We all know that eventually, every dog will eat something strange.
They sneak into the garbage can and help themselves to potatoes from the pantry (which you were sure was locked before you left the house). and every once in a while, eat toilet paper.
Considering this, we have to wonder: Why do some dogs eat toilet paper? We decided to investigate this peculiar pattern of conduct further.
Why Do Dogs Eat Toilet Paper
It’s Called Pica – And Humans Do It Too!
Pica is “the persistent craving and compulsive eating of nonfood substances,” according to the Farlex Free Dictionary.
Yes, it is sometimes seen in pregnant women, and many readers may have heard of cases in which women had exceptionally odd cravings during pregnancy; this is an eating disorder seen in humans, and people suffering from the same disorder can crave any number of substances, including dirt or ice.
The common magpie, or “pica” in Latin, will eat just about anything.
Why does one engage in pica behavior? The New York Times reports that pica is more common in children than in adults, and that anemia, zinc deficiency, and behavioral reasons like obsessive compulsive disorder are among the possible causes.
While we’ll be focusing on the issue of toilet paper chomping today, many of the underlying issues we’ll be discussing are applicable to other forms of pica as well.
Toilet Paper Can Relieve Puppy Teething Pain
It’s common for puppies and smaller dogs to engage in destructive chewing as a form of behavior.
Puppies need to chew on something soft and squishy as part of their natural teething process, and toilet paper seems like a no-brainer since it is all those things.
It’s also likely that using toilet paper can ease the itchy, uncomfortable sensation that comes along with teething.
Before your puppy develops a bad habit of using the toilet paper as a chew toy, you should get him or her an appropriate chew toy.
Check out our suggested puppy teething toys; many of the chews on this page can be frozen to help sooth your dog’s sore teeth.
Paper Chomping As the Result of Stress and Boredom
When left alone for the day, some dogs may resort to rummaging through the toilet paper rolls as a form of stress relief or boredom entertainment.
Decreased playfulness or fixation on particular behaviors (such as toilet paper eating) are also signs of stress, so you may want to investigate whether or not some novel or unusual household activity is upsetting your dog.
If you can’t put your finger on what’s causing your dog’s anxiety, it might be time to make an appointment with the vet.
Make sure your dog has plenty to do to prevent boredom; try dog puzzle toys that reward him with treats when he solves the puzzles.
Dog owners have reported great success with Kongs that have been stuffed with peanut butter or wet dog food and then frozen overnight. This makes a tasty pupsicle that your dog will want to lick all day long.
You should think about how often you walk your dog. The most effective method for decreasing a dog’s destructive behavior is increasing its physical activity.
You could go on more extended walks, engage in more aerobic activity (how about some good sessions of frisbee fetch? ), or hire a walker to take you for a midday stroll.
Dogs May Eat Toilet Paper Because They’re Hungry!
According to an article published on Vetary, your dog may be eating (and not just tearing) items like tissues due to simple hunger or malnutrition (this can also be the cause of poop-eating).
You’re not automatically a terrible dog owner, but you do need to figure out what’s triggering this behavior. PetMD suggests the following as possible causes:
- It’s possible that your dog has worms, in which case deworming him (and yourself) would be the best course of action to take.
- If you’re worried that your dog isn’t getting enough nutrition from their food, consider the following: Talk to your vet about making dietary changes, or try one of the foods we recommended.
- Problems digesting food could be the cause of your dog’s symptoms. Again, consult your vet to find a solution to the problem.
Because It’s Just Plain Fun
Some canines may enjoy tissue and toilet paper chewing simply because it is a novel experience for them.
A better solution is to find them something else to chew on that won’t give you a mini heart attack every time you get home.
We have some suggestions for the best dog chews to use in place of that awful toilet paper.
An alternative is treat-dispensing dog toys, which are likely to be more interesting to your dog than the silly toilet paper that was previously mentioned.
Why your puppy may be eating toilet paper
Puppies will chew on anything they can get their mouths on, and that includes toilet paper, napkins, and newspapers. Especially if it smells good, they may also eat it while they’re at it.
This is because teething can be extremely uncomfortable, necessitating the use of anything to bite in order to alleviate the pain.
Puppies need toys that they can chew on, so we should get them items like resistant toys with prizes inside, which will also appeal to them because they will get food. This will help us stay out of harm’s way by keeping us away from things they can easily access.
However, we should never scold or punish our puppy if we catch it biting an inappropriate object.
That will only foster distrust in us and could lead to future behavioral issues. We also can’t go chasing after them to retrieve the item in question, lest they take our efforts as a game.
Instead, we should make sure they have access to healthy food, playthings, and regular physical activity. Likewise, we can make an effort to maintain a safe distance from any potentially hazardous materials or waste that may be lying around.
If you notice your puppy playing with paper, the best way to get him to stop is to give him a more engaging and useful toy.
It can serve multiple purposes, from teething relief to providing a fun distraction. If they claim to be starving, then you should definitely feed them.
Is it safe for dogs to eat toilet paper?
Your dog’s health is in serious jeopardy if it ingests any kind of paper. This is due to the fact that items like toilet paper, newspaper, cardboard, etc., can obstruct your dog’s airways and cause digestive tract damage.
You should visit the vet immediately if you see your dog trying to vomit, coughing, or acting as though something is stuck in its throat.
Breathing problems, diarrhea, or the opposite — an inability to urinate — are a few other possible symptoms.
Toilet Paper Eating Could Hurt Your Pooch
If unchecked, pica can be harmful: As with humans, dogs shouldn’t ingest foreign objects like paper because their digestive systems weren’t designed to deal with it.
Your dog’s intestines could become “blocked up” if you do nothing about his or her fascination with toilet paper, requiring an expensive trip to the vet, surgery, and more trauma than you, your dog, or your vet would like to deal with.
PetMD warns that in addition to vomiting and diarrhea, your dog may experience lethargy and digestive problems if it eats toilet paper.
What to do if your dog eats toilet paper
The habit of eating paper is extremely harmful to your dog’s health. For this reason, we cannot dismiss it.
It’s important to consult a vet in these situations to find out what’s wrong with our pet. If it is purely behavioral, try these approaches:
Prevent your dog from having paper within reach
Keep your dog away from any and all paper products, including cardboard, toilet paper, napkins, and newspapers.
Therefore, it is important to restrict your dog’s access to certain areas. Doing things like closing the trash can and blocking the bathroom or kitchen door may be necessary.
Improve the physical well-being of your dog
As soon as you feel comfortable doing so, you should begin investigating ways to enhance your dog’s general well-being.
Perhaps your dog isn’t getting the food it needs from you. Do your homework to find the most practical dog food for your dog’s breed, size, and activity level. An appointment with a veterinarian is your best bet here.
Maybe your dog just needs more playtime. If so, we suggest getting your dog out for at least three walks per day and, if necessary, enrolling them in some canine sports.
Remember that some canines have greater exercise requirements than others. Some dog breeds require more exercise than just a daily two-hour walk.
Keep your dog entertained
In addition, mental stimulation is a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy. Put simply, you need to make sure they have access to games and environmental enrichment that keep their brains active.
For instance, you can make their daily diet more difficult by varying the size of the servings you provide.
In the form of scent games, brain games, or a treat for mastering a new skill. Provide more time and attention to your pet and lots of fun with secure playthings.
If your dog spends a lot of time alone, it’s especially important to provide him with stimulating activities and toys to keep him entertained. You can prevent him from playing with things like toilet paper and other hygiene products by providing him with appealing toys.
If this behavior is persistent or seems to stem from a deeper issue, such as anxiety, an ethologist can help you get to the bottom of things and find a lasting solution.