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Anna, Dog Expert, Biologist
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 11428
Experience:  35 years training & showing dogs. Written articles for Dog Fancy, Dogs, Dog World.
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why is my diabetic dog eating dirt

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We just found out two weeks ago that my 9yr old schnauzer is diabetic. We are having difficulty stabilizing his blood sugar. He is now on 13 units of NPH insulin, and we will need to raise the dose I believe. He will only eat boiled chicken, boiled roast, brown rice, oats and green beans. Two days ago he started eating dirt. What is causing the dirt eating and how do I need to adjust his food. Are there any supplements that will help stabilize his blood sugar? Chromium perhaps? Please Help!

Is your dog getting any kind of a calcium supplement with his food?

Any other vitamins or supplements at this time?

Have you seen an endocrinologist or only your regular vet?

Thank you for the additional information.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
No, Tucker has not recieved any supplements, vitamins or calcium with his food. He has only been to his vet, who is very nice, but does not have any suggestions for supplements, vitamins, etc. So, I am trying to research what I need to be adding for support. There is so much out there, and I am feeling a little over whelmed. He will not eat kibble, only cooked food. The vet has not really had any suggestions on that either. Help!
Thank you for getting back to me. It can take some time to get a diabetic dog stabilized. If it continues to be a problem, I recommend taking your dog to an endocrinologist. Often when a dog can't be stabilized, there is another health condition compounding the problem. A specialist would know about all the possibilities and how to test for them. Endocrinologists are usually on staff at veterinary teaching hospitals. This link will take you to a directory of them:

Another resource where you may get ideas and support would be other owners of diabetic dogs. Online groups are a good place to talk to them. This page has several groups with information on how to join:

You're right that there is a lot of information out there, and it's hard to judge what's good. The following site has lots of information on diabetic dogs. It is endorsed by Cornell University, and is reliable. There's a section on problem cases, which you can reach by scrolling down on the page that describes diabetes. It explains some of the conditions that can interfere with stabilization. There is also a list of links where you can find information on preparing diets for diabetic dogs.

On any homecooked diet, a dog needs to be given supplemental calcium. If you aren't doing that already, you'll need to start. This page has information on how to add calcium to homecooked diets (you'll need to scroll down just a little):

Chromium has been found to help human stabilize blood sugar, but no one has studied it in dogs. The same is true of cinnamon. Sometimes a helpful food or supplement in humans can be harmful to dogs. It's best to ask your vet about using any supplement for a dog that is ill. That being said, some people have added chromium to their diabetic dogs' diets. They didn't notice any difference. There is more information available in the links on the left side of the site I listed above. There is also a section on the homepage about "miracle cures" that you'll want to read.

Dirt-eating is often a psychological issue rather than a health issue. It could be that the added stress in the household of dealing with Tucker's illness has affected him in this way. Sometimes a parasite infestation can lead to dirt-eating, so if you haven't had a stool sample checked for worms recently, you may want to do that. More rarely, a diet deficiency can cause the problem. If your dog's diet hasn't had adequate calcium in it, that would be a possibility. If that's the case, supplementing with calcium would solve the problem. Too much calcium is also not good, so be sure to read the information at the above links, or consult your vet on the amount to feed.

If you have more questions about this, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. There's no additional charge, and I'll be happy to help you as much as I can. This has to be confusing and stressful for you. I hope you'll soon be able to stabilize Tucker.


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