Why does my dog shred tissues and toilet paper?

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If your puppy or dog has developed a tissue and toilet paper fetish, you’ll need to find a way to curb this behavior quickly. While eating toilet paper and tissues can turn costly over time, it could also have health repercussions which may lead to a serious intestinal blockage. So what causes dogs to be drawn to paper so much? There are several explanations for this behavior:

  • Shredding for fun

Chasing a roll of toilet paper, or pulling it directly from the toilet paper holder can be fun and can beat the best dog toys on the market. The same goes with shredding apart a box of tissues into hundreds of pieces. If you watch your dog shredding the paper, you will notice his body language suggests the dog is having fun, and lots of it, too!

  • Shredding to release boredom

If your dog is left alone for part of the day, or gets easily bored, paper may be a good way of releasing pent-up frustration and relieving boredom. If your dog becomes a paper shredder when left alone or bored, consider keeping paper out of reach and leaving some safe interactive toys around. Also, make sure your dog gets enough exercise and mental stimulation during the day. If your dog’s shredding is accompanied by other symptoms such as barking, pacing, eliminating and scratching at windows and doors when left alone, your canine may be suffering from separation anxiety.

  • Shredding as prey drive

Dogs have an innate instinct to break things apart and shred them into pieces. This is part of prey drive because in nature, after killing prey, the dog rips the flesh apart. This instinct still prevails in dogs today, which is why they love to play tug, rip objects apart and shred paper into many small pieces.

  • Shredding to ‘nest’

Finally, if your female dog is pregnant and is nearing birth, she may be shredding paper to build a nesting area. If your dog has never had a passion for shredding paper and is now doing it seemingly without cause, this could be a solid explanation. Watch her and see what she does with the paper. It’s very likely that she will carry it to a place she may be thinking to use to deliver her litter of pups. This behavior is innate, and in nature, pregnant canines build a den for their pups a few days prior to delivery.

Regardless of the reason why your dog shreds your toilet paper or tissues, remember that punishing your dog minutes or hours after the fact is useless and even harmful. Keep paper out of reach to prevent your dog from “remodeling your home” and make sure to leave safe, interactive toys around when left alone. With time, your dog will learn to make only good choices!

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