Why is My Puppy Eating DIRT?

Polaris , the six-month-old WonderPuppy, has recently began to exhibit some strange dietary preferences, namely loose dirt.

We have a designated Digging Spot for the dogs. (I decided rather than fight what appears to be in Polaris’ case to be a very powerful instinct, that I would give her a harmless area where she could dig to her heart’s content.) We also use that spot for dumping dirt we have uprooted from the new flower beds.

Every time she is let out into the yard, Polaris goes over to the pile, and eats dirt. (At least, I think it’s dirt she’s eating-- I’ve looked into her mouth and only seen mud.) She seems to love it-- I can’t break her of the habit.

Why is she eating it? I feed her very good dog food (none of that bargain crap from the grocery store) so I hesitate to imagine it’s a vitamin/mineral deficiency. Do all puppies do this? I could understand if it were once or twice as an experimentation, but she seems to look forward to it. (Sometimes she’ll even eat dirt before she eliminates.)

Should I worry about it or should I just shrug it off as one of her interesting quirks? Can anything in dirt harm a puppy? She’s never vomited or exhibited any other ill effects.

a Google search of pica dogs dirt comes up with a lot of stuff


Drat I was gonna suggest Puppy Pica. What were the odds the only other comment would be on it already?

Puppy Pica… just rolls off the tounge… now if only the dirt will.

Loosely from Blue Collar Comedy Tour - “I think he’s trying to get the taste out of his mouth.”


I have absolutely nothing helpful to add. I just want to say WHAT A CUTE PUPPY!!!

It’s a dog thing. They just have oral fixations and like to chew, lick, gnaw, and eat all sorts of stuff. It has nothing to do with diet in most cases. The sheer amount of odd stuff that gets eaten by dogs is unreal. Most times they pass without causing a problem. If your puppy is otherwise healthy, growing well, etc. I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.

my dog did the same when he was a puppy, vs our older dog that didn’t do that, HOWEVER the older dog, when he was a pup and TEETHING, did chew on table legs, heels and other shoes… our 2nd dog, the one that seemed to be eating dirt, did NOT teeth the typical way (chewing on other indoor things)… we deduced that when he chomped down on the dry dirt, it may have been to relieve itchy gums… human babies react the same way (by chewing on anything that seems to relieve their itchy gums). He’ll outgrow it, or you can try purchasing teething bones… our 2nd dog didn’t like them, but yours might.

good luck!

PUPPY!!! AWWWWWWW!!! She is so CUTE!

I don’t know anything about puppies eating dirt, but I had to say that.

I especially thought this picture was cute. When our cats lie like that, we call it “bunny paws”, and interpret it to mean “please pet my tummy” :slight_smile:

She seems to be in perfect health. “Full 'o piss 'n vinegar”, as my granny would say. Her growth rate has slowed, but I think that’s to be expected around this time. (She’s at about 30 lbs now, and I have suspicions she’s not going to get much bigger.)

Trust me, we don’t have a problem with her not chewing on things! :smiley: I’m constantly chasing her to get this or that out of her mouth, and she did a number on my kitchen baseboards, let me tell you! (A smear of hot sauce on the areas she was chewing stopped that.)

She’s lost a few of her baby teeth, and the adult ones have grown in nicely. Her gums do not appear red or inflamed.

My husband took that picture. Polaris and I were on the chaise lounge in the library, and she laid there like that, perfectly still while he snapped picture after picture. She was in one of her regrettably rare placid moods.

I had to stop letting her up on the furniture, though, because she was having a bit of dominance issues. Hopefully, I can let her back up soon, because she’s starting to accept the fact that she’s low on the “pack’s” totem pole.

This morning, I discovered Polaris’ potential as a gardener. In the dirt pile, she discovered a large woody root. She tugged on that thing ferociously, gowling, straining, jumping, falling over and doing the “crocodile roll” while holding on, and when that didn’t work, barking at it. She dug around it with a grim, determined look on her face, and finally managed to wrest it from the earth.

She trotted around the yard, doing a couple of victory laps, trailing behind a root which was about twice as long as she is. She was covered from head to toe in dirt and as happy as a clam.

Perhaps I can train her to dig out the roots of weeds from my flower beds!

You got that 30 lb beast out of that little ball of fuzz? Looks like the dirt is doing her good!