or material the taste at times can be salty and enticing for dogs.

The question remains - if there is a systemic reason for it, what could that be?
- Low red blood cell count - anemia. Dogs with a low red blood cell count may lick or eat abnormal things such as dirt, or bricks and concrete. This is because the dog feels like there is an iron deficiency from lower than normal red blood cells.

If you have any suspicion that there may be a low red blood cell count (pale gums, lethargic, fast heart rate, fast breathing, etc.) then I would recommend making an appointment to see your veterinarian.

A quick blood test can look at the red blood cell count, and potentially look for other diseases or problems such as electrolyte abnormalities.

Dr. Altman :

This is actually called PICA, CLICK HERE for more information which is a term for eating non edible items

Dr. Altman :

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both but since it is frantic and a new behavior I would advise a veterinary exam and basic bloodwork to rule out a medical cause for this new behavior

Dr. Altman :

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