Why Does My Dog Eat Tissues? 4 Common Reasons

Tissues are a popular canine snack. Have you ever come home to find your dog munching on the tissues from a tissue box it was holding in its paws? Or, even worse, discovered your dog munching on tissues from the trash?

Well, it’s common knowledge that dogs don’t have high standards when it comes to food and will eat almost anything if given the chance.

Is it true that canines shouldn’t touch tissues? Tissues can be harmful to a dog’s health if ingested in large quantities. If the tissues are used and tainted with food remnants or chemicals, the problem could be even more severe.

4 Possible Reasons Your Dog Eats Tissues

1. It’s Just Plain Fun

Your puppy’s insatiable appetite for tissues and other novel objects is likely just an expression of her natural curiosity. Puppy dogs, like human children, use their mouths as their primary means of exploration.

Tissues are great for biting, shredding, pawing, and eating, and they provide entertainment while also educating her about the world around her.

Though canines certainly enjoy a good get-together, they’re not the only party animals. To relieve boredom or anxiety when you’re not around, adult dogs will find their own amusement.

You can find tissues and toilet paper almost anywhere, and they may even stimulate your dog’s innate hunting instinct.

Stanley Coren, an expert and blogger at Psychology Today’s Canine Corner, has some insightful things to say about this behavior.

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He claimed that dogs’ natural desire to rip, tear, and even eat tissue is triggered when the material is placed in the mouth and feels like feathers or fur.

Why Does My Dog Eat Tissues? [2023 Updated]

2. It Smells Like You

Dogs, let’s be honest, engage in behavior that we find repulsive. Among the grossest things you can do is dig through the trash for tissues that you’ve used to blow your nose and then eat them.

It’s puzzling why they’d want to eat something that makes them feel sick. One possible explanation is that they adore you. They’re head over heels in love with you and want to eat you.

The odor of your bodily fluids is uniquely yours, and it’s not just the perspiration-induced variety. The canine brain region responsible for interpreting smells is roughly 40 times larger than its human counterpart.

Using an easily understood analogy, James Walker, a former director of Florida State University’s Sensory Research Institute, once said, “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.”

The canine nose is incredibly sensitive. Because they can detect your scent even in your used tissues, dirty underwear, and socks, they frequently consume them as a final act of ecstasy.

3. The Diet is Out of Whack

The scientific community agrees with the common belief that pica in dogs is linked to an unmet nutritional need that the dog is trying to address by eating non-food items. According to a case study published in 2017, a lack of minerals is a common cause of the unhealthy habit of eating things that aren’t food.

When it comes to feeding your dog, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible options.

Your dog’s insatiable appetite may be a sign that he is deficient in one or more of the essential nutrients he needs. As counterintuitive as it may seem, people actually seek out rocks, dirt, paper products, wood, and other seemingly unappealing substances in their quest for sustenance.

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4. An Underlying Medical Condition

After investigating other potential explanations for your dog’s unusual eating habits, a medical condition may be to blame.

Diabetes, thyroid disease, internal parasites, and hormonal imbalances have all been linked to pica.

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any suspicions that this may be the case with your pet. Excluding or diagnosing a problem that could be the root cause of this behavior is possible with blood work, stool samples, and a physical exam.

My Dog ate Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, or Kleenex! What Now?

Help, My Dog Ate Tissues, Are all Tissues Bad?

It’s false that all facial tissues are harmless. Because its material is denser and more difficult to digest, toilet paper typically causes more discomfort than tissues. The severity of the situations, however, can be affected by a number of tissue factors.

Dog Eating Shredded Tissues vs. Whole

There is also a difference in tissue type. If the dog chews up the tissues before swallowing them, for instance, they have a lower chance of causing any intestinal blockage. However, ingesting them increases the risk of an intestinal blockage.

Dog Eating Clean Tissues vs. Used Tissues

Dogs, as gross as it may sound, also enjoy snacking on used, soiled tissues. Grease, gravies with garlic or onion, nail polish, and other household chemicals are all bad news for dogs, and so are dirty tissues.

Dog Eating Dry Tissues vs. Wet Tissues (Wipes)

Wet tissues may be more difficult to digest and more likely to cause physical obstruction of the intestines, but the chemical component is not dangerous as amounts are usually too low to cause troubles.

What Happens if a Dog Eats Tissues?

Having a wipe get stuck in your intestines is the biggest risk when using them.

Digestive irritation in dogs is a real thing, but it typically resolves on its own once the tissues that were eaten have been fully digested or passed out of the body in stool.

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Why Does My Dog Eat Toilet Paper?

How to Stop My Dog from Eating Tissues

Obviously, it’s difficult to fix a behavior if you don’t know what it is. The good news is that you can rein in the behavior with a few measures of common sense.

  • In order to prevent your dog from becoming bored, stock up on a wide range of safe toys. Dogs of all ages will enjoy solving treat puzzles together as a fun way to keep them occupied. These toys are great for stimulating your dog’s mind. And avoid being bored.
  • Don’t leave tissues out for your dog to rummage through when you’re not there. Always close the door after you use the restroom, and invest in a trash can with a secure lid to prevent your dog from rummaging through trash.
  • Give your dog some undivided attention every day so it can benefit from being around you. Take a stroll, cuddle up on the couch, or play catch with the ball. A touch of affection can do wonders.
  • If you suspect that your dog’s diet may be at fault, try feeding it a wider variety of foods. Providing your dog with nothing but dry food is like insisting that a human consumes nothing but fortified breakfast cereal. Roger Welton, CEO and Chief Editor of Web-DMV, says dogs should be fed a varied diet because they are omnivores. Meat, bone broth, and fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs can help supply vital nutrients.
  • If you want to rule out illness or parasites as possible causes, a vet may be able to help.

We are completely devoted to our wonderful furry companions, even when they do things that make us turn up our noses.

Ask the Vet: Why Do Dogs Eat Tissues? - Dog Discoveries

Try some of the ideas we presented here if your dog has a habit of eating tissues. One day, perhaps you’ll be the one who finally convinces your friend to give up smoking.

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