Why Dogs Eat Paper

Understanding Dog Behavior

Understanding dog behavior involves recognizing that dogs communicate primarily through their bodies and actions, not sounds. Their behavior is generally driven by basic needs and natural instincts. Dogs are, by nature, pack animals that rely on social structure and clear roles within their pack – which, in a domestic setting, is their human family.

Dogs can exhibit a variety of behaviors depending on their breed, age, health, and individual personality. Some behaviors, like wagging their tail or licking, are universally recognized as positive signs. Other behaviors, like growling or baring teeth, are typically seen as aggressive or defensive.

But there are also more subtle behaviors that dogs exhibit. For instance, if a dog’s ears are flattened or their tail is tucked between their legs, it can be a sign of fear or anxiety. Understanding these nuanced behaviors can help us interact with our dogs in a more meaningful and effective way, ensuring their wellbeing and our own.

Remember, it’s essential to consider the context in which a behavior occurs. What might be normal behavior in one context could be a sign of stress or discomfort in another.

The Science Behind Dogs Eating Paper

The peculiar behavior of dogs eating paper can be traced back to their evolutionary instincts. Dogs, having descended from wolves, are natural scavengers. They are opportunistic and have a natural curiosity to explore and consume various materials, regardless of whether they are edible.

Dogs don’t perceive the world in the same way humans do. Their sense of taste is not as developed as their sense of smell, making them less discerning about what they ingest. Therefore, it’s common for dogs to ingest non-food items, including paper, out of curiosity, boredom, or even due to a condition known as pica.

Another contributing factor could be their desire to chew. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, providing mental stimulation and helping maintain dental health. Since paper is easily accessible and offers a unique texture, some dogs might be attracted to chew and subsequently eat it.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Paper

Dogs eat paper for a variety of reasons. One common reason is simple curiosity. Dogs explore their world by smelling, tasting, and chewing, and paper may be an interesting texture for them to investigate.

Another possible reason is boredom. Without sufficient physical and mental stimulation, dogs can resort to chewing and eating items such as paper to occupy their time. Furthermore, some dogs may eat paper as a form of attention-seeking behavior. If they’ve noticed that eating paper gets a reaction from their owner, they may continue the behavior to gain that attention.

The behavior may also be symptomatic of a condition called pica, which is characterized by the consumption of non-food items, including paper. This can be caused by various factors including dietary deficiencies, medical conditions, or behavioral issues.

Lastly, some dogs may simply enjoy the act of chewing paper, finding it fun or soothing, not unlike a human child with a favorite toy.

Attention Seeking Behavior 

Attention-seeking behavior in dogs stems from their social nature and desire to interact with their human companions. As pack animals, they thrive on social interaction and the attention of their pack members. In a domestic setting, this translates to their human family. If your dog isn’t getting enough attention or stimulation, they may resort to behaviors they’ve learned will get a reaction, such as eating paper.

Interestingly, dogs don’t always differentiate between positive and negative attention. To them, even a negative response to their action is better than no response at all. If they’ve learned that eating paper will get you to react, even if it’s to scold them, they may repeat the behavior to get your attention.

One effective strategy to manage this attention-seeking behavior is to ignore it. When your dog starts eating paper, don’t react. When they stop, give them attention or a treat as a reward. This approach helps your dog understand the behaviors that will earn them positive attention.

Alternatively, you can redirect their behavior to something more appropriate. For instance, if your dog starts eating paper, distract them with a favorite toy or game. This can help replace the undesired behavior with a more appropriate one.


In conclusion, while it may seem strange or even amusing, a dog’s tendency to eat paper is a behavior that pet owners should take seriously. It’s a habit that stems from various reasons such as curiosity, boredom, attention-seeking, or even certain health issues. However, persistent paper-eating can pose serious health risks such as digestive blockages and potential toxicity.

As responsible pet owners, it’s important to understand these behaviors, and take proactive steps to prevent them. This includes providing adequate physical and mental stimulation, using deterrents, and teaching basic commands. But most importantly, it requires patience and understanding of your dog’s needs and instincts.

If your dog’s paper-eating behavior persists or if they show signs of illness, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. With the right approach and consistent effort, your dog can overcome this behavior, ensuring their health and happiness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

“Why Dogs Eat Paper”:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Answers
1. Why does my dog eat paper? Dogs may eat paper due to curiosity, boredom, attention-seeking behavior, or health issues like pica.
2. Can eating paper harm my dog? Yes, eating paper can potentially harm your dog. It can cause digestive blockages, upset stomach, or potential toxicity if the paper contains harmful chemicals.
3. How can I stop my dog from eating paper? You can prevent this behavior by providing adequate mental and physical stimulation, training them with basic commands, using deterrents, and consulting a professional if necessary.
4. What should I do if my dog eats paper? Monitor your dog closely for any signs of illness. If they seem unwell or the paper-eating habit continues, consult a veterinarian.
5. Can dogs digest paper? No, dogs cannot fully digest paper. While small amounts may pass through the system, larger amounts can cause blockages.