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What To Do If Dog Ate Used Tampons?

Dogs of all ages are notorious for getting into things that they shouldn’t.

Despite there being a tasty bowl of food nearby, most dogs still consider the trash bin to contain the pinnacle of gourmet cuisine.

While pedal-activated trashcans can help keep pets out, some dogs are cunning enough to even open them.

This leaves many dog owners scrambling to keep their dogs from eating things that they shouldn’t.

This is especially true when it comes to used tampons.

Why Would a Dog Eat a Used Tampon

Wanting to put a used tampon anywhere near your mouth is a disgusting and foreign thought to humans.

However, dogs exhibit behaviors like this for a few different reasons.

  • Dogs explore the world through scent and taste.
  • Dogs are natural scavengers.
  • Dogs recognize and gravitate towards your scent.

Because of these factors, your dog may seek out (and eat) things that would be naturally repulsive to most people.

While it may seem bizarre to us, to dogs it’s just hardwired into their brains.

A Common Problem

While you may often hear stories about dogs eating scraps from the trash or even eating their own vomit, you rarely hear about them consuming used tampons.

However, this is actually a common problem and hundreds of people experience it every year.

Although it is common, that doesn’t mean that it’s not dangerous.

Numerous problems can occur if your dog eats a tampon — or other sanitary product — and it’s important that you take the proper steps to ensure that your dog is cared for.

Used is Better Than Unused

While having your dog eat a used tampon instead of an unused one may be disgusting, it can actually be better.

Used tampons are much less likely to cause intestinal blockages due to the blood present.

This is because blood causes the cotton to distend, making it easier to pass.

An unused tampon will swell when in contact with saliva and stomach acid, making it larger and harder to pass uninhibited.

So, while it may be more disgusting, there are some benefits to help you see the bright side of the situation.

What You Should Do When Your Dog Eats a Tampon

Once you’ve realized that your dog has eaten a tampon, you should call your vet as soon as possible.

Watch your dog closely to see if they appear to be in any distress and work with your vet to determine what the best course of action is.

While the blood itself won’t pose a danger to your pooch, the cotton and string can cause choking, intestinal blockages, and lacerations.

Blockages in the digestive tract can prevent fluid, foods, and gas from being able to move normally through your dog’s body.

This can be both painful and life-threatening, as it can restrict blood flow to the intestines, stomach, or esophagus.

If the blockage isn’t treated quickly enough, necrosis can set in, causing tissue death and even more complications.

At its worst, it can even result in death.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that blockages like this won’t necessarily show immediate symptoms, especially further down in the digestive tract.

While choking may be obvious immediately, a blockage in the intestines is not.

Because it can take days for any symptoms to appear, it’s important to constantly monitor your dog for any changes that could signal a problem.

Not All Dogs Will Become Ill

After eating a used tampon, not all dogs will need veterinary aid. Some may not even exhibit any difficulties at all.

While these dogs are lucky, it doesn’t mean that you should assume your dog will be okay.

Many dogs do still have complications, making monitoring them the most important thing you can do.

Contributing Factors

When it comes to discerning the amount of danger your dog is in, there are a few factors to consider.

  • The Size of Your Dog: Larger dogs will be able to pass used tampons much more easily than smaller dogs due to their intestinal tracts being larger.
  • What They’ve Eaten Recently: If your dog has consumed a lot of water, fiber, and fat lately, the tampon will be more likely to pass through quickly.
  • How Many Tampons Your Dog Ate: The best-case scenario is that only one was eaten. However, if multiple tampons were consumed, the danger can be far greater.

Keep in mind that even if you have a large dog who eats a fiber-rich diet and only ate one tampon, there can still be complications.

Symptoms and Vet Care

When monitoring your dog, keep an eye out for symptoms that can include:

  • Vomiting and dry-heaving
  • Abdominal swelling and sensitivity
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Unusual movements

Any of these symptoms can be signs that a blockage has occurred and that your dog needs immediate attention.

What Your Vet Can Do

Once you take your dog to the vet, they will likely try to locate where the tampon is settled and if there is a blockage.

This can include x-rays and an endoscopy depending on the situation.

If the tampon is still in the stomach, a vet can use an emetic to induce vomiting and try to remove the tampon that way.

However, if it is creating a blockage further in the intestines, surgery can be required.

Keeping Your Dog Away from Tampons

If your dog has eaten a used tampon, you’ll want to make sure they never do it again.

Regardless of if it passed smoothly or not.

To prevent this, try to always keep your bathroom door shut tight or invest in a pet-proof trashcan that’s specially designed to keep even the most adventurous dogs out.

You can also try putting your bin in a place where your dog can’t reach it.

By taking steps like this, you can help ensure that your pet is unable to ingest any tampons ever again.

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National Canine Research Association of America