Dogs are notorious for always having something in their mouths. From toys, sticks, shoes, tissue paper, dirty clothes, and whatnots, canines are fond of mouthing things. But why does my dog eat my hair? This isn’t common, but some dogs do this on their owners. It could be the hair on their scalp or the ones that fell on the floor. It’s a puzzling behavior, but the five reasons below will help explain it.
Why do dogs eat human hair?
Human hair is inedible, so your dog shouldn’t be consuming it at all. But first, you should know why your dog is doing it so you can take the proper course of action.
1. Your dog is bored.
The most common reason why dogs nibble and eat their owners’ hair is boredom. This means that your dog is understimulated, so it finds ways to expel the excess energy.
Puppies are more energetic, so they can get bored easily if you don’t give them enough exercise and playtime.
Take note that bored dogs can easily form habits that are difficult to correct later on. If you notice that your dog is targeting your hair, you should do something to stop it.
2. Your dog wants attention.
It’s also possible that you’re rewarding the behavior inadvertently. For example, when your dog chews or swallows hair, you call it or give a form of response. This response, regardless if positive or negative, is affirming for canines. Over time, the doggo will realize that eating hair gets your attention.
You have to be careful when addressing an attention-seeking behavior. Positive reinforcement is always the way to go.
3. Your dog is teething.
If your puppy is eating and chewing your hair, it might be due to teething. Puppies that are still teething suffer from uncomfortable and sore gums. To ease that, they will chew anything they can find – including your locks.
Also, puppies use their mouths to explore unfamiliar things. If it’s your dog’s first time to be up close with your hair, don’t be surprised if it will chew and even try to eat it. While most puppies outgrow this behavior, you shouldn’t tolerate it.
4. Your dog is stressed.
Stress will get the best of your dog. Canines that suffer extreme stress and anxiety will resort to aggressive chewing, which may include your hair. They may also ingest inedible items as a way to vent their nervousness.
Take note that stress can branch out into a slew of negative behavior. You should address this issue as soon as possible.
5. Your dog has Pica.
On a more serious note, dogs that eat human hair incessantly might be suffering from a condition called Pica. This condition is observed in both humans and animals. What happens is that the dog ingests inedible items for no reason. It could be your hair, dirt, plants, plastic, and anything you can think of.
Pica is a dangerous condition as it increases your dog’s risk of being poisoned. It could also result in intestinal blockage if your pet happens to swallow a large object.
Experts aren’t sure what causes Pica, but many vets point to neurological problems, metabolic conditions, poor diet, and even certain medications.
Dogs with Pica will eat human hair on the floor and even the hair of other animals. Over time, the habit can become obsessive.
Usually, Pica is observed in adolescent and adult dogs. If your dog is eating hair and other inedible items, you should have it checked by a veterinarian.
The treatment for this condition depends on what’s causing it in the first place. Most of the time, dogs with Pica may require a diet change and additional training. In some cases, the dog with Pica will be prescribed medications.
How do I stop my dog from eating my hair?
If you want to stop your dog from targeting your hair, the following tips will help a lot:
- Provide an alternative activity. Bored dogs will eat hair if you don’t give them something to occupy their time. In this case, chew toys and plenty of exercises will help a lot. This will drain your dog’s excess energy.
- Reduce stress. Nervous dogs shouldn’t be exposed to stressors that may trigger their hair-eating habits. You should also train your pet to prevent the occurrence of separation anxiety.
- Clean up. Your dog won’t eat hair if there’s nothing to eat. Always vacuum your floor and keep hairbrushes out of your pet’s reach.
- Consult the vet. If a health problem is causing your dog’s affinity for human hair, you should consult the vet. Your dog may have Pica that requires professional veterinary attention.
Are human hair products safe for dogs?
No, human hair products aren’t safe for dogs. You shouldn’t use it on them, and you shouldn’t allow your dog to nibble on your hair either. Leave-on products are more dangerous since dogs can consume the chemical firsthand. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other adverse symptoms.
The fact that these products are made for humans says a lot about their safety among animals. This is why you shouldn’t tolerate your dog eating your hair on the floor. Aside from the hair product, this can cause intestinal blockage.
What will happen if a dog keeps eating human hair?
If your dog only consumed a few strands, it will pass through quite easily. However, if your doggo is consuming lots of fallen hair on a regular basis, you should worry. This can form a hairball in their stomach until it becomes a full-on blockage.
Intestinal blockage is the culprit to a slew of gastrointestinal issues. In worst cases, the dog will find it hard to pass stool. When this happens, your pet’s life will be at risk.
Is it normal for dogs to have hair in their poop?
Based on my experience with my dog Sherlock, it’s normal to see a strand or two on his poop. This can be consumed while licking something or when playing. While canine’s stomach acid is strong, it can’t digest hair.
However, if your dog has clumps of hair on its poop, you should bring it to the vet. There’s a high chance that your dog has Pica. Also, there might be more inside your dog’s tummy that’s causing a blockage.
Can a dog die from eating too much human hair?
If a dog swallows large amounts of human hair, it can block the stomach. In worst cases, the canine may die if not given proper veterinary attention. For the most part, a few strands of hair are easy to pass.
Even if human hair consumption rarely kills a dog, you shouldn’t let your dog eat it. Hair is inedible and has no use inside the body.
It’s important to check your dog’s fecal matter after it eliminates. You should check if there are human hair and if the stool is smaller than normal.
Why does my dog eat my hair? Boredom is the leading cause, but you shouldn’t discount the possibility of stress and Pica. Some dogs will also eat hair deliberately to get their owners’ attention. Whatever the reason behind it, you should discourage your dog from consuming human hair. It’s inedible, and your dog can’t digest it.