Dogs love to munch on weird things to interact with their world. Unfortunately, they sometimes can consume disgusting items; the most common is tampons. If anything, used tampons are more intriguing to Fido’s nose. Gross! But not so for your canine pal.
If your canine companion snagged a tampon from your bag, the bathroom, or trash can, you’d need to read this piece.
Why Do Dogs Eat Tampons?
Well, before you think your dog has vampire tendencies, which might be a believable explanation for this gross habit, this isn’t the case.
Visual stimuli largely influence our perception, but our canines are driven by odors and scents, considering they have 50 times more olfactory cells than we do. So when your dog is stressed, anxious or bored, they look for excitement using their noses and sniff out bizarre things, including tampons.
What Happens If My Dog Eats a Tampon?
Anything your furry friend eats outside its regular diet can be considered dangerous, including tampons.
Tampons are made of plastic or cotton and are designed to safely stay in the body for hours. Applicators are also made of cardboard or plastic, meaning both the tampon and applicator are not digestible. Also, tampons contain materials that can be toxic to dogs, including artificial fibers, alcohol, dioxin, and aluminum.
Your dog’s tampon-eating behavior could put it at risk of suffering from health complications. You must reach out to your vet for guidance once you know your canine companion has consumed a tampon.
This will ensure your pup gets prompt medical treatment and the best chance of making a swift recovery.
Here are the health risks of your canine-eating tampons.
The size and shape of a tampon, especially the string and cotton fibers, make it a potential choking hazard if consumed by your furry friend.
If your dog has swallowed a tampon and is coughing or gasping for air, it indicates that Fido might have difficulties breathing. When your dog is choking, there’s restricted airflow to the lungs, and quick action is vital to save your dog’s life.
Obstruction or Blockage
Digestive obstruction or blockage will likely occur if Fido gobbled on a tampon. An obstruction along your pup’s digestive tract will interfere with the movement of food and fluids and even cut blood flow to the stomach, esophagus, or small intestines. This can cause necrosis (permanent tissue damage), leading to more fatal complications, including death.
Obstruction or blockage in the bowel will typically cause pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting within 24 and 72 hours of your pup swallowing a tampon. Your canine will quickly become dehydrated and unable to keep down fluids or food.
Remember that tampons are highly absorbent and will dry out the GI lining when stuck, causing damage or a fatal infection known as peritonitis.
Internal Tears and Cuts
If your pup swallowed a tampon with the wrapper on and an applicator, the plastic could cause internal cuts and tears. This can lead to excessive blood loss, infection, pain, bloody diarrhea, and damage to internal organs.
Used vs. Unused Tampons. Which is More Dangerous for Dogs?
Whether Fido consumes used or unused tampons, you should call your vet immediately. An unused tampon outside of the wrapping could potentially expand in your pup’s tummy leading to blockage.
If your furry friend consumes an unused tampon inside the cardboard or with the plastic applicator, it could have lacerations in the digestive tract.
Although bumping on your dog munching on used tampons can leave you squeamish, there’s a good side: Unlike unused tampons, used tampons are less likely to cause intestinal blockage or obstruction. The blood causes the cotton fibers to distend, while the new tampon will balloon when in contact with your dog’s fluids and stomach acid.
How Long Does it Take My Dog to Pass Out a Tampon?
If your furry friend is lucky, they may immediately vomit the tampon back up or pass it out within 2-5 days. But there’s always the risk of life-threatening complications depending on these factors.
- The size of your dog: Larger dogs have wider intestinal tracts and can easily pass foreign objects, including tampons, compared to smaller dogs. For instance, a pug is at higher risk of digestive blockage from ingesting tampons compared to a Great Dane.
- The number of tampons consumed: A single tampon is more likely to pass through the intestines smoothly compared to a dozen. It’s essential to try and approximate how many tampons your dog has consumed. If you’re unsure how many were in the trash can, you can check what’s remaining in the box.
Note: If the tampon is visible on your canine’s butt, do not attempt to pull it out. This is extremely dangerous as it can compact the intestines and cause blockage, which will require surgery and can be fatal. Instead, cut off the exposed section with scissors and consult your vet.
The rest of the tampon can come out by itself through your canine’s natural digestion process, but if it doesn’t, your pup will need emergency treatment.
Help! My Dog Ate a Tampon. What Can I Do?
If your canine companion consumes a tampon, you’d need to take fast action to prevent any life-threatening condition. Be on the lookout for any behavior changes and symptoms such as:
- Vomiting, retching, or nausea
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty defecating or urinating
- Inability to walk, lie down or sit properly
Even with no symptoms, phone your vet for guidance. They will help you identify the risks and next action. Also, do not attempt to pull out any visible string or induce vomiting without your vet’s approval.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Eating Tampons
If you’ve witnessed the unfortunate experience of your dog eating tampons, you’ll want to avoid a repeat by all means. Here’s what you can do to keep your furry friend from munching on tampons.
1. Shut Your Bathroom Door
Ensure you keep your bathroom door closed at all times to prevent your dog from scavenging on your tampons. Also, ensure your tampons are stashed away in a locked cabinet or high up out of your pet’s reach.
2. Invest in a Pet-Proof Can
You must dispose of your menstrual hygiene products safely and securely. Pet-proof trash can like the iTouchless automatic stainless steel trash can prevents your dog from sticking its jaws and paws into your garbage.
Alternatively, you can get a trash can with a secure lid or one with a press-down foot pedal.
3. Use a Dog-repellant
Apply dog-repellant spray around the rim of your trash can to keep off your furry friend from scouring through your trash. A good option is the Four Paws Keep Off! Spray.
4. Use a Zipped Plastic Bag
You can use a plastic zipper bag to stash used tampons before disposing of them in the trash can. This way, if your furry friend accidentally digs into your trash can, they’ll have a lower chance of accessing them.
Sometimes our four-legged friends do silly things like swallowing tampons. If your dog ate a tampon, you must seek prompt vet assistance as it can lead to life-threatening conditions and a hefty vet bill. You must also find ways to discourage this habit to prevent future reoccurrences.