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Despite This We Stay: Tasty Dirt

by Carol Dunn

A YARD NEAR YOU — After all the stories I’ve written about our dogs, you might think that we have weird dogs. Well, I suppose you could be right. In all the years I’ve had dogs, I’ve seen them eat some bizarre and disgusting things. Dogs will be dogs, after all. But this latest thing is just too strange.

My dog eats dirt. She’ll be out in the yard, which is really more dirt than grass anyway, and she’ll dig a little hole and stick her nose in it and lick up the dirt. At first I thought she was digging up those fat white grubs that turn into miller moths, which our dogs love to eat (and that’s pretty tame on the scale of bizarre and disgusting). But then I realized that she’s not digging anything out of the dirt except dirt. I’ve heard that it’s not unusual for little kids to try eating dirt, just to see what it tastes like. I’m not saying I ever did that, but I know someone who remembers doing that, and I’m not gonna rat them out. Since dirt-eating is something I don’t know ANYTHING about, I figured I’d turn to the old faithful internet to research why a dog might do this. It’s not like we’re going to run out of dirt or anything, I just wanted to know.

Well, much to my surprise (not) there were about a dozen opinions about why dogs eat dirt – because apparently it’s not just the dirt around here that appeals to dogs. Dogs all over the country eat dirt. Odd, but okay, that made me feel a little better. Sometimes they like the taste of the dirt. The Wiki article I found said, “A dog may also eat dirt to alleviate intestinal distress caused by eating something he shouldn’t have.”  Like . . . dirt?? This sounds like a vicious circle to me. As you may have read in my previous columns, our dogs eat all kinds of disgusting junk. And if it’s disgusting enough, they just barf it back up. I really don’t think they would eat dirt to dilute it.

There is a wide variety of unique suggestions on the internet for getting your dog to stop eating dirt. One of them was to feed the dog more food (that’s not dirt). I totally would not have figured that out on my own. Thanks internet.