Why Does My Dog Eat Plastic?

Dogs have no sense, they will literally try and chew and eat anything they can get their mouth around.

Some of the dogs we have had in the past have had a fetish for certain things and tried to eat them at every opportunity!

We have had dogs that have eaten lumps of dirt, whole socks, rubber, wood and plastic!! Why?!?

Our Evie is a pain for chewing and trying to eat plastic. Anything plastic.

Some of her favourite plastic things to eat include:

  • the Sky remotes (yes, remoteS, cos she constantly eats them arrrghhhhh!!!)
  • plastic pegs (her main fave)
  • plastic dog beds
  • PlayStation & Switch controllers
  • our youngest son’s plastic toys
  • hairbrushes
  • dustpan & brushes

She drives us absolutely mental with it! Not only is it annoying when you find something chewed to bits, it’s dangerous for her to eat it!!!

We’ve had puddles of sick with bits of chewed pegs and other plastic wonders mixed in and it scares us every.damn.time.

If we even have a hint of her possibly chewing anything we just assume she’s eaten some and are on tenterhooks until we know it’s made its way through her system one way or another…

Our vets know all about the obsessive chewing and eating of plastic because we’ve called and visited them quite a few times over it!

So far (fingers crossed) we have been lucky that Evie has managed to sick up any plastic or been caught in the act of trying to eat so has been stopped.

Our aunt’s dog used to be obsessed with eating stones and wasn’t so lucky, she ended up having a few operations to have them removed! So much for Border Collies being clever… 😮

But Why Does She Eat Plastic?

(I really, really wanted to just type -> ‘Cos she’s an idiot‘ here.)

I asked a couple of my kids why they thought dogs try to eat plastic, here’s what they thought:

This is why Kid4 & Kid5 think our dog eats plastic! Bless em!

There are a few different theories about why your dog eats plastic, some people believe it’s because of boredom, some say it’s because they have a diet deficiency.

Personally, I don’t think it’s anything to do with a dog’s diet, why would they eat plastic of all things?? What nutrients could plastic possibly have for our pooches??

I think it’s probably a bit of boredom but also just habit… plus dumbness.

Remember when I said our Aunt’s collie obsessively ate stones, her entire life!?

Dogs are supposed to be as clever as a 2 year old child – but not all dogs are made equal.

Some dogs are just dumb – sorry! (Cute, but dumb) Credit: unknown

Dogs are opportunists and will try anything they can, whether that be squeezing through a tiny hole in the fence (and getting stuck) or eating that cupcake wrapper just because it smells like cake.

Some dogs are just dumb. They can’t tell the difference between actual food and a wrapper ffs, if it smells like food they’re eating it.

Bored, so boooorrrreeeeddddd!!! Credit: unknown

Is It Boredom or Not Enough Toys?

Our dogs have plenty of toys. They are laid out all over the house and garden at all times. They make more mess than the 6 kids! Does that mean that when they are bored they will pick one up and play with it? Sometimes. Sometimes that tasty looking peg is just too tempting. Sigh.

We are always playing with our dogs too – they need mental stimulation as much as anyone else – and like I’ve said before, we have 6 kids so there is always someone ready to play!

It’s just that sometimes the dogs fancy chewing part of the knight’s castle and not their plastic chew toy. Sometimes they feel like chewing their plastic dog bed just for the sake of it. I mean, why not?!

(Does your dog chew their bed too?? You could try one of these Armadillo Indestructible Plastic Dog Beds from Bunty Pet Products to see if that will last a bit longer than their last one!)

The Dentastix dog must’ve had a hard time teething for those gnashers! Credit: Pedigree Dog food

It Could Be Teething

Dogs chew a lot, apparently, some breeds are more prone to chewing (like Labradors) but I don’t know about it being breed related.

I do know that all dogs chew when they are teething though; dogs go through teething at different ages and it can last a while sometimes. they will find anything and everything they can to relieve their pain, after all, they can’t tell us they’re in pain and have some Calpol, can they!

(Amazon does sell some Dog Teething Gel though you could try.)

Plastic dog beds seem to be a firm favourite with every dog we have had (different breeds too), we used to replace the beds when they had been chewed – but now we don’t bother because they tend to have a nibble even when they are older!

Yes we have tried the puppy teething toys you can buy; flavoured, scented, small, big, cheap, expensive – none of them have appealed to our dogs and the teething toys always end up completely untouched and immaculate! Why?!? Ugh!

