My dog is a 2-year-old beagle-corgi mix that I adopted a few months ago. He has a habit of using his nose to flick dirt into his food dish, and then he continues to eat his food. Could this be a flavor thing, or is he somehow supplementing his diet?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
Dogs will sometimes eat strange things, including dirt. The behavior is not necessarily breed- or age-specific. If the habit weren't potentially unhealthy, I'd say your dog is quite clever for coming up with the nose-flicking technique.
One or more of at least four basic reasons could help explain your dog's dirty additions. If you are feeding your pet an unbalanced diet without sufficient nutrients, your pet could develop a mineral deficiency that he is trying to fix with the dirt "supplement." Switching to a high-quality dog food would resolve this problem, since manufacturers include all of the vitamins, minerals and other ingredients that your dog needs.
Some dogs are thought to enjoy the taste of certain plots of dirt. A fish fertilizer might also tempt your dog's taste buds. Bacteria, germs, toxins and all sorts of undesirables are found in dirt, however, so never think that dirt noshing is OK for your pet.
Dirt consumption habits can also be a cause of boredom, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other behavioral problems. You mentioned that you just adopted your little dog. It's possible that his previous owner did not feed a quality food and the dog got in the habit of adding the dirt. Or perhaps something disturbed the dog, and he developed this nose-flicking behavior in response -- similar to a kid sucking its thumb for comfort.
Have your dog checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any health problems.