Can you tell if your dog has a soft spot for paper towel and cardboard tubes by looking at them? The good news is that they are not alone. The recycling bin is a special place for some dogs. What makes dogs eat cardboard, though? And how secure is it?
Dogs Eating Cardboard: Do You Need to Worry?
Let’s cut to the chase and address the real issue at hand.
As for a more concise response, the answer is probably not.
More specifically, cardboard is not poisonous, but it also isn’t very palatable. It’s possible that your dog could develop an intestinal obstruction if it ate a lot of cardboard. The most important thing is to keep an eye on them and watch for the following signs:
- Intense efforts to defecate
Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of these signs. Stool softeners or even surgery may be necessary for severe cases of blockages. If untreated, intestinal blockages can cause severe harm or death.
Keep an eye on Fido’s defecation to make sure it’s all transitory. You will be able to see the cardboard clearly in your dog’s poop because it does not decompose completely in their digestive system.
Some people recommend feeding unsweetened canned pumpkin to their dogs to help the process along.
Why Does My Dog Eat Cardboard?
Multiple factors contribute to the possibility of a dog starting to eat this non-food item. There are a variety of possible causes for your dog’s behavior, some more serious than others, so it’s important to investigate the underlying cause as soon as possible. You can narrow down your choices by asking yourself the following questions:
- How well-nourished is my dog?
- Have you altered their diet in any way?
- How nutritious is their diet, really?
- Are you spending less time with them?
- Can I ask if they stock dog toys?
- How much time do they have to themselves?
- Will they be healthy if they don’t get enough movement?
- Are there any other symptoms of behavior problems in your dog?
Whether your cause is something as simple as boredom or as complex as Pica, these questions and answers can help you get to the bottom of it. Let’s investigate several of these hypotheses further.
1. Their Diet Needs Adjusting
Examine the diet you’ve been giving your dog. Their diet should be your first concern if they are using your boxes and toilet paper.
If you’ve changed their diet, they may be missing essential nutrients. Or, if portion sizes are too low, they might just be hungry.
If you think your dog might be overweight and that might be the cause of the problem, a visit to the vet is in order.
A trip to the veterinarian can help you determine whether or not the food you’re giving your dog is providing him with the nutrients he needs. Made-at-home meals have the highest risk of being deficient.
2. Mental Stimulation
Dogs are highly intelligent creatures who benefit from mental challenges. If you don’t stop them from chewing and eating inappropriate things, they will. A bored dog is more likely to engage in destructive behavior.
You should provide your dog with some chew toys to prevent him from damaging your furniture or, even worse, your shoes. Toys that encourage thought in exchange for a reward, like interactive ones, are fantastic.
3. Not Getting Enough Attention
How often do you visit with your pet, or have you been away? Or maybe you’ve both been more busy than usual, and you’d appreciate some extra time to catch up.
Someone may be tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods when they are actually craving your company. Your dog may be doing this to get some of that much-needed attention from you in the form of a chase or removal of the cardboard.
4. Not Getting Enough Exercise
Take into account the amount of exercise your dog has had if you discover they have begun eating strange objects like cardboard.
Take them out for a walk if it’s been a while since they got some exercise. Dogs that are bored will look for ways to amuse themselves.
A lack of physical activity, like a lack of mental stimulation, can result in undesirable, destructive habits.
5. The Way Cardboard Feels to Chew
Dogs have a natural instinct to hunt, which can be frustrating for some. Even the most skilled trainers would be powerless to change what’s in their DNA.
As an added bonus, cardboard has been compared to the feathery sensation a dog gets when biting down on a feather. Because of this, it is understandable if your dog occasionally seeks out cardboard boxes to gnaw on as a means of satisfying their natural urge to chew when they are bored or famished.
Pica is a behavioral disorder in which a dog repeatedly or obsessively eats cardboard. Dogs with pica are prone to craving and eating non-food items.
All of the aforementioned can also play a role in its development. It is wise to address unhealthy eating habits before they become ingrained habits.
Is Cardboard Dangerous for Dogs to Eat?
This unusual diet is safe for dogs to consume, but it does them no favors in the digestive department. Your dog may experience intestinal obstruction if it consumes large amounts of cardboard.
