A dog can be stopped from eating dirt by placing a muzzle on it or making sure it does not have access to the dirt, which means keeping the dog's eating or sleeping area clean. This treatment presumes that the dog's problem is not the result of a medical condition or poor nutrition. In that case, the disease or condition needs to be remedied.
Several diseases can cause a dog to eat dirt or other inappropriate substances. They include inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal parasites, neurological diseases and diabetes. A dog with a thyroid problem or anemia can also be compelled to eat dirt. Some dogs eat dirt simply because they are hungry, anxious or frustrated. In some dogs, this behavior may have started as a form of play.
A dog who is eating dirt, a condition also known as pica, should be seen by a veterinarian who can assess the dog's overall health and learn about its environment and how it is handled. With this information, the veterinarian can create a treatment plan to help the dog. After the treatment plan is put in effect, the dog needs to be brought to the vet fairly regularly for a few months. These check-ups allow the veterinarian to see if the plan is working as it should.