two guilty dogs wrapped in rolls of paper

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Have you ever caught your furry friend chomping on a piece of paper and wondered why? Dogs eating paper can be more than just a quirky habit; it could signal an underlying issue.

From addressing potential health problems to providing environmental enrichment, our guide is here to help you understand and curb this puzzling behavior.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs might eat paper because they’re curious, bored, or have a condition called pica that makes them crave non-food items.
  • Paper eating can be dangerous for dogs, potentially causing intestinal blockages or toxin ingestion from inks and glues.
  • Keep paper away from dogs and give them plenty of toys and playtime to prevent the habit.
  • If your dog often eats paper, check their diet for nutritional deficiencies and consult a vet to rule out health issues.
  • Use training, such as teaching “leave it”, securing trash cans, and rewarding good behavior to help stop your dog from eating paper.

Understanding the Behavior: Why Dogs Eat Paper

Dogs often find the texture of paper interesting. They may chew and even swallow it during playtime or when exploring their environment. Many pups enjoy shredding paper because it’s fun, and they like the sound it makes.

The act can be a way to relieve boredom or stress.

Curiosity is a big reason your dog might start nibbling on paper products. Dogs use their mouths to learn about the world around them, much like young children do. If your pup eats toilet paper or napkins, he may just be trying out something new.

However, some dogs develop a condition called pica where they eat non-food items, including paper. This behavior could signal underlying health issues that need attention from a veterinarian.

dog chewing on toilet paper

Potential Causes of Paper Eating in Dogs

Delving into the peculiar world of canine behaviors, we often stumble upon a common yet baffling habit – dogs munching on paper. From nutritional gaps that spark odd cravings to a simple case of curiosity-driven boredom, there are several triggers behind this paper-chomping mystery.

Nutritional deficiencies

Dogs sometimes eat paper because they’re not getting what they need from their food. If your dog lacks important nutrients, like iron, it might start chewing on paper. This is called iron deficiency anemia.

When a dog’s diet doesn’t have enough calories, he may turn to paper to fill his belly.

To keep your dog healthy and stop him from eating paper, check if his meals have all the crucial minerals and enough caloric content. A good diet helps prevent nutritional deficiencies that cause strange cravings in dogs.

Your vet can help you find out if something is missing in your pet’s food that makes him want to chew on non-food items like paper.


Boredom can make your dog chew and eat paper. Dogs need fun activities and mental challenges to stay happy. If they don’t get enough playtime or puzzles, they might start looking for things to do.

Eating paper could be your pet’s way of dealing with the dull moments.

To stop this, keep your dog busy with toys that make them think and move around. Toys like treat-dispensing puzzles can help a lot. Also, spend time playing games together every day.

These steps will give your furry friend the excitement he’s missing and protect him from harmful habits like eating paper.

Pica medical condition

Dogs with pica feel a strong urge to eat non-food items. This can include paper, rocks, and fabric. Pica is more than just a weird habit; it’s a medical issue. Your dog might be trying to tell you something is wrong inside their body.

Sometimes dogs with pica are not getting the right nutrients from their food or they may have an endocrine disorder like Cushing’s Disease that makes them super hungry.

If your dog keeps eating things that aren’t food, it’s time for a vet visit. The vet will check your pet’s health history and behavior. Blood work may be needed to find out if there is an iron deficiency or another problem causing pica.

Finding the cause early can save your dog from serious tummy troubles or even surgery later on. Remember, treating medical conditions tied to pica can get costly—another reason why pet health insurance matters.

Possible Risks and Consequences of Paper Eating

Eating paper puts your dog at risk for serious health problems. If they eat a lot of paper, it can block their intestines. This might need surgery to fix, which is expensive and stressful for your pet.

Chewing on paper could also mean your dog swallows something toxic, like ink or glue.

Small pieces of paper might not seem dangerous. But over time, they can upset your dog’s stomach or cause choking. Even if there are no immediate signs of trouble, chemicals in the paper can harm their insides slowly.

Keep all kinds of paper away from dogs to keep them safe and healthy.

dog chewing on paper money

Steps to Discourage and Prevent Paper Eating

Your dog is eating paper, and you want to stop it. Here’s how to keep your pup from munching on unwanted items.

  1. Clear the area: Make sure paper products like toilet rolls and napkins are out of your dog’s reach.
  2. Offer alternatives: Give your dog chew toys for mental and physical stimulation.
  3. Stay active: Engage in routine exercise with your dog to satisfy their hunting instincts.
  4. Keep them busy: Provide plenty of playtime to prevent boredom, which can lead to paper eating.
  5. Check their diet: Ensure your dog gets all the nutrients they need, so they don’t crave non-food items.
  6. Training helps: Teach commands like “leave it” through obedience training or hire a certified dog trainer for extra help.
  7. Observe behavior: Watch when and why your dog eats paper to find the root cause.
  8. Vet check-up: Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any health issues like pica or nutritional deficiencies.
  9. Secure trash cans: Make sure garbage is inaccessible as dogs may try to ingest used paper from bins.
  10. Praise good behavior: Reward your dog when they ignore paper or choose toys instead.


You might feel puzzled when your dog munches on paper. It could be boredom, hunger, or even health issues making them do it. Always keep paper away from your playful pup.

If they still go for it, a vet visit can help figure out why. Remember, stopping the paper snacking keeps your dog happy and healthy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog eat paper like toilet paper and paper towels?

Dogs may eat things like toilet paper and paper towels because they love the texture, or they might be bored and looking for something to do.

Is it bad for dogs to eat lots of paper?

Yes, eating large amounts of paper can lead to an upset stomach or more serious issues that may require surgery if your dog is actually ingesting it.

Can eating paper be a sign my dog has health problems?

If your dog eats non-food items like paper all the time, this could be a condition known as polyphagia related to endocrine disorders or other underlying health conditions.

How can I stop my dog from eating paper products?

Keep all kinds of papers out of his reach, provide plenty of mental stimulation, and maybe even work with a behavioral therapist.

What should I do if my dog seems to really want to eat non-food items often?

Please make an appointment with your veterinarian; they might check for issues such as iron in the blood and give you advice on what steps to take next.

Is there any way I can prevent my dog from getting access to things like rolls of toilet paper?

Prevent your dog’s access to the bathroom where these items are kept and offer alternatives that satisfy his appetite for chewing while providing physical and mental stimulation.

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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Why Does My Dog Eat Paper?

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  1. this is interesting. i never knew those are some of the reasons they behaves that way