You are here:

Dogs/Homemade diet-dirt eating dirt


My dog has been on a diet prepared by a vet nutritionalist about 1/12 years ago.  It was tweaked recently by her successor. Ingredients are basically the same, jut serving sizes changed a bit.
3oz chicken - breast or thigh
110-113 G white rice/brown rice
2T pumpkin
2T mixed veges
1 tea yogurt
Sunflower oil-1/2 tea
Fish oil -1/4 tea
Balance-It brand vit/min supplement
I give her dehydrated sweet potato after meals for treat
She seems to be really hungry more than usual.  She has begun eating dirt and sniffing continuously in grass as if searching for something.  I'm concerned that my dog's nutritional needs are lacking in something.  I increased the chicken to 3.5 oz on my own.  Felt she was just too hungry.
Is there any supplement that I could add to this diet to see if the dirt eating/grass sniffing might cease?
I would appreciate any advice you might share.  
Thank you very much,

ANSWER: Hello Roche,

Unless you didn't include it on your list, I'm not seeing any calcium source. A dog's natural diet includes ample calcium from the bones of there prey.

All balanced dog foods in cans or bags include some form of calcium. Lack of adequate calcium can cause many health issues.

I'm also not seeing any organ meat. Your vit/min supplement may be enough for these missing nutrients but not as good of source as the actual organs.

It's great that you are fixing a homemade diet as you know where all your ingredients come from and have good control. The downside to this is trying to make it balanced and giving your dog variety.

The next thing I notice and a possible reason for the dirt eating is a lack of enzymes and probiotics. I know you mentioned yogurt in the diet but if it gets cooked with the other foods, it will destroy any good probiotics.

Plus, commercial yogurt is very low in any good probiotics.

Enzymes are a vital part of any diet. Many contribute dirt, grass or other dog's poop eating to a lack of adequate enzymes in the diet.

Dog's get there natural enzymes from there prey from internal organs and the bile duct system. The pancreas is full of good digestive enzymes.

But these organs are not commonly available so you need to supplement. All cooked or processed foods in cans or bags for dogs have all had their enzymes destroyed by the heat.

Enzymes and probiotics are destroyed when cooked foods over 118 degrees for more than a few minutes.

You can purchase enzyme and probiotic supplements to sprinkle on your dogs food at each meal time.

A good one we use and sell at our store is from Animal Essentials. It contains both in one powder. You can find it or others on Amazon or your local natural pet food store.

I would be careful with this diet and the lacking ingredients. If it were me, I would seek the assistance of a holistic vet. These guys know their nutrition and have good recipes that are balanced for those who make their dogs food at home.

They are not like your regular vet as they have had extensive training in healing through nutrition.

Most all are also big proponents of the raw food diet. This mimics what mother nature intended for our dogs to eat and thrive on. It contains all the "live" ingredients that are missing from cooked diets.

There are good books available on homemade diets. You may want to purchase a couple and make sure you are providing everything that they need.

There are also good books on feeding the raw food diet as well. There are many commercially made raw food products for dogs in the natural pet food stores as well. These make it very easy to feed a raw food diet and they are all balanced.

Again, it's great that you are taking the time to prepare your dogs food. But as I mentioned, keeping it balanced is tough. Look to other diet plans and question your person who wrote this diet for you. Find out why they are not suggesting any form of calcium supplement like bone meal or egg shells and if the vit/min mixture is enough to replace good organ meat.

I don't have written diets to give you as we feed a raw food diet to our dogs. Even though we feed raw, we still add enzymes and probiotics to each meal. Just to give their digestive system that much more help.

Adding a few extra green beans to the diet may help the hunger some. They are high fiber and help give a little fuller feeling. Not too much as you don't want too high fiber as that pushes all the food through the system too fast.

Get some enzymes and probiotics and start as soon as you can. These are one of the best things anyone can do for their dog or cat. This may help the dirt eating. Sometimes though it is a behavioral issue that has nothing to do with the diet.

Use her weight as a guideline on how much to feed. I know you said you are giving more chicken and that is fine. Just use her weight as a guide for increasing or decreasing amounts.

I hope this helps some, feel free to respond back with more questions or if you need some clarification of some part I said. I can also talk to you about converting to a raw food diet if you want to learn more about that.

