The coronavirus pandemic made all of us obsessed with tissue paper. Many of us hoard roll after roll with the fear of the stores running out of supply. But what will you do if your dog chewed an entire pack? While this will drive you mad, knowing the reason behind will help fix the problem. So why does my dog eat tissues? It can be anything from Pica, boredom, separation anxiety, attention-seeking behavior, or hunger. All of these can be corrected with the right approach.
Why does my dog keep eating my tissue paper?
Almost all dogs will develop at least one negative behavior throughout their lives. This could include chewing and eating your toilet paper. There are a lot of possible explanations here, but the following are the most common:
Pica is a condition that affects both animals and humans. This is characterized by ingesting inedible items like clothes, hair, paper, wood, dirt, and just about anything. Dogs that eat tissue paper incessantly might be suffering from this condition.
So how do dogs develop Pica? It can be physiological or psychological. It’s typically observed in teenage and adult canines. While puppies will also consume inedible items, this is a normal phase of their growth and they will soon outgrow it.
Take note that Pica can be life-threatening when the dog ingests a toxic substance. It’s important to treat this as early as possible.
On a less serious note, your dog’s tissue paper obsession might be rooted in boredom. This happens if you don’t exercise the pooch enough so it looks for something to get busy at. Unfortunately, tissue papers are the most entertaining. Why not, though? It’s fun to pull and it’s very easy to shred. It’s quite a satisfying feat for canines.
Take note that you should take canine boredom seriously. Over time, your dog will become even more destructive. Also, the pooch may succumb to the next point.
3. Separation anxiety
Separation anxiety occurs when dogs are left alone for long periods. While some dogs can tolerate isolation, sociable breeds like Golden Retriever, Beagle, and Shih Tzu can’t take it. The stress and frustration will push the dog to be anxious and destructive.
You’re lucky if you’ll only suffer from shredded tissue paper. Other pet owners go home to a blown-out couch.
Eating your tissue paper is probably your dog’s way of telling you that it’s time for a meal. Food-driven canines will often do this, but the good thing is that this behavior is easy to correct with training.
This used to be our problem with our dog Sherlock. But with proper training and a few tricks (which I discussed below), he stopped touching our tissue rolls.
5. Attention seeking
Dogs are smart and they know where to hit you when they want attention. If your dog accidentally played on your tissue paper and you pay attention, it will keep doing the same thing. Over time, your doggo will obsess over it because you inadvertently reward the behavior.
If you have a puppy, chewing and eating your tissue rolls might be the pup’s way of soothing its sore gums. Your doggo should outgrow this once it hits six or seven months old. If not, you may want to consider the other reasons I discussed here.
What happens if a dog eats tissue paper?
Most of the time, ingesting a piece or two of tissue paper won’t be dangerous for your dog. However, if your pooch consumed an entire roll, it’s best to bring it to the vet immediately. The ingested tissue will ball up inside your doggo’s tummy, which will be hard to pass.
Moreover, some dogs suffer from serious digestive problems, including severe constipation, lethargy, and diarrhea after eating tissue paper. Worst, the tissue paper will lead to intestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.
How to stop your dog from eating toilet paper
While it’s frustrating whenever your dog eats your tissue paper, there’s a way to fix the behavior. The following are some of the simple yet effective solutions you can try:
Lock it up
We have a saying, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. This is exactly what you need to do with your tissue rolls. Place it in elevated cabinets and lock the doors. This way, there’s no way for your pooch to access it.
Also, preventing your dog from entering the bathroom will save you from the hassle. Also, close the door after you use it. But if your pooch knows how to open doors, I suggest using round doorknobs instead of the ones with lever handles. This requires a twisting motion that most dogs can’t do.
Use baby gates
If your sneaky dog keeps on going to the bathroom, you can use baby gates to block them. This works for small to medium-sized breeds. However, large and giant canines may hop off the baby gates with ease. Whatever blocks your dog’s path toward the bathroom will work as long as it’s safe.
Provide chew toys
Bored dogs will always look for something to pass the time. With this, it’s best to provide chew toys that will keep them busy for hours. This will also spare your tissue paper from getting chewed and eaten.
Puzzle toys and those that can be stuffed with treats are great options. It keeps your dog mentally stimulated, which keeps its mind off your tissue paper.
Aside from that, chew toys will help teething puppies soothe their sore gums. This way, the pooch will not target the tissue paper as well.
Keep your dog tired
Lastly, provide enough exercise so your dog will not vent its energy into eating your tissue paper. A walk around the neighborhood and playtime sessions will drain the excess energy of a canine. Instead of heading to the bathroom to chew some tissue, your pooch will snooze on its bed instead.
This will also help combat separation anxiety. Taking your dog to long walks before you go to work will reduce anxiety attacks and destructive behavior.
Why does my dog eat bloody tissues?
Dogs love anything with smell and taste. This is why I don’t find it surprising that dogs target bloody tissues.
Overall, a small amount of blood on a tissue paper will not hurt your dog. However, you shouldn’t tolerate this behavior as ingestion of tissue paper can cause intestinal upset.
So why does my dog eat tissues? Most of the time, it’s a behavioral problem that can be corrected by dog-proofing your bathroom and providing alternative activity. However, you should also consider the possibility of the condition called Pica, which requires the expertise of a veterinarian. Whatever method you choose, make sure that it’s safe and non-violent.