Have you ever seen your dog viscously rip up your toilet paper? Or had the unfortunate realization that your dog has ripped up the toilet paper once you step foot in the house and see the white remnants scattered across the floor?
You may think this behavior is simply your dog being mindless and destructive. But in actuality, there are several interesting layers laying underneath the act of your dog shredding the toilet paper.
And it has more to do with their canine instincts than the fact that running down the hall with a trail of toilet paper is just plain fun (although that might also play a part).
If you deal with a toilet-paper-loving pup, read on to receive more insight about:
The attraction of paper products for dogs
Reasons why your dog may start to rip up toilet paper
If consuming paper products is dangerous for your dog
What you can do to stop this behavior
Why are Dogs Attracted to Toilet Paper?
As you’re probably aware, dogs like to communicate and probe primarily with their noses and mouths. Dogs will sniff anything and everything to learn more about it, and the same can be said for their mouths.
Many dogs lick and chew on things as a way to understand what things are via taste and texture. Chewing is also a way to release stress as well as keep their jaws strong.
But out of so many other things to chew on, why toilet paper? Canine experts say that despite being domesticated, many dogs still are drawn to certain textures that resemble feathers or fur, and that this instinctual desire may still lay in the genetic makeup of dogs. Naturally, the undeniably soft and feathery feeling of tissue paper may correlate with prey in a dog’s brain.
Even though most of the time your dog doesn’t go about fully consuming the toilet paper, the act of tearing it apart still satisfies their hunter gene. In some cases, your dog might actually eat the toilet paper, in which case we’ll be discussing more further on. But since toilet paper quickly gets mushy and deteriorates, dogs will usually lose interest.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Start to Rip Up Toilet Paper
Below you’ll find multiple reasons why your dog likes to rip up all your toilet paper.
As discussed, tearing up paper products triggers a familiar and satisfactory feeling in dogs. If you find your dog starting to tear up toilet paper, it may have suddenly found out how great the texture is and will just keep coming back for more.
You may find your dog playing with other toys less if they’re getting all their chewing action from your toilet paper. This instinctual draw to paper products is harmless but may become annoying for you, so you’ll want to address it anyway.
If dogs are not getting enough action in their environment, they’ll pursue other means to entertain themselves and feel satisfied. Dogs are interactive creatures, even if in the wild that interaction meant killing prey for dinner. Even the most temperate dog breeds will enjoy the chance to chomp down on a bone or chew toy.
Boredom is one of the most common reasons for dogs to behave in unfavorable ways. Be sure to get active playtime with your dog regularly, or at the very least, have dog bones or toys on hand for them to entertain themselves for a while.
Similar to boredom, if your dog isn’t getting enough interactive attention from you, it might pursue the toilet paper to get out pent-up energy, frustration, or just to entertain itself since no one else is. Speaking of high energy, here’s how to calm your hyper dog step by step.
It doesn’t help that when we find our dogs behaving in this way, we put excessive attention on them. Even if the attention is negative (since most of us will jump to reprimanding our dogs for tearing up the toilet paper), it’s still attention.
Rather than spending a bunch of time yelling at your dog, you’d be better off preventing it from chewing on the toilet paper in the first place.
The chance of dogs having anxiety is sadly all too common. Like humans, dogs will resort to compulsive actions when overloaded with anxiety or stress. Shredding toilet paper (or, in some cases, everything in sight) is an accessible way for dogs to release tension and distract themselves with a satisfactory chew-fest.
Is it Dangerous for Dogs to Consume Paper Products?
Ingesting small amounts of paper products is not going to endanger your dog’s health. However, if your dog is going overboard and you see it eating and swallowing large amounts, the paper could start to add up in your dog’s digestive tract.
Since paper doesn’t digest as normal food does, you might be dealing with a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract, which will need medical attention.
It’s also important to be conscientious if you know that the paper towels, tissues, or toilet paper in the waste bin may fall victim to your dog’s guilty pleasure. Make sure your dog isn’t chewing on toxic chemicals, such as cleaning products alongside the used paper towels.
What You Can Do to Stop Your Dog from Ripping Up Toilet Paper
The most obvious way to keep your dog from ripping up the toilet paper is by keeping it out of reach. Consider shutting the bathroom door and covering all trash cans so that it’s not easy to access for your dog.
Flannel toys or cotton socks also provide a good alternative for that soft, feathery feeling that your dog likes so much. All in all, you’ll want to make sure that your dog has some good toys or chewing bones that will keep it occupied when it has a hankering for some chew-time.
And as always, the number one way to prevent undesirable behavior is to give your dog an active and fulfilled lifestyle. Your dog will be much less likely to seek entertainment or satisfaction from some lousy toilet paper if its needs are met, and it ends each day tired and content.