It's a classic scene from your Instagram feed: a dog eating toilet paper. However, letting your pup run amok with a long tail of white tissue in his mouth is only funny for a few seconds. After that, destructive chewing needs to be addressed — and fast.
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The reason? Eating nonfood items, like paper, could cause health complications in your dog's gastrointestinal tract, leading to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. You definitely shouldn't allow this bad habit to become entrenched in a pet, as this type of misbehavior can make handling your dog that much more difficult.
Why a dog keeps eating toilet paper
Figuring out what's triggering this annoying habit can help you quickly address why a dog is eating tissue paper. If you're spending more time at work or running errands, your pet could be suffering from separation anxiety and then taking it out on your toilet paper rolls. A dog eating toilet paper could be bored and in need of better and more consistent stimulation. If you own a puppy, he could be eating TP out of curiosity or because he's cutting new teeth, and he's trying to ease the pain. Opting for nonfood items could also point to plain old hunger in an animal.
Check with the vet
A dog eating a toilet paper roll could have a health concern that should be addressed with the vet, including a vitamin deficiency, like a lack of iron or a zinc deficiency. Some animals may look for nonfood substances due to a gastrointestinal issue, diabetes, or even worms in her system.
Your dog's doc can determine what's going on and can help treat the condition. Be sure to ask the vet whether the food portions you're serving are sufficient. If it turns out that your animal simply needs better training, the vet can also help with tips or can refer you to an animal behaviorist.
How to stop a dog eating toilet paper
Whatever you do, remain calm and never raise your voice or strike a dog eating toilet paper. Your best bet is positive reinforcement training every time. Simply say "no" when it happens, direct his attention elsewhere, and keep high-value treats on hand. Try these quick tips too:
- Block access: Baby gates are your best friend when it comes to a dog eating toilet paper. Set up this blocker at the bathroom door or simply close the door and lock it.
- Cover the garbage: Pulling tissues, toilet paper, and other personal care items from the trash is dangerous and gross. Always seal garbage with a lid or stash the trash in a locked cabinet.
- Amp up training: Teach the command "leave it" and when he successfully drops the paper he's eating, offer a treat as well as something he's allowed to chew, like that new squeaky squirrel.
- Add more exercise: A tired dog is a good dog, as the old saying goes, so add an extra walk or longer outings with your pet to keep him satisfied and too tired to chew on TP.
- Consider a spray: Check your local pet store for a spray deterrent in order to teach your pet to leave TP alone. Spritz a bit on a piece of toilet paper so he tastes it and realizes it's no good.
- Try new toys: Mental stimulation can also curb a dog's need to destroy everything in his path, so consider different playthings, puzzle toys, and items that hold a tasty treat inside.
- Soothe his gums: A puppy's mouth aches when new teeth are erupting. To prevent him from chewing something he shouldn't, offer safe items to gnaw, like a bully stick or pig ear.
- Anticipate the chewing: Does your pet raid the bathroom trash in the afternoon? It could be that he's ready for dinner or needs a walk. Reassess his schedule to head off destructive chewing.