Why do some dogs like to shred paper items, or even eat them? I always wondered about that, so I finally googled it. It turns out that shredding papers is a totally different behavior from actually consuming it.
Why do they shred paper?
Because it’s fun. Some breeds are better shredders than others, and shredding paper can be a great fun for dogs. Tearing something with their mouths might be a “representation” of how they would tear at their prey if they were hunting in the wild.
shredding paper can be a great fun for dogs
Other reasons might be boredom, stress, or anxiety, but one thing is for sure: they do NOT do it to get back at you. They never do anything to get back at you, because they are not vindictive. They might chew your newspaper, you shoes, or the coffee table because they are bored, but “I am jealous because mummy is talking on the phone and not paying attention to me, so I’ll chew her shoe as a revenge tactic” is not a dog’s way of thinking.
Other reasons might be boredom, stress, or anxiety
What should you do?
Well, I used to enjoy it and give my Frenchie paper items to chew and have fun with, but as funny as it seems, it might be dangerous. Even if it’s just shredding for fun, they might accidentally ingest some pieces, and this can even be fatal if they are trapped in his digestive track.
as funny as it seems, it might be dangerous
So it’s better to avoid having newspapers and magazines lying around – you can provide them with an alternative item to occupy their mouths with, like a chew toy or a stuffed Kong.
What if they actually consume the paper?
If the dog actually eats paper-based products, he might be suffering from pica, which is a condition characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive. I thought it was a just a human disorder, but apparently it can also affect dogs.
it’s probably a behavioral problem, and you are the one to blame (sorry)
Provided that the dog is not hungry, eating paper might have a medical cause, so it’s better to pay a visit to the vet first, to rule out a medical condition. So if your vet rules out a medical cause for pica, it’s probably a behavioral problem, and you are the one to blame (sorry).
Do you exercise your dog enough? Do you exercise him the right way? If not, he is bored and pica is your fault.
Do you punish him for eating paper or chewing things he is not supposed to? If yes, you have probably reinforced this behavior, because negative attention can have the same results as positive attention.
(It is kind of fun to watch them do it though…)