Dogs use their noses and mouths to explore the world around them. No wonder it isn’t unlikely for you to see them picking up anything around and popping it into their mouth. It’s out of curiosity and sometimes even for fun. It’s not that they only chance upon edible things; there are nonedible ones as well.
So does your dog tend to pick up waste from the trash can and feast on the same? So, what has been his latest fascination? Is it the snot-filled tissues that you discarded into the bin the night before? Well, how many of them did your dog eat? One or quite a number of them? It must have certainly panicked you to the core, right? Let’s read on to know the various reasons why your dog eats tissues with snot. It’s also essential to know the possible risks of the same on your dog.
Why Dogs Eat Tissues With Snot? 6 Possible Reasons
There could be umpteen reasons why your dog may be inclined to eat tissues with snot. Perhaps he likes the soft texture of the tissues. He may enjoy doing the same. Or, it could be an indication of an underlying medical condition, perhaps PICA. Let’s check out the reasons below:
1. They Do It for Fun
It’s just that your dog enjoys shredding, biting, ripping, and pawing at the tissue pieces they see in the trash can. They’ll do more of this if they do not have anyone around to play with them. Your dog knows how to entertain himself. The soft texture of the tissues could trigger their inherent hunting instincts.
It’s not an unknown fact that dogs in the past would go after their prey and hunt them down. They would rip off their flesh and devour the same. They would likely do the same with the tissues, tearing and ripping them apart and deriving immense pleasure from the same.
2. Your Dogs Have not Much to Do
Well, this one is a continuation of the above-mentioned point. When your dog’s exercise needs are not met well, or he is left alone at home for long without anything constructive to do, he gets bored. To overcome his boredom and anxiety, he will find ways to keep himself engaged.
Chewing, and picking at whatever is at hand, is one of the main traits displayed by a bored dog. If your dog chances on snot-filled tissue paper in the garbage bin, he’ll not think a second to pick them up and tear them to bits in no time. A bored dog could resort to other activities as well. These include destroying furniture, sleeping excessively, and so on.
3. Your Puppy is in its Teething Phase
If you have a pup at home who is in its teething phase, then there is a possibility that he may chew excessively anything that he gets at hand. These may include furniture, books, shoes, or even tissues, toilet paper, and so on. Don’t be surprised if your puppy nips you quite often, then.
The ideal time for the teething phase in puppies is when they are around 3 weeks old. So, if your pup’s chewing habit increases excessively, perhaps you know the reason behind the same.
4. They Love Anything that Belongs to You
Dogs have strong olfactory senses, way too stronger and sharper than their human friends. They’ll never fail to recognize or identify the smell of their owner or that person in the home whom they are increasingly attached to.
So, be it your soiled socks, dirty shoes, or used tissues, they will explore all of them just to get the hang of you, especially when you aren’t near them. They are missing you, and by smelling or chewing the things you used, they perhaps want to feel your presence.
5. It Could be Pica
This one isn’t as simple as the reasons mentioned so far. Pica isn’t a condition only in dogs but occurs in humans as well. Dogs with this condition are more inclined to consume inedible items like rocks, feces, cloth, dirt, paper, garbage, and so on.
There are several reasons for pica, physical and behavioral. Your dog may not be receiving adequate nutrients, and to compensate for the same, he resorts to eating non-food items. It may even be that your dog is overly bored or anxious, which has reached the extent that they increasingly resort to eating inedible items.
When your dog has pica, he will show other signs as well. These include lessened appetite, broken teeth, bad breath, loose stool, vomiting, abdominal distension, and so on. So, when your dog is eating tissues repetitively and even showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, then pica could be the reason. It is essential to get in touch with the vet immediately. If you try to stop your dog from eating non-food objects, he could get aggressive. So, seeking medical help is of utmost importance.
6. Your Dog is Hungry
This is the simplest and easiest of all explanations. Perhaps your dog didn’t eat his breakfast well and is feeling hungry. He takes a tour of the trash can and picks up anything he gets at hand. It may not just be tissue papers, but other things as well that he gets from the waste basket.
Risks and Consequences
If your dog mostly rips and tears the tissues but rarely ingests, it isn’t that worrisome. However, the problem arises if he has ingested the same. The amount plays a key factor here. If it’s just a negligible amount of it, then that would pass through his stool.
Now, let’s get to the point about what happens if your dog has ingested the tissues. Well, in most cases, dogs rip the tissues and reduce them into bits. Tissues are soft and, in most cases, break down in the stomach and pass through your dog’s stool.
However, if your dog has gulped down a lot of tissue papers and other things as well in the garbage bin, that could lead to gastrointestinal blockage. The size of the dog also plays a significant role here. A small dog eating a few tissues could be at a greater risk than a big dog consuming the same number of tissues.
Moreover, if your dog eats tissues, be it in small amounts quite often, then that could pose a problem as well. Small breeds may also be at risk of a choking hazard if they have too many tissues at a time.
