Why does my dog eat tissues and how to stop this behavior?

Do you find yourself constantly cleaning up scraps of shredded tissue paper after your dog has been left alone? If so, you are not alone. Many dogs have a penchant for eating tissues, which can be frustrating and potentially harmful to their health. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide effective techniques to prevent it.

Firstly, it is important to understand that some dogs may eat tissues simply because they enjoy the taste or texture. However, this behavior can also be a sign of an underlying issue such as anxiety, boredom, or a lack of appropriate chew toys. Additionally, certain breeds such as retrievers or terriers, are more prone to this behavior.

If left unchecked, tissue consumption can lead to potential health issues such as indigestion, blockages in the digestive tract or even choking. Therefore, it is essential for dog owners to take steps to discourage this behavior and ensure the safety of their pets.

In the following sections, we will provide practical tips and guidance on how to identify the reasons behind your dog’s tissue-eating habit, how to discourage this behavior and create a safe environment for your pet.

So if you’ve ever wondered “Why does my dog eat tissues, and how can I stop this behavior?”, keep reading to find out how you can effectively address this issue.

Understanding the reasons behind this habit

Dogs have a tendency to chew and eat all sorts of things, including tissues. Tissue eating behavior can be caused by various reasons, such as boredom, curiosity, or anxiety. Understanding the underlying reasons behind this habit is crucial to preventing this behavior from becoming a health risk to your pet.

Curiosity and Boredom

Dogs are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. Often, they may sniff out and try to eat objects that grab their attention, including tissues. Tissue chewing can also be a result of boredom or a lack of stimulation, especially if your dog spends a lot of time alone or in a confined space.

Anxiety and Stress

In some cases, tissue-eating behavior may be a sign of anxiety or stress in dogs. This can occur if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety or is in an unfamiliar environment.

Potential Health Issues

While tissue-eating behavior may seem harmless, it can lead to some serious health issues. Consuming tissues can cause intestinal blockages, which can be fatal if left untreated. Additionally, tissues may be contaminated with various chemicals or substances that can cause further harm to your pet.

Potential Health Issues of Tissue Consumption Symptoms
Intestinal blockage Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy
Toxicity from contaminated tissues Difficulty breathing, seizures, weakness, tremors

Identifying Contributing Factors

Dogs may engage in tissue-eating behavior due to a variety of contributing factors. It is important to identify these factors in order to effectively address the issue and prevent it from recurring.

Behavior Problems

Behavior problems can often lead to dogs engaging in destructive or inappropriate behavior, such as tissue eating. It is important to assess if your dog is experiencing any behavior problems and address them accordingly. Common behavior problems that can contribute to tissue eating include separation anxiety, boredom, and stress.

Behavior Problem Symptoms
Separation Anxiety Destructive behavior when left alone, excessive barking or whining
Boredom Restlessness, pacing, lack of interest in toys or playtime
Stress Changes in appetite or sleep patterns, excessive panting or trembling

Environmental and Emotional Factors

Environmental and emotional factors can also contribute to tissue-eating behavior in dogs. Dogs may engage in this behavior due to stressors in their environment or as a way to cope with emotional distress.

For example, dogs may eat tissues if they are feeling anxious or insecure, or if they are experiencing a change in their environment such as a move to a new home or the introduction of a new pet. Additionally, dogs may eat tissues as a way to fulfill a natural urge to chew, especially if they do not have access to appropriate chew toys.

Training and Reinforcement

Training and reinforcement are also important factors to consider when addressing tissue-eating behavior in dogs. Proper training can help prevent behavior problems and encourage positive behaviors, while positive reinforcement can help reinforce good behavior and discourage bad behavior.

If your dog is engaging in tissue-eating behavior, it is important to redirect their behavior and provide them with an appropriate alternative such as a chew toy. Consistency is key when training your dog, so it is important to establish a routine and stick to it. Additionally, positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats can help encourage good behavior and discourage tissue eating.

The Potential Dangers of Tissue Consumption

While it may seem harmless, eating tissues can pose a danger to your dog’s health. Not only can it cause digestive issues and potential blockages, but tissues may also contain chemicals or substances that are harmful to dogs.

Repeated tissue consumption can lead to a variety of health problems, including:

Health Problems Description
Intestinal Blockages When tissues accumulate in the digestive tract, it can create a blockage that prevents food from passing through.
Gastrointestinal Distress Eating tissues may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Toxicity In rare cases, tissues may contain chemicals or substances that are toxic to dogs.

As a responsible dog owner, it is important to take steps to prevent tissue consumption and minimize any potential harm to your pet.

Effective techniques to discourage tissue eating

Discouraging your dog from eating tissues can be tough, but with the right techniques and training, you can help them break this undesirable habit. Here are some effective methods to prevent your dog from eating tissues:

  • Redirect their attention: Whenever you catch your dog going for a tissue, redirect their attention to a toy or treat.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Whenever your dog shows good behavior, reward them with treats or praise.
  • Avoid punishing your dog: Punishing your dog for tissue eating can lead to fear and anxiety, making the behavior worse.
  • Keep tissues out of reach: Store tissues in a closed drawer or cabinet where your dog cannot access them.

