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Dog Ate Toilet Paper

Dogs are known for putting all sorts of strange things in their mouths, from discarded pizza on the sidewalk to their own poop. But one peculiar choice that dogs often make is devouring toilet paper. It may seem odd, but this behavior is more common than you might think. However, what many dog owners don’t realize is that eating toilet paper can have serious consequences for their furry friends’ health. Not only can it lead to discomfort and digestive issues, but it can also result in hefty medical bills. That’s why it’s crucial to prevent or address this behavior to ensure your canine companion lives a healthier, happier, and longer life.

Why Do Dogs Eat Toilet Paper?

Dogs may indulge in toilet paper chewing or scattering for various reasons, both behavioral and medical. For puppies, exploring their surroundings with their mouths is a way to satisfy their curiosity. It’s not uncommon for teething puppies to chew on objects, including toilet paper, to alleviate teething pain. Similarly, adult dogs might be attracted to toilet paper out of curiosity, as experiencing different textures helps them better understand the world around them.

Another reason dogs may crave toilet paper is due to a deficiency in essential minerals like iron. When dogs lack proper nutrition or don’t receive enough calories for their size, they may try to ingest other substances to fulfill their appetites.

Additionally, certain medical conditions can contribute to dogs eating toilet paper. Gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, or worms can lead dogs to snack on toilet paper out of hunger. Furthermore, dogs with a condition called “pica,” an eating disorder characterized by craving non-edible items, may turn to toilet paper due to anemia or zinc deficiency.

Lastly, anxiety can drive dogs to chew or shred paper as a way to soothe themselves. Boredom can also be a factor, with some dogs resorting to toilet paper consumption to gain attention. To them, any reaction, even a negative one, is better than being ignored. And for some dogs, the act of eating toilet paper simply seems like a fun activity.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Toilet Paper

1. Clean up their environment

The first step in eliminating this dangerous habit is to ensure that toilet paper is not easily accessible to your dog. Keep all extra rolls and tissues hidden behind baby-locked cabinets or out of reach. It’s also a good idea to keep the bathroom door closed at all times.

Since dogs are often attracted to toilet paper rolls because of the spinning motion, you may want to consider investing in a special toilet paper dispenser designed to prevent dogs from accessing it.

If you’re unable to supervise your dog at home, set up gates to restrict access to the bathroom or consider crating them.

If your furry friend is fond of munching on toilet paper straight out of the trash can, make sure the cans are securely sealed and kept out of their reach. For dogs that love dumpster diving, keeping the trash can behind a closed door can be a helpful solution.

2. Provide ample opportunities for mental and physical stimulation

As the saying goes, “A tired dog is a happy dog.” Boredom often leads dogs to seek out entertainment wherever they can find it, including toilet paper. To prevent this, ensure that your dog receives proper mental and physical stimulation.

Regular exercise and dedicated playtime provide dogs with outlets for their excess energy. Consider increasing the length of your walks or engaging in interactive games like tug-of-war with your pooch.

Since dogs require both physical and mental stimulation, you can also involve them in AKC dog sports such as Agility, Retrieving, and Scent Work. These activities tap into highly energetic dogs’ hunting instincts and obedience skills.

3. Teach dogs basic obedience skills

To address this behavior, it’s crucial to teach your dog basic obedience commands like “leave it” and “give.” By doing so, you can train them to understand that although an object may be within reach, it is off-limits.

According to Mary Ann Zeigenfuse, owner of Best Friends Obedience, it’s all about teaching dogs to listen to your words and commands. If you catch your pup with toilet paper in their mouth, place your hand under their mouth and say “give.” If they go for the toilet paper, say “leave it” and offer them a toy instead.

When a dog associates your attention with toilet paper, they perceive it as a prized possession, making it a high-value toy. On the other hand, if they pick up a toy and receive no attention, that object becomes less desirable. By providing dogs with an alternative toy and redirecting their attention in a positive way, you can effectively manage their behavior.

How Eating Toilet Paper Harms Your Dog’s Health

Consuming toilet paper can lead to serious digestive issues for your dog. At the very least, it may cause an upset stomach as the paper passes through their system. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and lethargy.

In more severe cases, eating toilet paper can lead to blockages in your dog’s intestines, requiring surgical intervention. Signs of a blocked intestine include weight loss, bloating, pain, or an inability to eat.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Toilet Paper

If you catch your dog eating toilet paper, it’s essential to make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Since this behavior may indicate underlying health conditions, a thorough physical examination is necessary. Your veterinarian can conduct any necessary tests and provide a diagnosis. If the cause is a medical issue, they can recommend specialized medication, diets, or further advice.

On the other hand, if the cause is behavioral, your veterinarian can suggest appropriate behavioral solutions. You may need to consult a professional dog trainer for obedience training or reach out to your local AKC club to explore dog sports and training classes.

Remember, by taking proactive measures and addressing this issue promptly, you can ensure the well-being and longevity of your beloved canine companion.

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