If they start burping and throwing up, or if they get a fever, diarrhea, constipation, or are unusually lethargic, you know they are sick.
Dogs who regularly consume large amounts of cardboard or other inedible items may exhibit a wide variety of symptoms, but all should be taken seriously enough to warrant an emergency trip to the vet. Intestinal obstructions can be treated medically with stool softeners or surgically removed.
Keep an eye out for your pet and see if it decides to make a quick stop. You will notice that your dog has cardboard in his or her feces because cardboard does not decompose in the digestive system. You should not induce vomiting in your dog unless your veterinarian tells you to.
What Cardboard Objects Do Dogs Eat or Chew?
There are more cardboard items than I had previously thought lying around the house. But anyone could be your dog’s next victim.
If they are covered in plastic or have a lot of glue, they could be more dangerous. Some things to watch for and put out of your dogs’ reach include:
- Amazon and other online retailers’ trademarked “delivery boxes”
- Cereal packaging
- Paper towel / Toilet Paper
- Cases for pizza
What to Do if Your Dog Eats Cardboard
There are a few important things to remember if you find cardboard scraps. If you see signs of overeating in your dog, the goal is to prevent further consumption!
However, allowing your dog to regularly indulge in cardboard chewing can lead to serious health problems.
Secure Your Dog
First and foremost, remove any remaining cardboard from your dog’s mouth and get them away from the scene.
Having a dog crate or pen available is ideal for this purpose. As an alternative, confine them in a room with no other boxes, preferably somewhere you can keep an eye on them.
Search For Evidence
You should probably check the cardboard for anything of value before throwing away the rest of the debris. Though the cardboard itself probably isn’t dangerous, if it were a box of chocolates, you’d rush your dog to the emergency room.
The coating on the box, such as glue or paint, could be toxic to your dog, so be sure to inspect it thoroughly.
Keep an Eye on Your Dog
If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, is in pain, or has an intestinal blockage, keep a close eye on him. Somewhere around 24 hours may pass.
Get in touch with your vet as soon as possible if you observe any of these signs. You can look for an emergency veterinarian if they’re not available.
Call Your Vet
To find out what to do if your dog has eaten a lot of cardboard, you should consult a vet. The vet will want to know how much cardboard your dog ate, if they’re showing any signs of illness or having trouble digesting the non-food item, and if there was anything else in the boxes that could have been toxic.
How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Cardboard
The cardboard habit isn’t a big deal for Amanda, but there are other options if you’re concerned. If you want to feel less relaxed, you can take these measures.
Dogs’ destructive tendencies may stem from their owners’ neglect or from the lack of opportunities for them to get out and play. Your dog may be experiencing the negative effects of a work-life imbalance in the same way that you do. These are some of the possible treatments:
- Increased walking time and frequency
- Hire a walking service for some assistance.
- Renew your supply of treat puzzles and chew toys.
Supply interruption is another option. If you want to prevent your dog from rummaging through your trash, you should get a step trash can. Don’t let Fido in the restroom, and put the box of tissues up high. So, use this as an incentive to maintain order at home.
Then again, maybe you just need to change your point of view. Sure, dealing with cardboard is a pain and a potential mess, but if Fido is fine and your sanity is still relatively unharmed, what’s the big deal? Take comfort in the fact that at least it’s not feces and remind yourself of this whenever you feel like giving up.
Remove Cardboard from your Dog’s Access
Providing for your dog’s needs is a good first step, but this behavior must be stopped in its tracks. Get a trash can with a secure lid. Your dog will have no chance of breaking in to steal your cardboard treats.
Don’t let your dog in the bathroom, and make sure he can’t get to any cardboard boxes or rolls of toilet paper. As an added bonus, this could be good for your dog’s health and the cleanliness of your home.
Pica has a wide range of possible manifestations. It’s not just cardboard that these dogs obsessively eat; if you notice your dog doing this, take them to the vet immediately.
If this isn’t a compulsive habit, there’s no need to worry. But this could be an indicator that something is wrong with your dog. It’s possible that you just need more exercise or mental stimulation.
But it might also mean that your dog is hungry or deficient in some way. Discovering the root of the issue is crucial for preventing further complications.