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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16211
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Just witnessed my 8 month old boxer mix pup eating

Customer Question

Just witnessed my 8 month old boxer mix pup eating turf....grass and dirt. Why would she do this? What do I need to do to stop this behavior?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

First, if there was compost or fertilizer used on this grass/dirt, then I would have to note that those are palatable to dogs and something to keep her away from. That aside, the most common reason for dogs to suddenly eat untreated grass and dirt is actually nausea. It is a behavior that usually is used to trigger vomiting in hopes of purging what is irritating her stomach. It can be secondary to gut infections, pancreatitis, worms, or even related to them eating something else they should not have.

In a situation like this, we tend to focus on settling their stomachs. So, if she is eating this and has been off at all, you can try her on a n antacid. Common pet safe OTC ones we can use include Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid) or Zantac (More Info/Dose @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/ranitidine-hcl-zantac) Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with her vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention.

Once that has had time to absorb, you can consider starting her on a light/easily digestible diet. Start with a small volume. Examples you can use are cooked white rice with boiled chicken, boiled white fish, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). When you offer that small meal, give her 30 minutes to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until her signs are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.

Overall, if your lass suddenly started eating untreated turf, then nausea would be our top suspicion here. Therefore, we can use the above as needed to see if we can settle this for her and break this sudden onset behavior.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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