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My Dog Ate a Condom! What Should I Do?

Some dogs will eat almost anything—and some breeds are less discerning than others—but if your dog ate a condom, you might have decided that is simply a “bridge too far.”

So what exactly would possess a dog to eat a condom?

And what should you do if or when this happens?

These are the questions we will explore in more detail in the article below.

More specifically, here we will outline all the potential reasons why a dog might eat a condom, discuss the inherent risks of this act and the symptoms that might confirm it, and explain the pertinent actions you should take when something like this happens.

The Reasons Your Dog Might Eat a Condom

If your dog ate a condom, whether in your direct presence or discreetly, your first reaction is probably one of disgust.

This, of course, is a natural and well-deserved reaction.

The mere thought of something like this happening is just gross and repulsive to consider, but the truth is that it does happen and is more likely in certain breeds than it is in others.

Once the repugnant thought of your dog eating a condom has worn off, the next step is to determine the potential reasons for this conduct to hopefully prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Although the exact cause for this behavior cannot always be determined, experts know there are certain reasons why this non-food consumption might occur.

So without further ado, here are just come of the reasons why your dog might have opted to eat a condom:

  • Color.  Sometimes, the color of an object might tempt a dog into sampling it.  Just like babies and toddlers must be watched closely around colorfully-packaged items (think Tide pods) to ensure they don’t eat them, so too do dogs.  Objects, including some condom brands, that come in attractive packaging, can be mistaken for food items like treats.  This can be especially true if the color of the condom’s packaging is similar to that of their common treats.  For this reason, vividly-colored items should be kept out of your pooch’s reach.
  • Smell and taste.  As you probably already know, the aroma of something can be a very powerful attractant for dogs.  Many condom brands are treated with chemicals that give off a sweet aroma—a smell that can be too irresistible for a dog to pass up.  Smell is also strongly related to taste.  Some of these same chemicals and additives that are present in condoms to make them smell good, also give off a sweet or flavorful taste.  This can cause dogs to sample the object, if not consume it in its entirety.

While color, smell and taste can all potentially cause a dog to eat a condom, there is another possible reason for the behavior—a reason known as “pica.”

So what exactly is pica and what causes it in dogs?

Pica is a type of behavioral disorder in canines that causes them to ingest non-food items.

These items can range from rocks, sticks and even dirt, to paper and colorful plastics, such as those that are used to wrap condoms.

Important to note here is that pica is NOT simple chewing.

Many dogs, especially those plagued with anxiety problems, can be problem chewers, mangling and destroying everything from shoes to household items to furniture.

No, pica is the actual “eating” of non-food items, and for dogs who suffer from the condition, the consequences of this behavior can be quite severe.

Most experts agree on some of the potential causes for pica in canines, although the exact cause for every dog will vary.

Among other conditions, pica can be a side effect of malnutrition (not getting enough real food to eat or not getting the recommended nutritional requirements) or a vitamin deficiency.

It is also more common in larger dogs with a big appetite, especially some in the retriever category.

Other conditions that can bring about pica in dogs include:

  • Diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2
  • Thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
  • Parasites—especially those who feed on undigested food in the intestinal tract
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Anemia
  • Certain neurological conditions (for example, pica is more common in dogs who have suffered a stroke).

The Risks and Symptoms of a Dog Eating a Condom

Of course, eating a condom is not good for your dog’s health, but it is not necessarily a tragedy either.

For instance, if you have a large-breed dog that eats a single common, whether or not that condom is still in the packaging, chances are the dog will pass the foreign body in its stool a day or two later.

The risk occurs if the dog fails to pass the condom.

In more severe cases, a condom that is ingested can become lodged in a dog’s intestinal tract.

Smaller dogs are more at risk for this potential occurrence.

When this happens, it can prevent your pet from eliminating waste, causing a blockage that must immediately be addressed (see the next section).

Blockages within the intestinal tract can result in a number of unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Loss of appetite.  Intestinal blockages can make it difficult to take in food.
  • Bowel difficulties.  Diarrhea and especially constipation can happen after a dog eats a condom it fails to pass.
  • Vomiting.  Unable to pass waste, a dog may vomit, with or without blood, when an intestinal blockage is present.
  • Lack of energy.  Bowel and intestinal blockages can cause your dog to become extremely lethargic and fatigued.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Condom

If your dog ate a condom, and you feel panic setting in, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath.

Although the action certainly has the potential to cause health problems, in many cases the situation will resolve itself.

As we said in the previous section, in many (if not most) cases, an ingested condom will find its way out via your dog’s stool.

However, it is crucial that you monitor your dog’s potty sessions to ensure this safe passage.

In addition to closely watching your dog’s stool for the presence of the condom; you should also pay close attention to his eating habits and energy levels.

If your pup refuses to eat, consumes less than normal, or seems unusually lethargic, it could be a sign that the condom is stuck in the stomach or intestines.

If vomiting, diarrhea or constipation occurs, it is vital that you immediately take your dog to the nearest vet for a checkup.

Things can go from bad to worse very fast in these situations, so time is of the essence.

Finally, you will need to take steps to ensure this behavior does not continue.

Always keep condoms (and other potentially attractive items) out of your dog’s reach, and never underestimate their intelligence, determination and creativity for getting access to the things they want.

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National Canine Research Association of America