Why Does My Dog Eat Hair? (11 Common Reasons)

Dogs are known for being loyal companions, but they can also be rather mysterious creatures. One of the more perplexing behaviors that dogs engage in is eating hair.

Why do they do it? Why do some dogs seem to have a fascination with eating their own fur or human hair?

dog eating hair

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering about this strange behavior, you’re not alone. In fact, there are a few possible reasons why your dog might be drawn to eating his own fur or hair.

1. Normal Part of Puppy Development

Puppies are cute, there’s no denying that. But sometimes they do things that are, well, less than appetizing. Take, for example, their penchant for eating their own fur or, if they’re really lucky, a chunk of their owner’s hair.

It may not be the most appealing behavior, but it’s actually quite normal. Puppies are exploratory creatures, and their mouths are one of their primary tools for learning about the world around them.

Chewing on fur or hair is a way for them to investigate texture and taste. In most cases, there’s no need to worry, puppies will eventually outgrow this phase (although some dogs do enjoy the occasional nibble on their owners’ hair).

It’s important to teach your puppy not to eat non-food items such as rocks or hair. After all, you don’t want your pup to end up with a rock stomach or a hairball!

But seriously, there are two main reasons why it’s important to discourage your puppy from eating non-food items.

First, if your puppy ingests something that he shouldn’t, it could cause him to get sick. For example, stones can cause stomach upset and even blockages, while hairs can lead to digestive problems.

Second, eating non-food items can indicate behavioral problems, such as anxiety or boredom.

2. Self-Grooming

In some cases, eating hair may simply be a part of your dog’s grooming routine. Dogs typically groom themselves by licking their fur, which serves to remove dirt and debris.

However, some dogs may go a step further and actually eat the hair that they’ve licked off. This behavior is more common in long-haired breeds, as they may ingest a greater amount of hair while grooming.

In most cases, the hair passes through the digestive system without any problems. However, if your dog is eating large amounts of hair, it could potentially cause an intestinal blockage.

It’s important to regularly groom your dog to prevent them from eating their own fur. Not only will this help to keep their coat looking its best, but it will also help to reduce the amount of fur that they ingest.

In addition, regular grooming will also give you a chance to check for any other health problems that your dog may be facing such as parasites and allergies.

3. Parasites

just the word conjures up images of little bugs burrowing into our skin, or maybe leeches latched onto our body, sucking away our blood.

And, unfortunately, dogs can be hosts to a variety of different parasites. These tiny creatures can make our beloved dogs eat their own fur. How you may ask?

In short, parasites can make dogs itch like crazy, and to relieve that itch, they will do a lot of gnawing, licking, and chewing which can lead to the dog eating his own fur.

There are a variety of different parasites that can affect dogs, and the most common is the flea. Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking insects that can cause your dog a great deal of discomfort.

In addition to causing itchiness, fleas can also transmit other diseases to your dog such as tapeworms.

Other parasites that can affect dogs include ticks, mites, and worms. These parasites can all cause similar problems such as itchiness, hair loss, and hot spots.

4. Anxiety

Anxiety is a common problem for dogs, and it can manifest in a number of different ways. Some dogs may become withdrawn and listless, while others may pace incessantly or pant excessively.

Some may chew on their paws or tail, while others may eat things they shouldn’t, including their owner’s hair.

Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including changes in the home environment, separation from their owner, or even just boredom.

It is a serious issue for dogs, and it should be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to even more serious problems such as self-harm, destructive behaviors, and even aggression.

Thankfully, there are a number of ways to treat anxiety in dogs, and many of them are quite effective.

In order to effectively treat anxiety, it is important to first identify the underlying cause. Once the cause has been identified, there are a number of different treatment options that can be effective in reducing or eliminating anxiety.

These options include behavioral modification, prescription medication, and natural supplements. By working with a veterinarian, dog owners can develop an anxiety treatment plan that is tailored to their dog’s individual needs.

5. Allergies

Allergies are a common ailment in both humans and dogs, and they can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms.

One of the most common symptoms is itchiness, which can lead dogs to lick or chew on their own fur in an attempt to relieve the itchiness. In some cases, this action can lead to the dog actually eating their own fur.

In severe cases, allergies can also cause inflammation of the skin, which can be painful and may require treatment.

Allergies can be caused by a number of things, including pollen, dust, mold, and even certain foods.

If your dog is itching, losing fur, or has red, inflamed skin, it may be time to see the vet. Allergies can be difficult to diagnose, but your vet will likely start with a skin test or blood test.

Once the allergen has been identified, there are a few different ways to treat it. In some cases, changing your dog’s diet or using special shampoos can be enough to provide relief.

If the allergies are more severe, your vet may prescribe medication such as steroids or antihistamines. In extreme cases, your dog may need to undergo allergy shots.

6. Seeking Attention

Some experts theorize that dogs may eat their own fur as a way of seeking attention from their owners especially if you’ve inadvertently rewarded the behavior in the past.

Dogs are very social creatures, and they crave attention from their owners. If they feel that they are not getting enough attention, they may start to exhibit attention-seeking behaviors that can range from mild to severe.

In some cases, attention-seeking behaviors may be as simple as whining or eating their owners’ hair. However, in other cases, dogs may start to exhibit more destructive or even dangerous behaviors such as chewing on furniture or jumping on people.

While some attention-seeking behaviors are simply annoying, others can be dangerous to both the dog and the people around them.

That’s why it’s important to give your dog plenty of love and attention on a daily basis. Providing them with regular attention helps to foster a strong bond between you and your furry friend.

