By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Is your dog eating dirt? Well, we may think that’s a little repulsive but there may be some very good reasons why your dog may have acquired that new and unusual palate. Closely observe if your dog repeatedly engages in devouring dirt or if it’s just a once in a while event.

One reason for this activity may be that his/her diet lacks in certain important minerals. This can be easily rectified by changing the diet to a higher quality food.

Remember also that your dog’s sense of smell is highly tuned and he/she may be smelling something buried in the ground or just simply eating a food item on or under the ground.

Sometimes dogs indulge in eating dirt out of boredom. In this case, other behavioral changes may also accompany this since all dogs need mental as well as physical exercises. Spend more interactive time with your dog. Teach training commands and practice them a few times each day.

Provide better chew toys such as Kongs, Nylabones or Monster Mouths which can be stuffed with snacks or even frozen with treats such as peanut butter stuffed inside.

A more serious issue may be gastric upset or due to something the dog may have eaten. If he/she ingests a large amount of dirt and not on a frequent basis, this may indicate that there may be a problem with bowels or the stomach and a vet should be consulted for a thorough check-up.