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Eating Dirt

My 11 year old rottweiler as well as my 6 year old large mixed breed dog lick the ground as though eating dirt. They do not actually take a bite out of the ground but they lick bare spots. The rottweiler probably does it more than the mixed breed. They are fed Nutro dry dog food and Hills Science Diet canned food mixed together twice a day. They both seem very healthy and are in good weight. They are both up on their immunizations and have always been so.

The more holistically minded among us will scream that your dog has some type of nutritional deficiency. I don't agree with that in most cases, especially since you are feeding two brands of premium food. If medical problems have been ruled out (anemia can cause dirt licking in cats, not as common in dogs. Another disorder called "pica" where dogs eat all kinds of weird things is a possibility) than I think most of these cases are behavioral. I have seen a couple of these cases, one ended up being caused by stray cats urinating in the yard and the dogs licking the area. Another case I did a complete physical exam with blood tests and radiographs and my diagnosis was "your dog likes to lick dirt." No place does it state that you have to be smart to be a dog. Enjoy your pets!!

Dr. Mike

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