Remember, it’s important to be patient and consistent with these techniques. It may take some time, but with patience and perseverance, you can help your dog break this habit for good!

Creating a safe environment for your dog

Creating a safe environment for your dog is essential to prevent tissue-eating behavior. Here are some tips for dog owners to make sure their homes are safe:

Keep tissues out of reach: Store tissues in a drawer or cabinet where your dog cannot access them. Keeping them on a coffee table or desk is a recipe for disaster!
Supervise your dog: Keep an eye on your dog when they are around tissues. Redirect their attention if they show interest in the tissues.
Designate a safe space: Create a designated space for your dog when you are not home, such as a crate or a closed room. This will prevent them from accessing tissues or any other unsafe items.

By taking these precautions, you can help prevent tissue-eating behavior and keep your furry friend safe.

Effective techniques to discourage tissue eating

Effective techniques to discourage tissue eating

Discouraging your dog from eating tissues can be a challenge, but with consistency and proper training, it is possible to redirect their behavior. Here are some effective techniques you can use:

  1. Teach the “leave it” command: This command can be used to teach your dog to leave objects alone. Begin by holding a treat in your hand and saying “Leave it.” When your pup looks away, reward them with the treat. Gradually increase the difficulty by placing an object on the ground and using the “leave it” command.
  2. Redirect their attention: Give your dog a toy or bone to chew on instead of tissues. When they have an appropriate item to chew on, they are less likely to seek out other objects.
  3. Supervise your dog: Keep an eye on your dog and intervene if you see them approaching tissues. Say “no” firmly and redirect their attention to an appropriate toy or activity.
  4. Use taste deterrents: Apply a taste deterrent to tissues or objects your dog may be attracted to. These deterrents are safe and harmless, but their bitter taste will discourage your pup from chewing on them.

Remember to be patient and consistent when using these techniques. Positive reinforcement, such as praise and treats, will encourage your dog to continue their good behavior. With time and practice, your dog can learn to ignore tissues and other inappropriate objects.


Understanding why your dog eats tissues is crucial in preventing the behavior from occurring. Dogs may engage in tissue-eating behavior due to various reasons, such as boredom, anxiety, lack of training, or health issues. As responsible dog owners, it is essential to create a safe environment for your pet and redirect their attention towards appropriate toys and treats.

Consistency in training and positive reinforcement are key to preventing dogs from eating tissues. Utilizing techniques such as leaving tissues out of reach, creating a designated play area, and providing stimulating toys can discourage tissue consumption. Patience and time are required to train your dog successfully, and it is recommended to consult with a professional dog trainer for further guidance.

By utilizing the techniques and tips provided in this article, you can effectively address tissue-eating behavior in your dog. Remember to prioritize your dog’s health and well-being by creating a safe and happy environment for them to thrive.


Why is my dog attracted to eating tissues?

Dogs might be drawn to tissues due to their texture, the remnants of human scents on them, or simply out of curiosity. Some dogs also develop the habit because it gets a reaction from their owners.

Is it harmful for my dog to eat tissues?

While an occasional tissue is unlikely to harm your dog, eating them in large quantities can lead to gastrointestinal blockages. It’s always best to prevent the behavior and consult a vet if you’re concerned.

How can I discourage my dog from eating tissues?

Ensure tissues and tissue boxes are out of reach. Additionally, provide appropriate chew toys and engage in regular play to distract and entertain your dog.

Are there training methods to stop my dog from eating tissues?

Yes, using positive reinforcement techniques, like rewarding your dog when they leave a tissue alone, can be effective. Training commands like “leave it” or “drop it” can also help.

Could my dog’s diet be a reason they’re eating tissues?

While tissues aren’t a food substitute, if a dog is lacking certain nutrients or is hungry, they might be more inclined to eat non-food items. Ensure your dog’s diet is balanced and consult with a vet about any concerns.

Is tissue eating linked to any specific behavioral issues in dogs?

Some dogs might eat tissues due to boredom, anxiety, or attention-seeking behaviors. It can also be linked to a condition called pica, where animals eat non-food items.

How can I ensure my dog doesn’t eat tissues when I’m not home?

Secure your trash bins and place tissues or tissue boxes in areas your dog can’t access. Using baby gates or confining your dog to a safe space can also help.

Are there any deterrents I can use to stop my dog from eating tissues?

There are pet-safe deterrent sprays available that can make tissues taste unpleasant to dogs. Always ensure any deterrent used is safe for pets.

Should I punish my dog for eating tissues?

Punishing your dog can create fear or confusion and might not address the underlying cause of the behavior. It’s better to use positive reinforcement techniques and provide alternatives to deter the behavior.

If my dog has eaten a large amount of tissues, what should I do?

If your dog has consumed a significant number of tissues, it’s essential to monitor for signs of distress, vomiting, or constipation. In such cases, consulting a veterinarian promptly is crucial.