How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Gen B. Your Own Question

Gen B.
Gen B., Retired Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2227
Experience:  Lhasa,Shih Tzu Breeder/ B.A.Neurophysiology & Animal Behavior/I use plain English!
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Gen B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

WHY DOES MY DOG EAT SOIL

Customer Question

WHY DOES MY DOG EAT SOIL
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Gen B. replied 5 years ago.
Is this behavior NEW, or has she been doing it all her life?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
no not all her life and not all the time going through bad patch at monent
Expert:  Gen B. replied 5 years ago.
When did this behavior start? At what age?

Under what circumstances? When she is left in the garden alone to "potty", or even when you are present?

What have you done to try and stop it?

Is she underweight (you can see her rib bones), overweight (you cannot feel her rib bones when petting her), or "just right"?

Does she try eating any other non-food things around the house?



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
about age five, even when i am present i have tried being cross to no avail, her weight is just right, does not try eating other non-food stuffs around house
Expert:  Gen B. replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thanks for researching this very important question!

 

Trying to retrain a dog to ignore something they find pleasant is quite difficult.

 

It is a natural dog behavior to dig in the ground for mice, grubs and roots. In this way, the beginning of dirt-eating is "normal". Ingesting large amounts of soil, or being obsessed and fixed on dirt-eating is not normal.

 

Training a dog to LEAVE IT should be undertaken with a calm attitude, since dogs are "cross" with each other when they are jealous and competitive. You are trying to get the point across that the behavior should just STOP (and that you don't have any particular feelings about it).

 

Start LEAVE IT training with your pet on-leash at all times when outdoors around temptation. Walk her past her Favorite Holes. When she shows an attraction to the hole/dirt, tug gently and quickly to the side while saying, "LEAVE IT". Your tone should be the same as if you were saying, "SIT" for a treat. Walk away from the dirt and engage in a "More Interesting" behavior of your choice.

 

Since it has taken about a year for this behavior to reach this level of obssession, you need to be very patient and persistent. Make sure to have distractions with you during training...treats for Good Behavior and toys to play some interactive games that are more interesting than digging/gulping.

 

Video of LEAVE IT training here.


IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Since she was an adult when this started...we have to consider medical reasons that the brain might be doing this.

 

Dogs can develop a number of neurologic and behavioral side effects from illnesses such as hypothyroidism, liver or kidney disease, Cushings Disease, and diabetes. These illnesses are diagnosed by having some simple blood tests run, and should be ruled out right away in any adult pet that has changed its behavior.

 

Slow-growing brain tumors can also lead to strange changes in behavior and temperament. "Pica", or the ingestion of non-food items, although commonly associated with nutritional problems, can be caused by neurologic deficits, and has been documented in dogs that have one of the lymphoma/leukemia types of cancers.

 

Make sure that you are feeding her the best-quality food that you can afford, work on formal re-training to LEAVE IT, and have her examined thoroughly for medical problems.

 

If you need additional support at this time, please click "Reply", otherwise I thank you in advance for your "Accept".

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

didn't mention i am having a nightmare getting mo to eat her food help!

Customer/p>
Expert:  Gen B. replied 5 years ago.
Wow...yeah, I'm really concerned that something medical is going on.

Make sure that she is getting regular meals at regular times---NOT free-feeding with a full bowl all day long. Offer less than you think she needs so that you know she should be hungry. Put the ration down and walk away...sometimes dogs get nervous if we stand by or over them and fuss. After 20 minutes, take the food back up and offer it at the next meal time.

If adding some no-salt chicken broth to her regular food doesn't get her to eat well today and tomorrow, please have the vet give her a complete examination.

These behaviors in combination are quite concerning...something may be causing her brain to confuse food and dirt. Some medical help in-person is needed to get to the bottom of this situation.



JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Last | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    4544
    Vet Tech for over 30+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst

    Satisfied Customers:

    13847
    Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy's Avatar

    Candy

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    7108
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    4704
    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4430
    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/VetAnswers/2013-4-5_8257_prof10.64x64.jpg Scott Nimmo's Avatar

    Scott Nimmo

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3977
    BVMS, MRCVS.