Why Does My Dog Eat His Shedded Fur

Why Does My Dog Eat His Shedded Fur?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

If your dog starts pulling his hair off to eat it, check with a vet to see if he’s suffering from parasites, allergies, or other skin problems. If your vet rules out these conditions, you’re probably suffering from a behavior problem, like boredom or separation anxiety.

The purpose of this article is to explain “Why Does My Dog Eat His Shedded Fur?“.

What does your dog do when you try to make him look nice and clean? Starts chasing every last hair on the bathroom floor gulping it down as if it were a treat? Do you think this is normal?

Why Does My Dog Eat His Shedded Fur

This is dangerous isnot it?

Is it possible to prevent your dog from eating his own shed fur?  The purpose of this article is to examine all the possible causes of this odd behavior as well as how to remedy it.

What makes a dog eat his shredded fur?

To begin with this problem is more common than you might think so theres no need to be alarmed.

Some veteran pet parents have observed this behavior with most of their dogs and while it is a disturbing sight to watch it did not cause any significant health problems for their pets.

What is it about shredded fur that appeals to us?

Cleaning instinct

Involuntarily your dog will ingest some hair if he spends a lot of time grooming himself. The dog will be tempted to do the same thing if he sees his fur on the floor or on the brush.

Even though its still their hair the smell triggers their instinct to clean! I’m saying ‘Thanks for getting rid of all that hair for me but I’ll handle it myself.’

Maybe they are not interested in selling it because it is theirs.


When you observe this behavior in a puppy it is clearly influenced by curiosity. Its not unusual for a puppy to explore the floor because its covered in loose hairs that move in bizarre patterns.

The hair is also light enough to be blown away by the slightest movement which makes it easy to catch. The puppy may be too young to have developed grooming instincts but the instinct to chase is already present.

Survival instinct

The act of eating shed fur is thought to be a survival mechanism for canines as well as cats. According to the theory leaving hair behind would allow a bigger predator to track down a smaller animal.

Basically some dogs prefer to eat their own fur to cover up their traces. The same behavior has been observed in cats so this theory might have some validity.

It is hard to know if what we’re dealing with is related to a survival instinct because there is little evidence that this kind of behavior occurs in the wild.

This habit is unlikely to be traced to instinct as wild animals are not known to carry a nail clipper around and give themselves a pedicure.

Why do dogs pull at their fur and eat it?

A dog eating on his own fur is technically the same thing. However when it comes to a dog actively pulling his hair out the reasons differ quite a bit.


The first thing you should worry about if you notice your dog is furiously biting at his fur and eating clumps of hair is parasites.

Normally dogs will scratch themselves furiously to relieve the itch but if that does not help they will lick themselves raw and pull out their hair. This seems reasonable.

The poor dog thinks theres something crawling around in his fur so the obvious solution is to get rid of the hair.


You might not be aware that your dog has an allergy. Your dog might have an allergy to food or he might be allergic to something in the environment including the shampoo you use to bathe him.

In the same way that parasites can cause itches allergies can trigger them and the dog will try to get to the root of the problem by pulling out his hair. You can change your dogs shampoo and food if you suspect an allergy.


Is a condition in which a person consumes things that do not qualify as food such as dirt paper and paint on the walls.

The Pica virus also affects humans but no explanation has been found for it. It has been speculated that some people eat non-food items because they provide nutrients they are lacking in their diet such as calcium and other minerals. 

The dog will naturally want to eat his shed fur also if he has a compulsive need to bite off his own hair.


Dogs often pull out their hair and eat it for this reason. Its at least something to do. Although it hurts and the dog might develop sore red patches of raw skin at least they have something to do. They can cope with stress and anxiety with this repetitive behavior. People bite their nails for a variety of reasons and some would not stop until their fingers bleed.

It is possible that a dog might bite his hair off because he spends too much time alone or because he has separation anxiety. However such behavior might also indicate a lack of mental stimulation and/or exercise.

Why do dogs eat another pet’s hair?

Do not be surprised if one of your dogs eats the others shed fur if you have two dogs in the house. Most experts are baffled by this phenomenon and the best explanation is that it is a compulsion. Its just something dogs do involuntarily. I do not know if it has something to do with pica or if it has something to do with the pecking order in the household and establishing dominance but its all speculation.

Why do dogs eat human hair off the floor?

The thing is they’re not doing it as a favor to you like cleaning your house after you. The reason is likely due to the fact that the hair smells of you their favorite human and eating it gives them pleasure making them feel close to you. While you’re away he may start picking up random hairs on the floor to keep himself company. Soon as it becomes a habit he will do it every time floor.

What can happen if a dog eats too much hair?

The occasional hair that a dog eats would not cause a problem since it can easily pass through its digestive system and out the other end.

Dogs might however develop a hairball in their stomach if they ingest large quantities of hair. The hairball might have trouble passing through the intestinal tract. If food particles especially fats adhere to the hairball while it sits in the stomach it will only grow bigger.

When a dog has a hairball he will cough and retch as he tries to vomit the mass in his stomach. Your pet might experience diarrhea or constipation if the problem persists and in severe cases it might become lethargic.

You should consult a veterinarian as soon as you observe such symptoms and you know your dog is eating his own fur. Your veterinarian will probably prescribe a laxative.

As a totally gross side note if you notice strands of hair sticking out of your dogs butt while he is trying to poop do not try to help by pulling the hair. By pulling on those hairs you might damage your dogs intestines since you do not know how long those hairs are.

How can you stop a dog from eating his own hair?

Your dog is likely to do it again next time you brush his coat if it happened once so you need to be prepared to deal with it.

A person who could help you dispose of the shredded fur while you groom him would be of great help but the dog might notice what you’re doing and become agitated because you’re taking his hair.

The best thing to do is to gently remove the dog from the room after telling him No. The mess can be cleaned up later. Although a well-trained dog might understand and obey your command begrudgingly if your pet insists that its his right to eat his fur if he feels like it you’d better give him an irresistible treat. Even though some may say bribing a dog is not the way to deal with behavioral issues it works.

When you have finished have an accomplice lure the dog away with a juicy piece of meat or a large bone that will keep him busy for an hour and he’ll forget all about the hair on the floor.


 Shedding hair is a common problem in dogs but you should not be concerned about it. When theres a lot of hair on the ground try to keep your dog from eating it since it might cause a hairball to form in his stomach which can lead to an upset stomach. A hairball that becomes too large may need to be seen by a veterinarian.

Dogs who eat their shed fur as puppies may be able to overcome the problem with good training. You should teach him not to eat fur and give him a soft toy instead.

If your dog starts pulling his hair off to eat it check with a vet to see if hes suffering from parasites allergies or other skin problems. If your vet rules out these conditions you’re probably suffering from a behavior problem like boredom or separation anxiety. You can probably stop your pet from biting off his hair if you solve these problems.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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