Dog Ate Potting Soil: Reasons and Potential Risks

Your dog may have swallowed potting soil as it roams in the garden. Truly, the smell of potting soil may have attracted the dog; out of curiosity, the dog feels obliged to explore the “strange food”. Potting soil contains items that can irritate the dog’s digestive system if ingested in large doses.

Some dogs may not develop any problems from eating potting soil, others may have an allergic reaction or become sick if they ingest too much. It is best to keep potting soil out of the reach of dogs. If you suspect your dog has eaten potting soil and do not know what to do, this article will help you.

potting soil

Why Dogs Eat Potting Soil?

There are several reasons why a dog eats potting soil. In some cases, it may also be a sign of an underlying health problem or nutrient deficiency. Any of the below reasons would make your dog eat potting soil.

Smell: Dogs are naturally curious and the great power of smell dogs have can lead to a deliberate exploration of potting soil. The pungent smell of potting soil will naturally attract the dog, if the dog has an underlying health problem or nutritional defect, it could eat the potting soil.

Boredom: In some cases, it may be an expression of boredom, which is an understandable response to a lack of entertainment. In other cases, your dog may be merely attempting to solve its boredom by eating potting soil, which has a pungent smell.

Dietary Problem: When a dog is not deriving adequate nutrients from its food, it tends to outsource the nutrients from other sources. This can lead to a condition known as Pica disorder; it makes dogs eat non-food items, such as rocks, dirt, or potting soil.

Poisonous Substances In Potting Soil

Potting soil is a plant growth medium containing small amounts of fertilizers and organic compounds essential for plant growth. It’s often used in gardens or landscaping to increase the survival of seeds and raise healthy seedlings.

As a plant grows, the potting soil contains some harmful materials or chemicals namely; synthetic fertilizer, pesticides (insecticides and fungicides), worms, insects, and other biological agents. These materials can cause toxic effects on dogs that eat potting soil.

Potting soil that contains nitrogenous fertilizers can be toxic to dogs. Nitrogen can also cause constipation and bowel obstruction in dogs. Organic fertilizers like compost are part of the component of potting soil; unlike synthetic fertilizers, compost has little or no effect on dogs.

Resides of pesticides like fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides recently applied to control pests and diseases may be present in the potting soil; the pesticide residues are extremely toxic and poisonous to dogs that eat such potting soil.

Signs Dogs Display After Eating a Potting Soil

Potting soil infestations can be dangerous to your dog’s health. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s best to take action immediately:

1. Stomach Upset: Your dog may vomit or have diarrhea due to potting soil ingestion. This is a sign of toxicity and should be treated with immediate veterinary care.

2. Abdominal Pain: Some potting soil products contain clay, which can cause abdominal pain in your dog if ingested in large quantities. Take action as soon as possible to prevent further damage by removing any clay from the dog’s mouth or stomach.

3. Respiratory Distress: In addition to breathing issues caused by potting soil ingestion, some dogs may develop respiratory distress due to the toxins present in these products. This can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, which could cause death if not treated properly.

4. Restlessness: If your dog becomes restless after eating potting soil, it could be because of an allergic reaction such as hives or itching skin caused by dust mites or mold spores found in these products.

Solutions To Dogs That Eat Potting Soil

Potting soil is not good for dogs to eat; It is not just soil, it contains other components like fertilizers and pesticides that can harm the dog’s health. When a dog eats potting soil, there are several steps to take that help the dog survive the risk of eating potting soil.

#1. Take the Potting soil out of the Dog’s sight: Mere looking at the potting soil, the dog may be attracted to it by its smell, boredom, or even in search of a deficient nutrient. It is advisable to take the potting soil out of the reach of the dog after the first accidental consumption.

The dog is unaware of the danger of eating potting soil, it is likely to continue eating it if the potting soil is not taken of out its sight. The dog may become aggressive as a result of the pleasure it derives from eating the potting soil, so gently take the potting soil completely out of its reach.

#2. Carefully observe the dog for a while: Careful observation of the dog after eating the potting soil will help determine the extent of the potting soil it ate as well as show the severity of the risk involved. The observation is best achieved when the dog is caged.

However, some dog owners have postulated that if a dog eats a small amount of potting soil, it may not pose any risk or show any symptoms. In cases where the dog shows some distress like vomiting and diarrhea or labored breathing, then it is time to take the next step, CALL THE VET!

The first aid treatment for a dog that ate potting soil is to give it some home remedies like mineral oil, pumpkin, and probiotics. The vet may choose to use prescription laxatives for dogs such as Lactulose, DSS, Cisapride, and Bisacodyl. Do not use these drugs without the vet’s prescription.

How To Prevent Dog From Eating Potting Soil

It’s important to keep your dog from eating potting soil because it can cause stomach upset and lead to other health problems. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent your dog from eating the soil.

1) Keep your dog indoors, especially during planting season. This will help prevent him from getting into the potting soil and eating it.

2) If you do let your dog out during planting season, be sure to put him in a crate or cage in case he gets overambitious and decides to dig up some soil.

3) Place wire mesh over the potting soil and place something heavy on top of it (like a brick or an old door). The weight will prevent your dog from digging through the mesh and getting into the soil itself.

4) Place a stone in the center of each mound with some dirt on top of it, this prevents digging by keeping all the dirt in place instead of being disturbed by digging paws.

5) Close off any areas where your dog might be able to access potting soil. You can accomplish this by using a gate or an electrical fence, depending on what type of material is being used as part of your boundary (for example, if you use metal instead of wood).

6) Monitor your dog’s diet and make sure that it contains the required nutrients for good growth. Also, ensure food is available in the required quantity.

Potting soil can be dangerous to dogs; it is a choking hazard. It can also upset your dog’s stomach. Proper monitoring of the dog can help prevent accidental consumption of potting soil. Your vet should be called upon any time you suspect your dog ate potting soil.

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