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Why Is Your Dog Eating Carpet and How to Prevent It: A Comprehensive Guide

By Aviram K.
Published in Training & Behavior
January 5, 2023
4 min read
Why Is Your Dog Eating Carpet and How to Prevent It: A Comprehensive Guide
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

Imagine this; you just installed brand new carpet into your wonderful home, warm, fuzzy, clean… only to come home to your dog chewing on it!

Not only is this not safe for your dog to do, but it’s also only a matter of time before your carpet is completely destroyed.

Dogs chew carpets because of teething, pica, boredom, lack of stimulation, or separation anxiety. Provide adequate chewing material (like toys and hides), mental stimulation, and physical stimulation, visit the veterinarian to resolve pica or work with a trainer to alleviate separation anxiety. If your dog ate carpet, take them to the vet immediately to prevent blockage and obstruction.

In this article, I will provide a comprehensive guide on why dogs eat carpets, how to get your pup to stop, and what to do if you realize that your dog has eaten quite a bit of the carpet already!

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents
01
Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Carpet
02
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Carpet
03
What to Do If Your Dog Has Already Eaten a Large Amount of Carpet

Common Reasons Why Dogs Eat Carpet

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Carpet is the munch of choice for a few different reasons, ranging from age and behavior all the way to a potential medical cause.

Understanding why your dog is gnawing at your carpet can help you put an end to this unsavory act.

Teething Puppy

The chewing of carpet doesn’t need to have some nefarious or deep purpose - sometimes, it’s simply convenient!

Between three to four months of age, puppies start teething. When puppies are teething, their teeth “itch” and they desire to gnaw to remedy the discomfort.

If your puppy spends a lot of time outside of their kennel (or you don’t use a kennel at all), the carpet may simply be a chew toy of convenience.

Plus, the texture and softness of carpet can likely feel more comforting for their teeth than harder chews, making your brand new floor even more enticing to a young pup.

Pica

Pica is a phrase used to describe the eating of carpets and other unsuitable inanimate items.

A dog with pica, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, would neurotically eat items that aren’t typically edible or considered to be food.

When a dog reaches a particular age, pica-like behavior is common. Pica-like behavior is commonly seen by pups as they learn what constitutes food; however, most puppies outgrow this.

You have a case of pica if an adult or teenage dog keeps consuming objects that are not food. This is such a significant issue that, according to Japanese research, pica is the third most frequently reported canine behavioral concern.

Pica requires a visit to the veterinarian to understand why that is happening.

Bored and Seeking Your Attention

It’s not uncommon for dogs to find ways to amuse themselves if you haven’t provided an outlet for them. Often, how a dog chooses to keep themself busy isn’t always what we would wish for!

Chewing carpet is a common way dogs find something to do because of its accessibility and prevalence in the home (plus, the texture can fascinate some pups).

Dogs require mental and physical stimulation to be kept happy (and tired). If you aren’t giving enough of either, carpet munching might be in your future.

As well as this, if a dog is crying out for attention, doing something that gets a reaction out of you is their goal.

If you find yourself yelling or immediately giving your dog attention after they chew the carpet, you could be unwittingly reinforcing this behavior.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is an anxiety disorder that can be characterized by the eating of carpet (something that is easily accessed right under your dog’s nose).

When your dog has separation anxiety, they exhibit a very unpleasant response to being away from you. These behaviors can range from whimpering and barking to tearing objects up and destroying inanimate things.

Your dog may have this form of anxiety problem if they start eating carpet whenever you leave them alone.

How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Carpet

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Like stopping any behavior, the big key is understanding why the behavior happens in the first place.

First and foremost, get your pup to the vet to rule out a medical cause. If your dog has pica, this could be caused by a hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency. Get some blood work and a routine check-up by your vet to sort out what could be causing the compulsive behavior.

If the destruction of your carpet or rugs is due to a puppy teething, the quickest way to stop this behavior is to provide plenty of appropriate toys and chews! There are tantalizing toys made specifically for teething puppies, and showing a profound interest in these can entice your puppy. Pet and reward your puppy when they decide to chew on a suitable toy.

You can prevent the behavior entirely by crate training your dog and supervising whenever they are out and about. Take away their opportunity to chew behind your back, and you successfully stop the problem! However, having your dog supervised at all times when they are out may not be feasible, so training your dog to stop is still a great idea.

If your dog is chewing due to lack of stimulation, set up a schedule for your dog in which they get plenty of exercise, training time, and playtime! Working the mind and the body will make your pup less tired (therefore less likely to misbehave) and more satisfied (removing the urge to chew inappropriate things).

If you notice that carpet chewing is an anxiety-related behavior, you must determine what is causing the anxiety. Working through separation anxiety with a qualified dog trainer or canine behaviorist may help your dog become much more calm and self-assured.

It’s crucial to teach a dog to tolerate being left alone if you want to successfully treat separation anxiety. The objective is for your dog to experience the situation that worries them, namely being by themselves, without experiencing any anxiety.

Most of the time, dealing with extreme separation anxiety alone is not advised – you need assistance from someone knowledgeable about the canine brain!

What to Do If Your Dog Has Already Eaten a Large Amount of Carpet

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If you discover that your dog has eaten a substantial amount of your carpet, you must go to the vet immediately! Even if your dog isn’t showing immediate distress, it’s only a matter of time.

The material that the carpet is made of is not digestible. The carpet fibers can become lodged in the intestines, creating a blockage that can be fatal to dogs. This is called gastric obstruction or gastric blockage, and it is fatal.

Lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are typical symptoms, but usually, if your dog shows these, it’s already pretty serious. Your dog risks dying from the obstruction if they aren’t quickly rushed to the emergency vet. The most common kind of treatment for intestinal obstruction is urgent surgery.


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Dog BehaviorsDog Training
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