As a worried dog parent, you may be asking yourself why your pup is snacking on the other dog’s fur. Dogs eat all kinds of crazy things, but eating another dog’s hair is not only weird but also something that should not be tolerated.
Don’t freak out though, in this post, we will explain why your pup is doing it and what you can do to stop this behavior.
Table of contents
7 Reasons Why Your Dog May Eat Another Dog’s Hair
Could be A Mild Case of Pica
If you find your dog eating your other dog’s hair, it could be a mild case of pica. This is a condition in dogs where they tend to eat unusual things like towels, plastic, or wood. It should therefore not come as a surprise to find your dog eating another dog’s hair if this is the case.
Pica may be caused by a deficiency of iron and calcium in their diet. To address it, you may want to change their diet so that it includes more of the said minerals.
If the problem persists even after increasing their mineral intake, then it may be time for an examination by your veterinarian. Your vet will also want to check for any parasites that might be causing anemia or other health problems that might contribute to this behavior.
What? Dogs can also suffer from anxiety and mild OCD? Not really… However, according to PetMD compulsive behavior is actually quite common in dogs. It is possible that the other dog’s hair chewing may be a sign of a condition similar to mild OCD or Obs.
It could be that the problem is stemming from your dog’s insatiable fixation on tidying things up. If this is left unattended, it can lead to mental aggravation for the aggressor and physical pain for the victim.
The compulsive behavior of your dog can cause them to want to keep other dogs in their presence tidy so if they feel like their hair isn’t, they may end up trying to eat it.
Now, you can choose, to keep both your dogs tidy to reduce the chances of happening but that may not be as practical. If it doesn’t work, you could seek professional help.
Your veterinarian may recommend a course of medication and behavioral therapy for your dog. Medication might include antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, which can help reduce compulsive behavior.
Behavioral therapy involves learning new ways to deal with stressors in your dog’s life, such as giving them more time to adjust to new situations and people, or teaching them how to relax on command.
Dogs are social animals. They live in packs, they work together and they play together. They also groom each other.
Grooming is an integral part of being a dog. It helps keep them clean and it can help them get rid of loose hair or parasites. As such, it should not surprise you when dogs will groom each other. If anything, it’s a good thing because it establishes friendship and trust.
However, when one dog begins to eat another one’s hair and overdo it, that becomes a problem. Of course, you can scold them, but will probably not work especially if you are dealing with an older dog. Instead, you want to get them into behavioral therapy where they will be trained to stop that habit.
If your dog is eating other dogs’ hair, it’s probably because they are curious. Dogs are naturally curious about everything, and the hair of another dog can be just as interesting as a toy or bone.
Some dogs eat the hair of their own breed or mix, while others like to explore with different breeds. Even if you have two dogs of the same breed, they may not have identical coats, which could lead your dog to try new flavors.
If your dog is eating other dogs’ hair, you’ll want them to stop immediately. If you catch them in the act of chewing on someone else’s fur and scold them firmly, they will probably stop chewing immediately. However, if you’re not around when they start munching away at another dog’s coat, things can get ugly quickly.
If your dog does not stop eating another dog’s hair even after trying scolding or if they continue the habit for several days or weeks, then see your veterinarian for diagnosis and advice on how best to treat them.
Trying to Assert Dominance over the Other Dog
Is your dog trying to assert dominance over the other dog by eating its hair? This is a possibility.
Some breeds are naturally supposed to be more dominant than others. For instance, dog breeds that were traditionally used for hunting and defense tend to be more inclined to assert dominance over dogs that were historically kept for companionship.
Another thing you need to know is that dogs are social animals and they like to mark their territory. This is why you’ll often see them peeing on trees or other objects in your yard. It’s not that they’re marking the tree as their own, it’s just that they’re letting other dogs know “hey, this is my territory.”
If you have multiple dogs living in your home, one of them may be using your other dog’s hair as a way to mark their territory and claim it as their own.
The remedy for this is would be to seek professional help where the dominant dog will be trained and discouraged not to eat other dogs’ hair.
They're Teething (puppies)
One of the reasons why your dog may be so interested in eating another dog’s hair is to relieve the pain of teething. This is particularly true with puppies because they have baby teeth, which are replaced by permanent adult teeth around 6 months or so.
This time can be difficult for them and they may end up chewing on things they wouldn’t normally chew on, like your furniture or another dog’s hair. If you notice that your puppy is chewing more than usual, chances may be that they are just trying to soothe their sore gums.
Something’s Missing from Their Diet
The answer may lie in what’s missing from their diet.
Dogs that eat the hair of other dogs are typically lacking something in their diet. They may be lacking protein, fat, or some other essential nutrient. This is why it is important to feed your dog a well-balanced diet, no matter how many times a day or how much you feed them.
If there is an ingredient missing from their diet, they will instinctively try to find it somewhere else even if that means eating another dog’s hair.
FAQ – frequently asked questions
To wrap things up, here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand more about your dog eating other dogs’ hair.
If home remedies don’t help stop your dog from eating other dogs’ fur, then schedule an appointment with your vet for further diagnosis.
As sophisticated as it is, your dog’s digestive system cannot break down hair. Hair contains keratin, a fibrous protein that’s not digestible. As such, it will simply pass through the system without being digested at all.
Yes, it can. Swallowed hair can cause blockage in the intestines which may ultimately upset their stomach.
Final Thoughts – Summing it up
It’s important to remember that dogs may chew on another dog’s hair for various reasons such as teething, asserting dominance or because something’s missing from their diet.
If not done frequently, it’s not a huge issue, but if it happens too often then the hair can become a blockage in the intestine which may cause the stomach to be upset.
In order to prevent this from happening, you should provide your dog with a balanced diet, pay attention to the signs of teething in puppies, and seek professional help if the problem persists.