This post was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Camila Merashi
Photo by Pexels
Dogs With Paper Fascination
What is so fascinating about paper and tissues? Why are dogs so committed to chewing them, sometimes as though their lives depend on this very act? You’ve tried it all: training your dog, discouraging your dog, even sometimes baiting him to forget those supposedly juicy bits of paper and soiled tissues. But guess what? Your dog ain’t budging! It’s giving you a splitting headache and I’m here to help.
A lot of dog owners struggle with keeping the trash can in its place, because yeah, Friddo thinks for some reason, he ought to be playing with the trash can’s content.
Maybe this excerpt from an article in Psychology Today on dogs’ hunting instincts would shed more light on this problem.
“Somewhere encoded in the canine genetic makeup is some kind of memory or preference for certain touch sensations such as the feel of fur or of feathers… such touch sensations seem to give dogs a thrill and can trigger a desire to mouth, tear, and shred things associated with those feelings.”
That sound like your dog? Because it definitely sounds like mine!
However, the deeper context to be noted from this simple excerpt is this: a dog isn’t just into the paper’s texture; it is very much in love with the idea of holding onto a tissue box or toilet roll and repeatedly shredding it; because these attributes are familiar to him subconsciously. It emulates the behavior of a dog in its wild habitat, picking apart a juicy meal. If the dog can’t be in the wild, it will do everything at home to mimic those behaviors still.
Should I Be Worried? Because I am!
The typical dog lover hovers between two emotions when he/she notices this habit of chewing and tearing apart paper/tissue in his or her dog. These emotions are anger and worry. Worry is usually the strongest feeling especially when this behavior becomes a consistent one.
You don’t have to be scared if your dog just takes a bit of paper every once in a while. But what if your dog is consuming them in large amounts? Yeah, you should be worried, as it might affect the digestive system and even end up requiring forced vomiting or surgery.
That sounds like a lot!
It Could Be a Medical Condition
This is perhaps, for dogs that shred paper and tissues in really large amounts. It could signify a medical condition e.g. Pica or a metabolic disorder problem. At this juncture, it would be wise to pay your standby veterinarian a quick visit; as if you try to change a dog’s behavior first without handling any background medical problems, you might as well be beating your fists against a brick wall, disillusioned that you can tear it down.
I Love My Dog Very Much: What Can I Do?
Loyal dog owner, who can’t bear to lose your dog? Good. Now is the time to act in ways that prove your love for your dog.
It is imperative to teach your German shepherd shedding dog simple commands? a.k.a. dog training; if you haven’t already done that. You can top this up with commands that have to do with the eating of paper and tissue; e.g. give it up, leave it.
If you catch your dog with a tissue paper in his mouth, for example, place your open hand beneath his mouth and command him to ‘give it up’, after which the right response should be to release the paper. Also, if your dog is headed in the direction of a paper, you need to give the command to ‘leave it!’, following which your dog should ignore the paper. Simple enough yeah? However, it might take some time before your dog is able to follow these instructions. It would also be wise to limit your dog’s access to areas that have ample amount of paper and tissue such as the bathroom and kitchen, and provide your pet with lots of toys!
My name is Camila Merashi is the content manager at Kingkomb. We create innovative products for pets aimed at providing owners with all-natural alternatives that promote health and well-being in their pets.