7. Boredom

We’ve all been there, staring at the clock, twiddling our thumbs, trying to find something-anything-to do. Boredom is universal, and even dogs feel it from time to time.

When humans get bored, we might mindlessly scroll through social media or snack on junk food. But when dogs get bored, they sometimes turn to a more Strange habit: eating human hair or their own fur.

While the occasional strand of hair probably won’t hurt your pup, persistent hair eating can lead to stomach issues like indigestion or even obstruction.

So next time Fido starts nibbling on your hair, try to engage him in some activity instead. Otherwise, you might end up with a bald spot…and an uninterested dog.

8. Looking for More Nutrients

Eating hair can actually be a sign of a nutritional deficiency in dogs. If your dog isn’t getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals, they may start craving things like hair as a way to make up for the shortfall.

One of the most common causes of nutritional deficiencies in dogs is a digestive disease.

This is because diseases like pancreatitis and inflammatory bowel disease can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients properly. As a result, dogs with these conditions are at risk of developing deficiencies in vitamins and minerals.

Poor diet is another common cause of nutritional deficiencies in dogs. Diets that are high in fillers and low in nutrients can lead to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

If you think your dog may be deficient in certain nutrients, you may want to consider changing their diet by feeding them a high-quality food that is specifically tailored for its age and activity level will help to ensure that it gets the right mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

The third most common reason for nutritional deficiencies in dogs is parasites. Intestinal worms are one type of parasite that can cause nutritional deficiencies in dogs.

The worms compete with the dog for food, and can also damage the lining of the intestine, making it difficult for the dog to absorb nutrients.

In addition, the worms can also carry diseases that can make a dog sick. As a result, it is important to regularly check your dog for worms and to treat them if they are present

9. Pica

Pica is a medical term used to describe the craving and ingestion of non-food items. In dogs, pica can manifest as an obsessive desire to eat their own fur or, in some cases, the hair of their owners.

While the cause of pica is not fully understood, it is believed to be linked to diet or stress.

Dogs with pica may consume large amounts of fur each day, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues and even blockages. Pica can also be dangerous if your dog ingests sharp objects or toxic substances.

If your dog is showing signs of pica, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems.

Once you’ve ruled out any medical causes, you’ll need to take steps to reduce your dog’s stress levels and keep them entertained. This may involve increasing the amount of exercise they get, providing them with more toys and chews, and eliminating access to any potential pica items.

10. A Sign of an Underlying Health Condition

It’s not unusual for dogs to eat human hair. In fact, it’s a pretty common behavior. However, if your dog is eating your hair all of a sudden or in large quantities, it could be a sign of undiagnosed medical disorders such as diabetes or tumor.

Dogs with diabetes often have increased levels of hunger and thirst, which can lead them to eat things they normally wouldn’t, like hair. Symptoms of diabetes in dogs include increased thirst, weight loss, cloudy eyes, and recurring infections.

Tumors can also cause dogs to eat hair. Tumors can cause a decrease in appetite, which can lead your dog to turn to other sources of food, like hair. Other symptoms of tumors include abnormal odors, non-healing wounds, loss of appetite, and lumps and bumps under the skin.

If your dog is eating hair and showing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Early diagnosis and treatment of health problems can help improve your dog’s quality of life and increase their lifespan.

11. Compulsive Disorder

Canine Compulsive Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can cause dogs to perform repetitive and harmful behaviors, such as chewing on their paws or swallowing non-food items. In some cases, dogs with this disorder may also eat human hair.

While the exact cause of Canine Compulsive Disorder is unknown, it is believed to be linked to genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors.

Dogs with this disorder often display signs of anxiety and stress, which may be relieved by performing obsessive behaviors.

Unfortunately, these behaviors can often lead to other problems, such as damaged teeth or an obstructed digestive tract.

Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and behavior modification. In severe cases, dogs may need to be hospitalized so that they can be monitored 24 hours a day.

Conclusion

As can be seen, there are many reasons why dogs may eat hair. In most cases, it is simply a matter of them being curious or looking for a new source of entertainment.

However, there are some medical conditions that can cause dogs to eat hair, so it is important to be aware of the potential signs and symptoms.

If you notice your dog eating hair more frequently than usual, or if they seem to be losing weight or acting strangely, it is best to take them to the vet for a check-up.

Related Questions

1. Why Is My Dog Eating Hair off the Floor?

Many dog owners have experienced the curious phenomenon of their pets eating hair off the floor. While it may seem gross to us, there are actually a few different reasons why dogs do this.

One possibility is that they are simply curious about the taste and texture of hair.

Another possibility is that they are bored and looking for something to do. Dogs can also become anxious or stressed, which can lead to them engaging in repetitive behaviors like eating hair.

Finally, some dogs may have a condition called pica, which causes them to crave and eat non-food items.

2. Why Does My Dog Eat My Underwear?

Dogs have an incredibly sensitive sense of smell. In fact, they are able to identify individual scents 10,000 times better than humans. This means that your dog is able to sniff out the unique scent of your underwear and differentiates it from all of your other clothes.

There are a few reasons why your dog may be drawn to your scent.

First, they may simply enjoy the way you smell. Additionally, the scent of your underwear may remind them of you and provide comfort when you’re away.

Finally, some dogs may eat underwear as a way to cope with separation anxiety. If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help ease their anxiety, such as providing them with a safe space to stay while you’re away or hiring a dog sitter.

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