Now, if the tissues were snot-filled, the hazard could be a little more. When your dog has ingested too much of the snot, it could likely make him sick. But there isn’t any research to validate the same.
What to Do When Your Dog Eats Tissue With Snot? 3 Important Things
If you have seen your dog constantly picking up snot-filled tissues and eating them, you can act instantly. But if you haven’t seen him doing the same, then you must rely on his symptoms. Moreover, on returning home from work, if you spot tissue papers scattered all around, it could be a hint that he has ingested some amount of tissues. Here are a few things to do:
1. Ensure that Your Dig Doesn’t Eat Anymore of it
That’s the most important of all. Once you’ve spotted your dog feasting on tissue, remove him from the place at once. Clear off the mess at the earliest, and make sure to close the lid of the trash can from where he was eating the tissues. In this way, you will minimize the possibility of any further damage,
2. Keep a Close Watch on Your Dog
The next would be to keep a close watch on your dog. The symptoms might, in most cases, take around 6-12 hours to show up. If you notice any signs of discomfort in your dog, do not delay to consult a vet.
You also need to make a note of all that has happened (if possible). This includes how long it has been since your dog has eaten the tissues if he is showing symptoms, and if there was something else on the tissues as well, like snot. The more information you have at hand, the easier it will be for the vet to start treatment.
3. Contact the Vet
You could closely monitor your dog and get in touch with the vet if you sense anything wrong. Or you may also contact the vet immediately when you spot your dog eating tissues to be on the safer side. The choice is yours.
If your dog is obsessed with snot-filled tissues and eats them quite often, then it’s better to get him checked by a vet.
How to Stop My Dog from Eating Tissues? 5 Possible Remedies
If eating tissues has become a regular habit in your dog, then here are a few things to try from your end to help him overcome the same.
1. Use a Dog-Proof Trash Can
If you have a canine at home, it is always safe to get a dog-proof trash can to keep your pet away from it. The trash cans with a top lid, which opens upon being pressed down, are the ideal ones to choose from. Metal cans are a better option than plastic varieties since they can be tipped off easily by your dog.
2. Keep the Doors of the Washroom Locked
If the trash can is in the bathroom, then lock the door so that your dog isn’t able to get in. This becomes essential when you aren’t at home and your dog is all by itself without anyone to supervise its actions.
3. Exercise Your Dog Well
A bored dog is the most destructive of the lot. So, make sure to give him his daily dose of exercise as per his requirements. If your dog is crate trained, then you may make him spend at least some time of the day inside it.
Fill the crate with toys and bedding of his choice. You could even consider getting puzzles and other interesting toys for your dogs. This will help them remain busy and, at the same time, boost their IQ levels.
4. Talk to the Vet (if it Has Become a Habit)
If your dog is persistently eating snot-filled tissues or just tissues, toilet papers, or other inedible things, then a vet’s consultation is the need of the hour. His diet might be missing a nutrient, he could be suffering from an underlying issue, or there might be a behavioral problem that needs immediate intervention. So, seeking advice from the vet will help in identifying the issue.
5. Give Teething Toys (To Puppies)
If you have a puppy at home, then you could offer him frozen treats during the teething phase to relieve him of the pain and discomfort. Cold carrots, fruits like bananas, strawberries, and mini bagels are some of the choices of frozen foods to give your puppy then.
Some toys, like Kongs, when filled with treats, and frozen overnight, serve as apt teething toys for pups. When you give them better things to chew, they will get over their habit of chewing anything under the sun, edible or inedible.
When to Seek Veterinary Assistance
In most cases, the tissue may eliminate through your dog’s stool. But, if your dog has ingested too many tissues along with other things in the garbage, it might take a toll on his health. If your dog shows the following symptoms, then do not delay in consulting a vet: These are a few signs that you need to watch out for in your dog:
- Lessened appetite
- Distended abdomen
- Seems to be choked (coughing, gagging, salivating, pawing at their mouth, etc.)
Also, if chewing tissue papers filled with (or without) snot has become a recurrent habit in your dog, then you need to see the vet. It could be pica, and your dog might be suffering from an underlying health issue.
In most cases, it is not. However, if your dog has ingested an excessive amount of tissues, along with other non-edible things, then he could be at risk of severe health issues.
Toilet paper is as hazardous as tissue paper when ingested in increased amounts. If your dog has both of them together, then it could trigger digestive issues. It might even result in a choking hazard if your dog ingests too many of them. The extent to which it will hurt your dog also depends on its size. Small dogs will be more susceptible to health hazards than larger breeds.
If you find your beloved pooch shredding the tissues and happily popping them into their mouth, stop them right away. A little bit of it won’t do much harm, yet watch your dog’s symptoms closely. Engage your dog in activities, and fulfill their daily exercise needs.
When you do the same, you will succeed to a greater extent in managing their anxiety and boredom. Get them used to the crate to the extent they consider it their happy space. And above all, give your canine quality time so that they do not find ways to entertain themselves.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.