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Lori, Canine Health Care & Guidance
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4131
Experience:  Qualified by many years of healthcare & experience in breeding dogs
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why does my dog eat toilet paper

Customer Question

why does my dog eat toilet paper?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lori replied 8 years ago.

The act of eating paper or any nonfood item is called Pica, No one knows exactly why some dogs exhibit pica behavior. Because pica has been associated with a variety of diseases, a veterinarian should examine any dog with pica. Although it is normal for dogs to eat small amounts of grass, consumption of large amounts of plant material may be an indication of a dietary deficiency or illness. Once medical causes are ruled out, behavioral reasons for pica can include boredom, attention-seeking, attractive odors, hunger, and learned behavior.


Once your veterinarian has ruled out medical causes, you can discuss what steps you can take to modify your dog's behavior. These may include the following: Placing all paper items out of the reach of your dog is often the easiest solution. Keeping them out of her reach will definitely solve the problem, but you have to be diligent about it.

Food-dispensing toys, durable toys, or pieces of rawhide can be used to redirect your dog's chewing behavior to more appropriate and safe items. Having one of these to chew on may help with the paper problem.


Many dogs chew on household items out of boredom. Provide interactive toys and set aside time each day to play with your dog. It may also help to increase the amount of fiber in your dog's diet. Besides providing more dietary fiber, high-fiber foods usually contain fewer calories. Your dog may be able to satisfy her craving to eat more while still maintaining her weight. Consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog's diet.


You can buy spray-on products at pet supply stores that are distasteful (but safe) to dogs. Occasionally, applying one of these substances to an item may deter a dog from chewing it. You could also try spraying a strong-smelling substance (such as citrus air freshener or potpourri) or using a physical deterrent (such as an upside-down carpet runner) around an object to see if it prevents your dog from approaching the object.

If your dog continues to ingest nonfood items despite all your efforts, get a referral to a veterinary behaviorist.


Further environmental and behavior modification plans, specifically tailored to your pet, may be needed and, in some cases, medication may be helpful. Please let me know if I can assist further.