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I'm finding dirt in my dachshund's poop. He eats his regular kibble and sometimes doesn't finish it all, and he does get snacks and a vitamin pill. I'm finding areas in the yard that have been slightly pawed at and the black dirt (sand, tiny pebbles, loam, soil, dirt) I find in his poo matches the dirt from the digging areas. I'm concerned he may pick up a parasite from this habit. He'll stop when I catch him in the act, but he can't be constantly monitored. He isn't kept as an outdoor dog.

Why is he eating the dirt?

How do I stop him from eating the dirt?

What else should I be concerned about with this situation?

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If your food is giving your dog the complete nutrition they need, and they don't have anything else wrong with them, it can be either from boredom, from some sort of stomach upset (which is rare), or part of a range of compulsive behaviours (excessive grooming, licking, etc), or they just might like the taste of the dirt for whatever reason, usually due to ingredients in the fertilizer or the plants around the area, and so on.

It is relatively common for dogs to eat dirt, but it can pose some problems. If they are eating a lot of it, it can be bad for their teeth and stomach, as well as increase their risk of picking up parasites and the like, as you mentioned.

If you are concerned about the behaviour, you can try checking with your vet to make sure there isn't any other condition that is causing the dirt eating. Some occasional dirt eating is common and not a concern, however. You might consider changing their food if it is mineral deficient, or engaging in active play with them if they seem bored, but in general, if it is a cause for concern, contacting your vet is likely best.

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    I have changed up his food. His one cup dry kibble has been replaced with half a cup of dry kibble plus half a can of wet food. He has stopped noticeably eating dirt. – JoshDM Dec 12 '13 at 15:41

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