Why is My Dog Eating Carpet? And How to Make it Stop

dog eating and chewing on the carpet

The reason your dog is eating carpet could be due to a medical condition called pica. This is when dogs enjoy eating non-edible objects. But what causes pica? Anxiety, built-up energy, age, and curiosity can all cause this disorder. Of course, your dog could also be eating the carpet because something yummy was spilled there a few days ago.

Our curious little canine comrades never fail to warm our hearts with their quirky behavior. But certain behavior can prove quite costly. Not to mention potentially harmful for your pup’s health.

Dining on the living room rug is a habitual tendency that can be developed for many reasons. Below, we will explore the top six reasons dogs eat carpet.

6 Reasons Dogs Eat Carpet

Anxiety

Although we do our best to provide a luxurious life for our dogs, stress is unavoidable. Sometimes things outside of our control can cause our dogs to suffer from stress and anxiety. For example, a severe thunderstorm grumbling in the distance, or a firework induced holiday that makes your dog think the world is ending.

One way dogs deal with stress is through chewing. This is especially true for dogs that have separation anxiety.

When I first got my Boxer, she would pull up the carpet seam right at the front door whenever I left. Every time I came home, I was closer and closer to unfinished wood flooring. It was maddening!

I quickly learned that the reason she was chewing on the carpet was because of stress and anxiety.

The key is to remain patient with your pup. Getting angry will only provoke their anxiety. Dogs are big, dorky, emotional sponges, and they feed off of your energy just as much as your dinner plate.

Keeping a calm composure around the house and not rushing your departures will help immensely. A few extra head scratches never hurt either.

Curious Pups

Not all bad habits are derived from anxious tendencies. Puppies are curious little creatures. Just like children exploring a foreign environment, pups use those fresh teeth to breach every nook and cranny available.
Whether it be your first ever fur baby, or a fine addition to the family, you should know that bidding farewell to a few pairs of sneakers is inevitable when introducing a puppy to its new home.

Chewing is how they learn, explore, and adjust to unfamiliar settings.

In addition to curiosity, puppies also endure a teething process. Teething is one of the most common reasons puppies chew the carpet.

They begin losing their puppy teeth around three to four months of age. This process can be very painful on their gums, which provokes them to chew on anything and everything to ease the pain.

This usually lasts until about six months of age, or until their adult teeth are fully grown. Fortunately, the countermeasure is quite simple. Keep plenty of chews and bones around so they won’t be tempted to chew on the carpet.

Elderly Dogs

It turns out old dogs can learn new “tricks.” Even later in life, our furry friends are still susceptible to developing damaging habits.

A common cause of this behavior stems from puppyhood. When puppies are weaned from their mother prematurely, issues often occur later within their development. Chewing and suckling on the fibers in the carpet is a way for them to mimic nursing on their mother.

Spilled Food

As charming and lovable as our four-legged amigos prove to be, we can universally agree that table manners are not their strong suit, which can lead to messes and spills on the carpet. If you have big dogs, you know that when those bowls hit the floor, you better get out of the way.

To avoid confrontation within the “pack,” dogs often take mouthfuls of food and eat away from their bowl. Being a dog owner, you have most likely observed this behavior.

Be sure that wherever they eat is thoroughly cleaned after their meal. Messes and spills that are not cleaned properly in a carpeted area provide a risk of chewed up fabric. As long as they can’t smell food on the floor, you should be good to go.

Pent of energy

Dogs need lots of room to run free. With four legs, you can’t blame them!

Chewing up the carpet and other items around the house can be a clear indicator that your dog needs more physical activity.

Dogs that are indoors for long periods of time can grow a disinterest in their toys. This will entice them to seek out more exciting and foreign objects around the house to chew on.

If a dog does not receive the proper stimulation (both physically and mentally) that they require, the pent up energy can be quite costly.

Pica

Pica is an eating disorder in which non-edible objects are sought out and consumed. This can range from rocks, plastic, and yes…carpet.

It’s a common compulsive disorder that is stress-induced and can lead to daunting health problems if not adequately catered to.

You can treat this with careful behavioral training, showing them the difference between objects and edible food. The key is to be patient with your pup.

Health Impacts of Chewing on Carpet

As mentioned above, our furry friends gnawing on the carpet can be a financial headache. But there is more than just a financial burden at risk here. It can be potentially harmful to your pup’s health.

Most dog bones and chews are designed to be broken down quickly, limiting the risk of becoming a choking hazard. However, when they decide to turn to the carpet, the couch, etc. the risk of an object getting lodged in their throat increases.

Fibers and other pieces of fabric can also become entangled in the stomach or the intestinal tract. This can cause blockage in the dog, potentially causing a severe infection, and in some instances, death.

Chewing and tasting is instinctual, so to prevent this issue, providing an adequate substitution is key. Be patient and calm with your pup. Work with them carefully and consistently, showing them as much love as you can muster.

There is also a wide selection of anti-chew sprays on the market that can be applied to trouble areas. If you notice a specific area on the carpet your dog continues to eat, apply the spray to that area.

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