Why Does My Dog Eat Tissues?
[Our Definitive Guide]

By kropek2021. • Updated June 30, 2021

Most dogs have the habit of putting weird things into their mouths. These items range from discarded food waste, grass to toilet paper. One of our dogs in the training center, Missy (Pomeranian), was a pro in ripping apart entire toilet rolls across the visitor’s room floor.

Canines have this annoying nature of tissue paper chewing and swallowing on many occasions. This behavior is not a silly thing to be ignored. Eating tissue paper can lead to severe medical conditions. So the next time you see your dog open the toilet door and munch on toilet paper, do not let it slide.

In this article, we will discuss the primary reasons why your canine buddy prefers consuming tissues/toilet paper rolls. The potential medical issues associated with this habit and methods to avoid this troublesome habit will also be explained.

So, let’s try to answer the burning question, “Why does my dog eat tissue paper?“.

Why Do Dogs Eat Tissues?

These tissue-eating habits’ causal factors range from boredom, fun, taste, and many more. Let’s look at each one of the main ones below.

Source of Entertainment

Apart from their inherent hunting instincts, dogs chew on tissues as they find the whole activity amusing and fun. As a dog owner, if you do not spend enough playtime with them, they will indulge in these kinds of alternatives.

They will perform such acts to entertain themselves by ripping, tearing, shredding, and running around torn toilet papers. Additionally, the huge mess that comes along with it at your house.

Anxiety and Boredom

When dogs have nothing to do, they may get stressed and anxious. This mood can make them perform destructive actions like eating and tearing tissue papers.

Your puppy is crying for help and craving immediate attention when left alone for several hours (Separation Anxiety). Mental stimulation is a crucial element for any dog’s health and well-being. 

Pica

If dogs suffer from Pica, they will feel the urge to eat non-food items, including tissue papers. This condition is a recognized medical illness that creates a sense of compulsiveness to consume entities like rock, grass, metal, paper, etc.

As responsible dog owners, ensure eliminating this issue at the earliest so that your dog does not suffer from choking, poisoning, or other issues due to these materials’ consumption. Digestive imbalances, liver disease, pancreatic abnormalities, and neurological problems are linked with this condition.

Some of the common reasons behind Pica includes:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Nutritional Issues/Eating disorder (Zinc deficiency)
  • New environments
  • Diabetes
  • Mental stress

Pica is a serious cause of concern. We strictly advise you not to involve yourself in self-treating your dog. Always seek the help of professional dog trainers or registered veterinarians. A checkup involving a blood test, stool sample would be necessary to arrive at the exact medical issue with your pup.

Hunger

Sometimes, we as pet owners may overthink situations. Dogs may be eating tissues as they are feeling hungry. The root causal trigger could be as simple as that. There is no nutritional element involved in eating tissue/toilet paper. Although consuming too much of it can fill up their tummy and make them feel full.

Another reason could be a nutritional gap in their existing diet that they are trying to cover up using a tissue. Lack of vitamins and minerals, including Zinc in the doggy diet, is a driving force of excess hunger.

These are some of the most common triggers we have observed in dogs eating tissues excessively. In the following section, we will talk about why the tissue-eating habit requires your sudden attention.

Why Is Eating Tissues Dangerous for Dogs?

Consumption of tissues once in a while is not dangerous as they will take the form of a moist pellet and get digested in the dog’s stomach. But regular eating of tissue papers can cause serious harm, including vomiting and diarrhea to start with.

Irrespective of the quantity consumed, get the issue checked out with a vet to understand the severity of the problem and come up with a safe and quick resolution.

This behavior also comes with a set of possible side effects. Based on our experience at the dog training center, we have listed the following ones:

  1. Constipation
  2. Bloating
  3. Dehydration
  4. General tiredness and lack of stamina
  5. Recurring stomach aches
  6. Loss of weight
  7. Poor appetite
  8. Fall in immunity levels

All these symptoms pinpoint damage in your dog’s intestinal region, also known as Gastrointestinal block. This condition can lead to severe pain in your dog’s lower belly area. More often than not, surgery would be necessary to remove the blockage. Any paper-like materials, including paper towels, newspapers, tampons, etc., can act as culprits in this case. 

Now that we know how serious the issue is, let us focus on coming up with measures to curb/eliminate this unwanted canine habit.

How to Make Dogs Stop Eating Tissues?

Follow these steps to tone down and eventually eliminate your dog’s habit of eating tissues.

  • You can start by reducing the paper accessibility for your dog. Hide all the extra toilet rolls and tissue papers behind locked cabinets. Keep the bathroom door closed whenever you do not use them. If you are not around at home for most of the day, ensure the presence of gates that prevent your dog’s access to the bathroom.
  • If your canine pal loves chewing on used tissue papers from trash cans, take care to buy a trash can that locks correctly when the lid is closed.
  • Puppies often indulge in such harmful obsessions when they are not mentally and physically stimulated enough. Engage them in regular physical exercises like walk, outdoor games, etc. Make them participate in cognitive enhancement activities, including dog puzzles. This measure will help channelize their energy in the right direction.
  • It is easier to prevent bad habits when your dog is well-trained. Spend time for obedience training. With command practice, ensure that your dog understands the message that eating tissues is considered to be deviant behavior. To cement this understanding, fortify the same with positive reinforcements by providing comforting words or tasty snacks. This step will help alleviate dog eating tissues to a great extent.
  • Provide your dog with safer chewing/eating alternatives like chew toys or a nice juicy bone. Even when you are absent at home, these items will keep them engaged for hours without messing your home or harming their health.
  • Give them enough attention and spend quality time with them. This aspect can help them feel at ease and give a sense of belongingness at home. Loneliness and associated sadness are some of the primary causes of bad behavior in dogs.
  • If your dog suffers from mental conditions like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), involving them in therapy sessions can be an excellent method to relieve the buildup of stress and anxiety.
  • The importance of periodic health checkups with your trusted vet can’t be stressed enough. In case you notice any of the symptoms we listed in the previous sections, book a doctor’s appointment at the earliest.

One of the dogs in our training center, Jimmy (Poodle), used to tear apart the magazines and newspapers in and around our office. After medical consultations, she was diagnosed with OCD.

We enrolled her in a pet therapy center to calm her down. She started showing positive signs in two months. Socialization with labradors, which are excellent therapy dogs, worked well for Jimmy.

Wrapping It Up

A dog’s dietary habits and preferences could mean a lot of things. Their insistence on eating tissues can be their way of expressing something. Once you observe this habit to get repetitive, seek expert help. Ignorance or self-treatment can only harm than good. 

Once you identify the causal factor behind the core worry, “Why does my dog eat tissue paper?” Your vet or dog trainer can devise a personalized strategy to tone down this behavior that could prove to be fatal if left uncared for.

As a loving dog owner, you must prioritize your pup’s mental and physical stimulation. The root cause of most deviant behavior in dogs is mainly due to lack of physical exercises or cognitive activities.

 

Nutritional imbalance also needs to be taken care of. Based on your vet’s analysis, make it a habit to feed your dog a healthy and balanced diet. This measure will bring down your dog’s urge to engage in the dangerous condition of Pica.
With this point, we have come to the tail end of this article. We sincerely hope you could get some value additions around dogs and their dietary habits and precautionary measures.