Why Does My Dog... Shred Paper?

Dog shredding paper
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Does this sound familiar? You leave your dog home alone and come back to find the novel you are reading torn to pieces. Or you find yourself repeatedly explaining to various teachers that when your son says the dog ate his homework, he is not lying. Or you change the toilet paper roll only to find the roll empty — and the paper all over the floor — an hour later.

Let's talk about why some dogs like to shred paper.

Some breeds are more likely to be shredders than others. These include Boxers, Cairn Terriers, Golden Retrievers and Maltese. While shredding may seem like a messy but harmless canine pastime, it is anything but; dogs who swallow paper can develop digestive problems. Swallowing a large amount of paper can cause an intestinal blockage. For your dog's health — and your sanity — it's important to put a stop to this behavior.

What Your Dog Wants

Many dogs like to tear things up. Shredding paper is great fun for dogs, and they do not see the harm in it, especially as it provides an outlet for their energy. Some dogs simply enjoy the sensation of tearing something with their mouths, much like they would tear at their prey if they were hunting in the wild. Other dogs shred paper when they feel bored, stressed or anxious.

How to Respond

To help your dog change her paper-shredding ways, avoid leaving paper — newspapers, magazines, schoolwork — lying around where she can get her teeth on it. Instead, provide her with an alternative item to occupy her mouth, such as a chew toy or a stuffed Kong.

A hollow, hard-rubber toy is one of the best objects that you can offer your mouthy dog. Fill the toy with peanut butter or processed cheese spread, then watch as your dog spends time and energy on working out how to remove the food.

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