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Why do dogs eat paper?

Updated on August 18, 2011

Dogs are known to have great appetites. They are also indiscriminate eaters. A dog would eat just about anything. I heard a dog owner say once that the pet would eat paper with a drawing of a bowl heaping with dog food. It may be a joke but it is really happening. A dog would eat paper with or without a drawing of dog food.

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Dogs ingest rocks, dirt, mud, grasses, leaves, papers and many other things that have no nutritive value. The craving to eat non-edible and non-nutritive things is a behavioral disorder known as pica.

Medical concerns

The dog’s tendency to eat paper can be due to an underlying medical condition. The dog may have a gastrointestinal maldigestive and malabsorptivedisorder. The dog may be suffering from severe intestinal lymphosarcoma or from an inflammatory bowel disease. A number of dogs noticed to have taken to eating paper are diagnosed to have anemia.


Dogs are energetic animals. They have high exercise requirements. Dogs need to be taken for long daily walks not only to maintain their physique but also to prevent them from being destructive. A dog that is cooped inside the house for long periods of time will be bored. Boredom is one of the reasons why a dog would develop the habit of eating paper.

A dog’s curiosity

Dogs are very curious animals. Dogs, especially puppies would constantly explore and investigate its environment. The nose and the mouth are used to investigate curious objects. It may happen that while exploring the dog have found the texture and the tearing sound of paper interesting. The paper may have been accidentally ingested and the dog may have found the taste of paper to his liking.

A carryover habit

Have you given you teething puppy paper to chew. Teething puppies develop a propensity to chew to ease the pain in the gums. The paper chewing and eating was retained by the pup into adulthood.

Dealing with the dog’s paper eating habit

The most obvious way to stop the dog from eating paper is to keep papers out of the dogs reach. Deterrents such as Tabasco and other non-toxic sprays would lessen the dog’s appetite for paper. It would be a good idea to take the dog for long walks daily. Aside from being good bonding moments, the exercise will tire the dog and prevent the pet from being bored and destructive. Provide the dog with chew toys. Be sure though that the toys are large enough not to be swallowed and choke the dog. Train the dog not to chew and eat paper. Every time the dog starts to eat paper divert its attention or spritz the pet with cold water.

Dog eating paper

dog eats paper

Dog eats paper


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      7 years ago

      My dogs name is moose and he is a chihuahua, he is far from bored and he is always doing something!! but once he smells that paper or sees it then that becomes his main concern. I don't have to worry about him getting sick right?

    • profile image


      8 years ago



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