Why Does My Dog Eat Toilet Paper? Is it Bad + How to Stop


Dogs are funny little creatures, and sometimes they do things that we just don’t understand. Every dog has their own little habits that seem strange, weird and down right ridiculous. One of these habits that some dogs develop is the eating of toilet paper. 

If you’ve never left your bedroom to find a trail of toilet paper unravelled all around your home, then count yourself lucky. You’ll find a torn up roll of toilet paper, a guilty dog, and pieces of toilet paper everywhere you look for the next few days! 

So, why do they do it? Why do dogs eat toilet paper? It cannot be tasty or nutritious, so what seems to attract a dog to eating toilet paper? 

Why your dog eats toilet paper

Your dog could be eating toilet paper for a number of reasons. It is most likely not because it tastes good, or because they like the flavor, but because of a myriad of other reasons. In most cases, dogs will eat toilet paper because it can be fun, exciting and it eases boredom, stress or anxiety. 

Others will do it because they are teething, hungry or have a health condition that makes them want to eat things that should be inedible. To find out which reason your dog may be eating toilet paper, we have listed a few below!

  • Boredom, anxiety or stress

A common cause of a naughty doggie that loves to steal toilet rolls is boredom, stress or anxiety. Some dogs that are bored will try to gain attention by misbehaving or being destructive. This is because they know that it will get a rise out of you, and you will give them the attention that they seek. 

Other dogs that are feeling stressed will need to find something to take their minds off the problem. This is why dogs who are upset about fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud, stressful situations, will bite walls, break household items, or find something to chew on. If your toilet rolls are in reach, then they will just become the next victim.

In addition, some dogs suffer from separation anxiety, where they become stressed, anxious or depressed when left alone. This can also result in destructive behavior, where they may scratch, chew, bite or eat things that they shouldn’t. 

A dog with separation anxiety will not be able to be independent, left alone, or to its own devices. They may follow you everywhere you go, and become your own little shadow. 

  • It’s fun!

One of the main reasons that a dog will want to chew, bite, tear or eat toilet paper is because it is a little bit of fun. Chewing on toilet paper and running around the house with it will most likely get a reaction out of you, and your dog may do it because they like the game and enjoy it!

Part of the joy is probably the fact that toilet paper tears apart really easily, and your dog can sink their teeth into it and rip it up in seconds. When a dog would hunt for prey in the wild, they would tear it apart with their teeth and claws, and so eating toilet paper unlocks this inner instinct in your pet. 

Eating toilet paper can be a way of your dog being mischievous, or them having something to keep them entertained when your back is turned. Plus, you chasing them down the hall to get the toilet paper can be a fun game for them! 

  • Pica Problem

Some dogs can be diagnosed with a condition called Pica. This is when a dog feels the need to eat things that are not food substances. Humans can actually be affected by this condition too, where they feel attracted to eating non food items. 

Whilst this may seem strange, it is not actually harmless. By eating non food items, they can be hard to digest as they get lodged or stuck in the digestive tract, and can cause a blockage in the body. 

Pica can be brought on due to a variety of reasons, such as a change in environment, medical illness such as diabetes, a hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, or even stress. It is a condition such as Pica that can cause your dog to be attracted to eating toilet paper. 

Pica, or the eating of non food items can happen because of gastrointestinal diseases, liver disease, pancreatic disease, anemia, neurological issues, poor diet, medications, behavioral disorders, stress, a depraved home environment, or it can happen because of normal inquisitive behavior and activities. 

As there are a wide variety of reasons your dog could develop Pica, you should speak to the veterinarian or a medical professional to see if your dog can be diagnosed. Then, you will be able to seek medical advice or treatment for your furry friend. 

  • Teething

If you have a young dog, or a puppy, then they could be eating up your toilet rolls because they are teething. When a dog is teething, they will literally bite anything that they can get their teeth into. It does not mean that your dog is obsessed with toilet rolls, it just means that they found the toilet paper first. 

Teething can be rather painful for dogs, and the teeth and gums will become sore, or inflamed. To ensure that your dog does not get its paws on the toilet paper, try purchasing teething toys and chews for them.

We recommend buying a puppy dental chew toy or a tough KONG toy that they can sink their teeth into: . On the other hand, if you have a dog that loves to chew, and will bite anything it finds, then try offering a toy for aggressive chewers.

  • Hungry

Another reason your dog may be gnawing and feeding on toilet rolls is because they are hungry. For instance, if your dog is not getting enough food in relation to its size, exercise routine and lifestyle, then they may be trying to find sustenance elsewhere. 

Obviously, there is no nutritional value in toilet paper, and so you should try giving them a few extra kibbles, or offering some treats to make up for it. Your dog could be burning off a lot of energy, and burning calories if they exercise a lot, and so they may need a little more food in their mealtimes. 

