Why Does My Puppy Eat Mud?
Anyone who has ever owned a puppy can attest to the fact that puppies are mischievous and quirky. Sometimes quirky enough to eat mud no matter how much we splurge on expensive food for them. But then again, dogs won’t be dogs if they do not do weird things, right? But the thing is, is eating mud safe for puppies? And why do puppies eat mud in the first place?
As it turns out, there are 2 main reasons why puppies eat mud: Behavioral or medical reasons. Stress, boredom, or simply a love for certain flavors are all behavioral reasons why your puppy eats mud. Some puppies will eat mud just because they have the chance to do so. On the other hand, Anemia, other nutritional deficiencies, and stomach problems are possible medical reasons for your pup to eat mud.
Let’s dive in into a more detailed discussion as to why puppies eat mud:
Puppies lacking mental and physical stimulation will find a way to pass time and release their excess energy. Come on, you can’t expect your puppy to sit around all day waiting for you, right? They’ll dig up your yard, bite anything interesting like shoes and slippers, or even eat mud. Physical and mental enrichment is necessary for all dogs, regardless of their age, breed, or health. It is your responsibility to ensure that your canine has access to basic and advanced mental and physical activities.
Tip: One great way to keep your dog from getting into mischief is to provide him with stimulating pet toys. Mental stimulation toys are excellent for keeping your dog both physically and mentally fit.
When your puppy is agitated, restless, anxious, or scared, they are more likely to seek an outlet for those unpleasant sensations, like eating mud. Puppies who are having trouble with certain situations resort to displaced behaviors. These are behaviors that appear out of context or just don’t seem to “fit” in the current situation. They also appear all of a sudden, without warning. Excessive sniffing or self-grooming, scratching when not itchy, exaggerated stretching, shaking off when not wet, or even hastily eating things that are not supposed to be in their canine diets are all examples of displaced behaviors.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you suspect your puppy is eating dirt as a result of stress or anxiety, address the issue right away. Dogs are prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Mud is Tasty
Dogs have a strong sense of smell. Unlike humans, dogs perceive their environment primarily through their sense of smell, and every now and then, they stumble upon a patch of mud that is unusually delectable. Perhaps there are remnants of a picnic from days gone by, or perhaps there is the scent of another dog with whom they would want to socialize more frequently. Similar to how a dog enjoys a taste of grass now and then, the dirt may be appealing at that particular time and place.
One of the most common health-related causes for puppies eating dirt is anemia. When a puppy’s iron and red blood cell counts are low, the puppy attempts to compensate by obtaining these nutrients from the ground.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an illness that is caused by parasites or allergy reactions from food. It is a long-lasting inflammation in the intestines. Dogs with IBD are often very low in vitamin B and eat mud to try to get this vitamin from the ground.
There are a lot of reasons why your puppy might think that a good-smelling mud is an alternative snack. It could be because they are not getting enough nutrients from their food, their dog food is too bland, their food is causing an upset stomach, or you are feeding them not enough food during mealtime. In serious cases, nutritional deficiencies can be caused by underlying medical concerns.
To try to force themselves to vomit when dogs have an upset stomach, they may occasionally consume dirt or grass. The mud will aid them in their attempts to vomit or otherwise speed up the upset stomach quickly through their digestive system.
Now that we’ve covered the reasons why your puppy is eating mud, let’s look at what we can do to put a stop to it. Should you put a stop to your puppy eating mud?
Puppies eating mud are pretty common, especially in smaller puppies who are teething and want to chew on anything and everything they can get their mouths on. This is because pups utilize their senses of taste and smell to learn about their surroundings. As a puppy matures and becomes more familiar with its surroundings, he will outgrow the habit of eating mud on his own. Puppies typically outgrow eating mud and other dirt by the time they reach the age of six months. If, on the other hand, your puppy doesn’t appear to be slowing down, you’ll have to intervene and assist your pup in stopping this behavior.
However, you should be aware that allowing your dog to eat mud on a regular basis can be dangerous, and experts recommend that you handle your puppy’s mud eating promptly. The most common is bowel impaction, which occurs when your dog eats a large amount of mud at once. Surgery may be required for this. Additionally, pesticides, fertilizers, and other hazardous substances could be present in the mud, and if a lot of mud was consumed, it can be toxic to your little pooch. If the mud contains rocks, it may harm your dog’s teeth and cause obstruction in the throat or elsewhere in the digestive tract. It’s also possible that your dog ingests a parasite along with the mud, which could result in a variety of other health problems.
What Can I Do to Make My Puppy Stop Eating Mud?
Ask Your Vet
Taking your puppy to the veterinarian to be examined for malnutrition or illness is the best course of action if you suspect that your dog is eating mud because of medical reasons. Whether you think it is just vitamin deficiency, an upset stomach, or worse, a medical reason, anything concerning your pup’s health should be consulted with your puppy’s doctor.
Distract Your Pup
The quickest and most effective method of getting your puppy to stop this tendency is to divert them whenever you spot them getting close to mud. Offering them their favorite toy or playing a game with them is a simple way to show your appreciation for their prompt response. You can even shower them with praise and affection if they follow you whenever you tell them to not go near the mud.
Encourage your puppy to participate in activities that most puppies like, such as playing with a tug toy, catching a ball, or teaching your dog tricks, such as rolling over and shaking on command.
Physical and Mental Exercise
Mud eating is frequently caused by a lack of physical and mental stimulation. Provide your dog with plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Dogs are less prone to consume dirt when they have something to do. A fatigued dog, on the other hand, is less likely to get into adventures.
Encourage your puppy to participate in additional activities that most pups like, such as tugging on a toy, catching a ball, or teaching your dog tricks like rolling over or shaking on command. Provide them with a multitude of simple ways to acquire their favorite treats. This will keep your pooch engaged in what you want him to do and make it more exciting and entertaining than eating your garden.
Moreover, training commands aid in mental stimulation as well as your dog’s understanding of right and wrong. Consider teaching your puppy the phrase “Leave It.” This command teaches your dog to ignore whatever it is that attracts him. Give him a reward every time they obey your command.
Restricting your puppy’s access to the mud is an easy way to curb this tendency. Making an alternative mud-free play-pen in your garden is a great way to start. Never leave your pup unattended outside. This will give your pooch the opportunity to do mischievous activities you don’t want him to do. Every time you go outside, walk your dog on a leash to ensure that they are always under direct observation. If walking your dog on a leash is giving you a hard time, or your dog is quick to eat mud or other objects, try having your dog wear a basket muzzle. This muzzle fits loosely over the dog’s mouth and prevents him from eating dirt or other foreign objects.
Dietary Changes for Your Pup
A change in your dog’s diet may be the most effective strategy to address your pooch’s mud-eating tendencies. This may entail choosing a dog food that is higher in protein, minerals, and essential vitamins. There are also a variety of high-quality supplements available at your local pet store or online.
Most dogs should eat twice a day, according to experts. If your dog is only fed once a day and you find them eating stuff outside, it’s possible that they are not getting full with their meals. To keep your dog’s stomach filled throughout the day, divide your dog’s daily food portions into 2-3 meals.