What Does It Mean When a Puppy Eats Everything?

He doesn't actually want to eat toilet paper, he's just bored.
He doesn't actually want to eat toilet paper, he's just bored. (Image: Chris Amaral/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Coming home to find your running shoes in a mangled mess is never a happy experience. When your pup gnaws on and eats everything you own, it can be infuriating. Before getting angry with Fido, you’ll need to figure out what is causing his destructive chewing. Otherwise he may swallow something dangerous and wind up in the hospital.


If Fido is eating everything in sight, he might be hungry. Puppies who eat random objects are sometimes feeling a little nutrient deprived. Typically you’ll see him nibbling on things that smell like food -- tissues, empty food boxes or plastic plates -- if he’s feeling hungry. Talk with your veterinarian about making changes in Fido’s diet. He may be ready to start eating larger portions.


Much like human infants, puppies also lose baby teeth. Your pint-size ball of fur may be eating everything because he’s teething. His mouth is sore and chewing helps sooth his tender gums. Typically teething ends around 6 months of age, according to the ASPCA. After this age, his habitual eating hobby should slowly subside, making him less destructive.


As soon as you leave for the day, Fido needs to find a way to keep himself entertained. Eating everything in sight keeps him occupied. He’ll start by gnawing away all of his toys, leaving behind only small fragments. Then he’ll move on to your dirty laundry, chewing up yesterday’s clothes. He’ll continue to move on to anything in his path just to keep himself happy until you get home.

Separation Anxiety

Your new puppy thinks of you as part of his family. So when you leave for the day, he’s devastated and feels overly anxious. As soon as you get home, you’ll hear him whimpering and whining loudly before you get in the door. By the time you get inside, you’ll see that he ate through everything he could get his paws on, even if you secured him in his crate. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety also may go potty in the house or in the crate. Your veterinarian can help you figure out if Fido’s chewing is related to severe anxiety. In some cases, medications might help.

Getting Through It

If you don’t want it in your pooch’s mouth, don’t leave it out for him to eat. You need to be able to keep an eye on little Fido at all times so he doesn’t destroy everything. Keep him in the same room with you while you’re home -- even if you have to keep him on a leash -- and secure him in a safe spot while you’re gone. Give him a variety of toys to chew on. Durable rubber toys that have empty compartments are often ideal. This way you can put his kibble or special treats inside to keep him occupied. You’ll also need to rotate his toys frequently. If he only has the same old rubber bone to play with each day, he’ll get tired of it and venture out to find something else.

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