You should also try to dissuade your dog from eating toilet paper as this can have a few health consequences, so be cautious! 

Is it bad for dogs to eat toilet rolls?

It is not good for your dog to eat a lot of toilet paper as this is not nutritious or good for the body. That being said, toilet paper is designed to break down, naturally and so it is not that bad if your dog eats some. 

This is because when it gets wet, the toilet paper should break down, reduce in size and shrink or tear apart. This should happen inside of your dog after consumption, and so it should pass naturally through the digestive tract.

However, if your dog consumes a lot of toilet paper, then it can go down in lumps and clumps, which can cause a blockage, so you do need to be watchful and ensure that they are not ingesting a lot of toilet paper at once. In most cases, this will be a one time thing, and then you can prevent them from eating it again. Most of the time, eating toilet paper will probably just result in a stomach ache, and diarrhea. 

On the other hand, if your dog manages to eat the cardboard from the toilet roll, then this could become a problem. Cardboard is hard to break down, and can cause larger blockages in the digestive system. 

For most dogs, it is not too bad to eat toilet paper on the off occasion, however, it depends on the size of the dog. A small dog that often eats toilet paper can become very unwell, and it can be dangerous if the habit is not prevented. Then again, a large dog who only eats a little bit of toilet paper once or twice is very unlikely to become unwell. 

If a dog has consumed a lot of toilet paper, and they seem unwell, then you will need to encourage them to pass it, one way or another. The best way is to get them to vomit it back up. If you cannot get them to pass it, then you may need to take them to the veterinarian for surgical assistance. 

Possible side effects of eating toilet paper

If your house has become filled with ripped up toilet paper, and there are pieces everywhere, you may not know how much your dog has consumed. Therefore, you should be aware of the symptoms that your dog has become unwell, or is in discomfort. 

For instance, you may notice that your dog has become lazy, lethargic, or unwilling to move. They may also seem bloated, have sensitivity in the stomach, or have a noticeable lack of appetite. 

As symptoms worsen, your dog may become dehydrated, have diarrhea, becoming constipated, or start throwing up frequently. All of these symptoms can be a sign that there is a blockage in the intestinal system, or that there is an issue in the digestive tract. 

If your dog seems unwell, or you notice a change in behavior, then you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Call your local veterinarian, explain the symptoms and see what treatment they can offer you. 

How to prevent your dog from eating toilet paper

To prevent your dog from becoming very unwell, you will want to halt this behavior in its tracks. There are a few methods that you can use to stop this habit, and prevent your dog from eating toilet paper. 

If your dog loves munching on toilet paper, then we have 5 methods and preventative measures that you can use to stop them. The first of these tricks is the distraction method. 

Distraction method

One of the best ways that you can stop your dog from eating toilet paper is to distract them with something else. As most dogs eat toilet paper out of boredom, or because it is fun, you will need to ensure that they find excitement in other things such as toys. 

Your dog may be a breed that loves to chew things. If this is the case, then try offering them a toy specifically made for an aggressive chewer or a bone.

For dogs that lack mental stimulation, and can become bored or stressed, then you will need something that can occupy their minds. You can try offering them a puzzle toy such as the Outward Hound Hide N Slide which can keep your dog very busy. You can also try a KONG chew toy.  These are incredibly durable and long lasting, but you can also fill them with squirty treats or peanut butter, which will keep your furry friend focused and stimulated for hours. They will completely forget about the toilet paper! 

Close the door

This may seem like a simple answer, but always keep the bathroom door closed, and keep the toilet paper out of reach. Just remove the toilet paper from the reach of your dog, and there will no longer be a problem. 

Give more attention

If a dog is anxious, bored, and acting out by trying to eat whatever they can find, then they probably need more attention and affection from you. Try spending more time with your dog, playing with them, giving them attention, belly rubs, pats, and exercise. 

Exercise routine

Some dogs can become bored and will find entertainment elsewhere. This is often because they are not getting enough physical exercise or activity. To prevent your dog from becoming destructive due to boredom or lack of physical activity, you will need to ensure that they are getting enough exercise, and that you are walking them daily. Some dogs even need to go for a walk twice a day to expel all of their energy. 

Seek medical help

If you are worried that your dog is eating toilet paper because of a medical or mental problem, then it is best to seek professional advice. Ask your veterinarian for help, medication or treatment to get your canine companion back on track. 

Conclusion 

To conclude, dogs may eat toilet paper because of a variety of reasons. Whether it is for fun, or because they are stressed, or bored, make sure that your dog is not making a habit out of consuming toilet paper or they could become unwell. If you are concerned about your dog’s health and wellbeing, then always seek professional advice! 

Kerry White

Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners. Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.

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