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Why does my Labrador eat dirt?

Why does my Labrador eat dirt?

Labradors can be very unusual sometimes and dirt eating is one of those unusual things that they sometimes do. It can be very concerning for you when you see your Labrador eating dirt. Hopefully, this post will help you to figure out why your Labrador is doing it and what to do about it.

So, why is your Labrador eating dirt?

There are a number of possible reasons that your Labrador could be eating dirt.

They include boredom, trying to satisfy nutritional deficiencies, to soothe an upset stomach, it smells food there, it likes the taste, an inherited trait or stress.

If your Labrador has been doing it regularly over a prolonged period then take it to the vet to make sure nothing is wrong.

And, how should you stop your Labrador eating dirt?

The best way to get your Labrador to stop eating dirt will depend on the reason that it is doing it.

Possible things that you can do is to make sure your Labrador gets lots of exercise, has a good diet, has other things to chew, is trained to come to you when you call it, and you can reduce the access that it has to dirt.  

It’s actually not that uncommon for Labradors to eat dirt but it is important that you take measures to prevent it and to make sure that it doesn’t lead to your Labrador getting sick.

Why Your Labrador Is Eats Dirt

Below are a number of reasons why your Labrador might be eating dirt and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.

Boredom

Labradors are meant to get daily exercise in order to be fully stimulated. When they do not get enough exercise they will often look for ways to stimulate themselves and it could by why yours sometimes eats dirt.

This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it has not gotten much exercise. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.

Inherited trait

Some people believe that it was common for dogs to eat dirt before they were domesticated.

They would do it since they wouldn’t have been able to get food as easily so they would try to get some more nutrients from grass and dirt.

It could be that this is a trait that present-day dogs still have which is why they occasionally choose to eat dirt. This could be why wild dogs are often seen eating grass and dirt.

Nutrition

The cause could be that your Labrador is looking to get minerals and vitamins that it isn’t getting in its diet.

If you’re unsure that your Labrador is getting the nutrients that it needs then you can read on nutritional guidelines at petswebmd here.

The good news is that this is not usually the case but you should still take a moment to make sure that you’re feeding it the right things.

It’s sick

One proposed reason that Labradors eat dirt is that they do it to ease an upset stomach. One way this happens is because the dirt can cause it to be sick causing its stomach to feel better.

Illness would be more likely to be the reason if it has started doing it suddenly. If you’re concerned that illness could be the cause then take it to a vet to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong.

It likes the taste

It could simply be because it likes the taste of the dirt which would be more likely if it has always done it. To reduce this from happening you can make sure that your Labrador is getting a lot of exercise and you can give it things to divert its attention away from dirt such as toys to chew on.

It smells food

Another cause that your Labrador might be eating dirt is that it smells food there. This would be more likely if it only eats dirt in areas where food has been.

Stress

Another cause could be that it’s a coping mechanism to put up with stress. If your Labrador recently had something happen that could be causing it to be stressed such as a change of environment, a change of owner or if one of your other dogs died then this could be the cause.

How To Reduce How Much Your Labrador Eats Dirt

Below are some options you have when getting your Labrador to stop eating dirt.

Take it to a vet

If it has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing other signs of being ill, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Labrador and to rule out illness as a possible cause.

Exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Labrador is able to get daily exercise if it is a healthy adult. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day.

Give it a good Diet

It would also help to make sure that your Labrador has been getting the right diet. It’s thought that dogs will eat dirt sometimes when they aren’t getting enough nutrients so getting a good diet is something that should help to prevent dirt eating. You can read on nutritional guidelines at petswebmd here.

Give It other things to chew on

Another option you have is to distract your Labrador from eating dirt. You can do this by giving it other things that will keep it occupied such as by giving it lots of toys to play with and by giving it lots of toys that it can chew on instead.

Train it to come to you

It would also help to train it to come to you when you call it. Doing so should make it easier for you to get it to stop doing it.

Reduce its access to dirt

The other way that you can reduce how much dirt it eats is by reducing the access that it has to dirt. You could do this by fencing off the areas with dirt in your backyard or you could try walking it in different areas.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider about your Labrador eating dirt

Risks of eating dirt

Even though eating dirt is not something that will normally harm your Labrador it is something that could harm it.

The dirt could contain poisons and pesticides which could be harmful. To prevent this from happening, try to avoid letting your Labrador be in areas where there are likely to be poisonous things for it to eat. You can also make sure that you don’t have any poisonous plants in your garden.

When it first started doing it

It would help to consider if anything else changed when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as a sudden. change in its diet, becoming ill or that it smelt food there.

It’s not very unusual

It can be very concerning when you see your Labrador eating dirt but just because it does it doesn’t necessarily mean something is seriously wrong with it.

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