Why do dogs shred paper and tissues?
Whether it’s toilet paper rolls, newspapers lying around, or your mail – your dog loves to shred paper? Learn why dogs love to shred paper and what you can do about it.
Most of the time, it’s pretty standard for dogs to love shredding paper and tissues. It can be curiosity or instinct behind it, for example. But still, you should keep an eye on this behavior. It can also be a sign of boredom or stress. And if your dog eats the paper too, it can even be dangerous for him.
Paper shredding is an instinctive dog behavior.
Even in the most docile lapdog, there is still a predator. This means that every dog instinctively tries to “shred to death” any prey it finds. The paper or the handkerchiefs fished out of the trash garbage can represent, so to speak, his game for the four-legged friend – and he shakes and bites them until they are “killed.”
In addition, dogs are curious by nature. The mail from outside used tissues or your daily newspaper smells attractive to your dog. In the case of leftover packaging from the wastebasket, it is also possible that food remains or food scents have stuck to the paper. Sometimes dogs can’t resist and fish the trash out of the garbage can – and then the instinctive prey behavior takes over.
Pregnant bitches or bitches with false pregnancies sometimes rip up paper or fabric to build a nest for themselves and their puppies. This is often accompanied by digging and pawing at the couch or other places.
Some dog breeds are said to be particularly prone to paper shredding, including:
● Golden Retriever
● Cairn Terrier
But basically, any dog can enjoy shredding paper.
When dogs shred paper out of boredom
As soon as you let your dog out of your sight for just a few minutes, no piece of paper is safe from him? It is possible that he is bored and passes the time by shredding paper. Since it also serves his instinctive predatory behavior, shredding tissues, newspapers and co. also has a rewarding effect.
Attention as motivation for the four-legged “shredder
You may have additionally reinforced the undesirable behavior by mistake. Dogs usually love attention, and in the process, they do not distinguish between praise and reprimand. So if you scold your dog when he shreds paper, you reward him with attention – and then your dog sees no reason whatsoever to stop shredding paper.
Stress as a possible reason for the paper fight
Paper shredding has a rewarding effect on dogs and a calming effect. Some dogs will try to get off lying around paper when they feel anxious or stressed.
Has there been a change in your household lately? It could be small things, such as a new detergent that smells different than the product you’re used to. Or you may be stressed yourself and thus unconsciously unsettle your four-legged friend.
The shredding of paper is for dogs, in this case, a so-called skip action. This is a seemingly out-of-context behavior that animals and people show when they feel an inner conflict that they cannot resolve in the situation. Humans, for example, bite their nails or clean their glasses even though they are not dirty. Dogs then like to rip up paper.
Dog eats paper – is it dangerous?
It is not necessarily dangerous if your dog shreds paper. But if he eats the piece too, he can get digestive problems from it. Luckily, your dog will excrete the consumed form or vomit it up.
But it can also happen that the paper clogs the intestine and, in an emergency, even causes intestinal obstruction. This must then be surgically repaired as quickly as possible; otherwise, life is dangerous.
Caution is also advised if the paper contains toxic substances, such as cleaning or disinfecting wipes. As an emergency measure, you can give your dog charcoal tablets. Afterward, it would help if you immediately took him to the vet or animal hospital and ideally took the packaging of the wet wipes with you – so the doctor knows which toxic substance he is dealing with.
How to get your dog out of the habit of shredding paper
The best thing to do is make sure that your dog can no longer quickly get hold of the paper. For example, he only uses paper baskets with lids and keeps tissues and kitchen rolls out of his reach.
Also, please don’t leave your newspaper or magazines lying around on the coffee table, but also put them where your dog can’t reach them. It would help if you also kept the bathroom door closed at all times to prevent your four-legged friend from grabbing the toilet roll.
At the same time, you should also offer your dog alternatives so that he can follow his instincts despite everything. Otherwise, it can happen that your dog no longer tears up the paper but instead tears up your shoes or furniture.
For example, a Kong that you fill with treats will keep your dog busy and give him pleasure. A chew bone, a piece of dried beef skin, or hard rubber toys also serve this purpose.