Why do they do this? (Veterinarian Question)

It’s the same with my wolf hydrid and my other dogs in the past.

I can take a clump of matted fur that I have just pulled out of their coat and, given the chance, they will eat it on the spot. It’s sort of like they’re saying, “Hey, that’s mine, gimme it back.”

Any explanations for this behavior? Is their some mild reclamation of material or an amount of mineral nutrient that they receive like a spider eating it’s web?

This is one of the few canine quirks I’ve ever witnessed that I am unable to readily explain.

::waits patiently for Cyndar to show up::

PS: Feel free to post other wacky pet behavior here.

Hey Zenster, my boyfriend has a wolf hybrid too, his name is Gandy (the dog, not my BF). I don’t know why dogs will sometimes eat their fur, but I have also seen my cat eat a clump of dog fur! Pretty gross. Gandy sheds in clumps, and he is going through a big shedding phase right now.

I know what you mean. Zen, my wolf hybrid is shedding to beat the band. The back lawn looks like it is edged with “snow” from all of the white fur.

Maybe it’s mainly to do with their being related to wolves. I none of the dogs that I’ve owned try to eat their fur. I would guess that it has to do with hiding their scent, or traces of their presence. That’s just a wild guess, BTW.

Just out of curiousity, do they then cough up hairballs like cats do?

One weird thing my dog does is bury her faeces unless she’s at home. Then she’s quite happy for it to be uncovered. Oh, and she lifts her leg on trees. I thought only male dogs did that.

I have nothing to add except an anecdote about an ex’s male shihtzu that couldn’t (or wouldn’t) lift his leg when peeing. It was quite sad, really… :slight_smile:

I’ve seen this behaviour as well. At my recording studio we have a Chesapeke Bay Retriever (Lexi) and a very large Afgan Hound/freak-of-nature we call Calvin.

Whenever we give Calvin a haircut, Lexi’s right there wanting to eat his hair. Like it tastes good or something.

That’s a darn good supposition about concealing any traces of their presence. And no, Zen doesn’t yak up the big fuzzies, I have my cat to do that. (Division of labor and all that.)

I’m still waiting for Michi’s input on this one.

My PWD does the same thing. (Technically, they’re non-shedding, but they still blow puppy coat.) After I brush her and pull the hair out of the brush, she’ll try to pluck it out of my hand with her mouth.

Sorry, I have to admit that although I have seen this behavior (in cats more than in dogs) I have no idea why they do this.

In some cases it may be pica, but fur eating is such a common thing there has to be other reasons.


My oldest dog will blow his coat twice a year, and there are clumps of hair everywhere when he does. Neither he nor my other dog show any interest, but the cats will have a field day if I don’t keep picking them up. It’s the same when I pull a bunch of hair out of the brush.

I think it’s unlikely that Cecil will react to this one, but you might try some online Ask-the-Vet service, see what they have to say.

My Siberian husky has no interest whatsoever in eating his own fur. I’ve saved enough shed hair, I think I could knit a whole new dog.