Let me know if you have anything else,


[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much, Roger for taking the time to provide me with such detailed information and advice.  I really appreciate it.  I have read many books on homemade diets-cooked and raw.  B/C I would never trust my dog's health to my formulation, I sought the help of a DVM- clinical nutritionist at a prestigious veterinary hospital in my area.  I have searched  for holistic vets, but they are too far for me to travel.  I wonder about the absence of organ meats also.  I occasionally feed her a can of organic food that contains liver.  The supplement called Balance-It is a multi vit/mineral and amino acid supplement designed for homemade dog food.  It contains calcium-0.3063 g per 1 tea.  Her daily intake is 21/2 tea daily.  Once again, it was what the nutritionalist recommended.   The yogurt is added to bowl and not cooked.  I don't know if this is a balanced diet. I don't know if I should question the  vet, but if this continues, I will definitely call her and express my concerns. I was told her blood tests are fine, if that means anything.  I really can't start to learn about raw feeding now that she is already 7 years old.  And in dog years, I would be dead.  Too difficult for me at this age.      In addition, I am a vegetarian and other than liver, I really don't see other organ meats at the local supermarkets.  I  don't handle meat other than what I have to prepare for my dog.  I am going to purchase the probiotic/enzymes to start.  I am familiar with the brand you suggested and will order ASAP.  I was also wondering if some type of "green food"  would be helpful also.  I hope I covered  my  follow- up concerns.  Once again, thank you so much for the excellent advice

No problem, I hope some of it helped.

I'm glad you are really diving into this, your dog will reap the benefits. I'm also glad to see that your vit/min supplement has some calcium. That is really important.

If there are no near-by holistic vets in your area, you could consult with an online one. I have used one and I liked working with her. Dr. Tillman is in California and usually responds pretty fast. The cost was inexpensive.

You can check them out at:

You can run your list by her and see if she recommends anything else.

For the organ meat, many natural pet food stores that sell raw food will sometimes have containers of a variety of organ meat. Other wise, just the liver is a good choice.

I understand you not wanting to learn raw. It can intimidate many. But I have to tell you that no dog is too young or two old to consume and benefit from a raw food diet. But it has to fit your lifestyle as well.

If you want to look at a prepared food, there is one made in California that's called My Perfect Pet. We have been selling it for around 6 months now. It's a lightly cooked food. It's in between canned and raw foods. It is formulated by a couple that has put a lot of research and help creating it and they use top of the line ingredients.

My mom does not want to feed raw to her dogs so I give her that food. She used to make her own food but it was hard keeping it balanced while providing variety in proteins and other ingredients.

This would allow you to give a healthy balanced meal and add a lot of variety in her diet. You can check them out here:

I'm glad her blood test are fine, that does tell us a lot.

For the green foods, Pet Kelp is a good source. They make several varieties. We also use spirulina occasionally. We juice in the mornings and give our dogs a little of that as well.

There are many other green pet supplements. Animal Essentials makes some great products and have some green ones. They also make apothecary products for diarrhea and for stomach upset times. They work great. We always have some in the fridge for those times.

Check out there site at:

All these are great to use now and then to help with the immune system. Rotate between products and companies for best results over time.

OK, I think I covered this round. Feel free to respond back if you think of some more things or for clarification.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Roger McLeskey


Can answer all nutritional information for all dogs. Common problems with food, supplements, weight control, allergies, fleas, etc. Questions regarding raw food, homemade food, skin & coat issues, ect. Can't and/or will not do medicinal type questions that the vet takes care of.


I am certified in Dog Nutrition. Over 6 years now I've owned a natural pet food retail store. I've worked with hundreds of dogs and there owners to achieve better health. We promote a healthy balanced species related diet. This is the way nature made your pet to thrive. Fortunately for those who cannot or wish not to feed a raw based diet, there are alternatives with supplements and cooked food. Just don't let processed food be there only diet. Food is the most powerful medicine. Heal the core of the animal and the rest will take care of itself. We've turned the lives of many dogs around. There parents come back into the store and comment to us on how there dog acts like a real dog again. Our business is thriving and we continue to help many.

We work with Second Chance Companions, Must Love Dogs, members of ASPCA, HSUSA and started our own personal "Red Head Rescue" (non chartered) for stray dogs and rescue dogs from high kill shelters. We've been able to heal the many health ailments these dogs have and place them in good homes.

Dog Food Decoded - How To Choose A Health Diet For Your Dog and Your Budget - Available on Amazon in Kindle format or Paperback. Various articles for in store and web.

Certified - Canine Nutrition Level Three. Last 7 years I've been working with veterinarians, holistic veterinarians, attending seminars and best of all, real life experience with hundreds of customer dogs and cats. I've seen what works and does not work. Feeding a proper species appropriate diet works for most ailments. We've taken away our petís natural diet and caused most of todayís problems.

Awards and Honors

Past/Present Clients
Many satisfied pet owners coming to our store for nutritional help and advice.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]