Eating Lint and Dog Hair

Updated on July 05, 2008
T.C. asks from Willington, CT
8 answers

I have an 18 month old son. Despite my efforts to keep a clean house, there are still bits of dog hair and lint periodically around my house. My son used to pick it up and hand it to me. I always thanked him. For no apparent reason, he is now trying to put it into his mouth. I don't believe that he's hungry, but could he be doing this for attention? I find this behavior bizarre.

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L.Q.

answers from Boston on

Kids love to put things in their mouths it is totally normal. My son would pick things up off the floor and hand them to me too most of the time other times he'd put it in his mouth. Nothing to worry about!

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T.L.

answers from Boston on

toddler mouth + stuff = stuff in toddler mouth

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P.N.

answers from Boston on

Sounds like typical toddler behavior to me. I really wouldn't be concerned about pica. Aren't they still in the oral phase at this age, that's how they explore.

My DD was doing that for a while. She did it occasionally and whether or not I was watching (so not doing it for attention). When she did it when she didn't know I was watching her, she'd have this kind of "hmm, that's interesting" look on her face, so it was clearly just checking it out. If she did it when I was looking I just said "we don't eat that" and didn't make a big deal about it.

She's 20 mos old now and doesn't do it anymore. It was just a phase, like every other behavior that seems pretty weird to us adults. :)

R.B.

answers from Boston on

He could be doing it for attention... or he has a condition known as PICA, which is when people have the craving or desire to eat non-edible things. Not sure if your son is too young for that sorta condition, but most likely he's just testing it out... or trying to get attention?? How did you react the first time - was he interested in how you reacted possibly?

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J.S.

answers from Springfield on

It's not attention OR pica. It's normal toddler behavior. That's what they do. They put things in their mouths. Don't make a big deal, just say, "Ick, not for babies," and take it away.

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J.H.

answers from Portland on

Just experimenting and I noticed at this age they put everything in their mouth!!! Don't think its bizarre,just a stage.Unfortunatly you won't be able to get rid of all the dog hair unless u get rid of the dog.

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M.S.

answers from Boston on

Hi T.,

Like others have said, it could be for attention. But I have a nephew who used to eat lint as well. He especially loved to eat the fur off of stuffed animals and even the stuffing. His pediatrician said it was due to vitamin deficiency. It wouldn't hurt to mention it at your son's next visit.

M.

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S.F.

answers from Bangor on

Let me just start off by saying, you're not alone! We've always had pets (dogs and cats) and no matter how often I sweep I can always pull up a pile of dog fur!

I would say he's trying to eat it out of curiousity. It could be that he realizes that the dog "eats" it when s/he grooms (cats are more likely to though) and wants to see what all the fuss is about. I found that with my son if I said something like "no, yucky" he would think it was the funniest thing in the world and keep doing it to hear me say "no, yucky" - that was frustrating! It finally worked just taking it from him and giving him something more appropriate for him to have in his mouth (not food though, he was into straws, so I would give him a straw).

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L.Q.

answers from Boston on

Kids love to put things in their mouths it is totally normal. My son would pick things up off the floor and hand them to me too most of the time other times he'd put it in his mouth. Nothing to worry about!

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