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CriticalCareVet, ER/ICU Specialist
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Emergency and Critical Care Specialist
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why is my dog eating the dirt out of my potted plants

Resolved Question:

why is my dog eating the dirt out of my potted plants?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 5 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer! I am a licensed veterinarian and would be glad to help!

1) When did this start?

2) What is the normal diet?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
about 6 mo. ago 2 cups of eulkanuba lamb and rice
Expert:  CriticalCareVet replied 5 years ago.
The general term for this description is PICA (LINK HERE)

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.

- Electrolyte deficiencies can do this as well, but this is not common.

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.

But in most of these cases, this is behavioral in dogs, not due to a medical condition and rarely serious.

I hope this information helps!
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