The amount of puppy chew toys we have took to the charity shop over the years is ridiculous.

I’m not saying don’t buy puppy chew toys, I think you should if your pup or older dog is teething – it gives them a chance to chew something suitable and safe, and they might like it. It’s probably just my awkward dogs that don’t like them. 🙂

Peanut & Evie are always hungry!

Are They Just Hungry?

Another theory is that dogs eat things like plastic and wood because they’re hungry. Well I think this is probably partly true. If a dog thinks it can get away with eating something, it will.

A dog’s instincts tell it that it never knows when the next meal is coming… even though they are fed on a regular schedule every day.

Your dog might be smart and start hanging around the kitchen at 4pm every day, knowing food is about to come, but it’s instincts will still say they must eat everything they see because they never know when they will starve and waste away.

Clever, but stupid at the same time!

Like I mentioned above, a dog will eat cupcake wrappers or chip wrappers just because it smells like food. They will literally eat paper because it might be food, their instincts are mostly greedy and paranoid. 😮

Obsessed by biscuits much?? Credit: unknown

Is My Dog Anxious or Obsessive?

The answer could be yes.

Our Evie chews as much plastic as she can, some she will eat. She isn’t anxious though and she isn’t obsessive so we are lucky in that way.

I have heard some dogs who do suffer from anxieties and obsessions can have a real compulsion for a particular type of thing.

If your dog is anxious, you might be able to figure out what’s causing it. It might be something that you find simple or insignificant but your dog is losing its mind over it.

I’m not a dog trainer or a psychologist (although it’s something I like the idea of learning), so I can’t diagnose your dog.

Understanding Canine Anxiety Course – Centre of Excellence (Price correct April 2021)

You know them better than anyone, but sometimes it’s nice to have a fresh pair of eyes on a situation to help get it sorted. It’s always best to ask the experts, like a dog trainer or vet – in the meantime, try to think about the things that have changed in your dog’s life that may have disturbed them.

Here are a few things that might have made your dog anxious:

  • Have you changed your working hours?
  • Is there a new pet or person in the house?
  • Have you got any new furniture? Decorated?
  • New neighbours?
  • Changed their food?
  • Changed their walk area?
  • Changed yours or their routine at all?

Remember, just because you think it’s nothing doesn’t mean that your dog agrees!

cute yorkshire terrier dressed in nurses uniform fancy dress photo credit sam lion from pexels
Credit: Sam Lion @ Pexels

What Do I Do If My Dog Eats Plastic?

This is what I ask myself often! The first few times I was in a mad panic over it too!

If your dog eats plastic, call your vet asap!

If you can see the plastic in their mouth, try to remove it carefully.

If the plastic has been swallowed, make sure they can still breath and aren’t choking.

If they start to choke, try not to panic. There is a way to do the Heimlich manoeuvre on dogs – I’ve never tried it (thank God) so I don’t recommend it, but if you feel confident enough to try, follow these instructions on how to give a dog the Heimlich manoeuver.

dog Heimlich manoeuvre infographic
Credit: unknown

Most of the time it takes a few days but Evie will pass the plastic through, she isn’t usually off her food or water and she doesn’t act any differently.

But that’s Evie.

Your dog might go off their food or drink, be constipated or even have an upset tum, they may just seem listless and not themselves – in these cases get to the vet!

Usually, your dog will either sick up the plastic or pass it through the other way… but it’s always best to call or visit your vet just to get their advice.

Things NOT To Do If Your Dog Eats Plastic (or anything else they shouldn’t!)

Don’t force them to be sick.

Don’t ignore it – it could be potentially life threatening!

So, Why Does My Dog Eat Plastic??

So, why does my dog eat plastic? Honestly, I have no definite answer!

It drives me mad! Sometimes I go a bit mad at the kids when they leave stuff out to be chewed and other times I just feel like glueing Evie’s mouth shut. 😮 :p

(Obviously I don’t do that though.)

I think it can be a mix of things, so it might not be the definite answer you were looking for, for that I’m sorry. But hopefully, I’ve given you some ideas of why your dog eats plastic/wood/stones etc and you can begin to understand them a little better and hopefully stop it happening!

You can’t keep an eye on your dog 24/7 though, same as you can’t with your kids – so try not to beat yourself up too much if they do get their mouths around something they shouldn’t.

If this post has been any help to you, please share it on social media to help someone else. Thanks!

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