My Dog Ate a Tampon – What Should I Do?

Picture of a woman and her dog

It can be a horrifying experience, but many dog parents might have it at one point or the other. Tampons, pads, and a variety of other such personal items can appeal to our canine friends, especially after having been used. That’s because they contain pheromones, and the blood can seem appealing to a partial carnivore like a dog.

In this post, we’ll talk about why tampons can be dangerous for dogs and what you should do if it just so happened that your Fido swallowed one.

Used or unused

As sensitive a topic as this might be, the first thing to find out is whether your dog ingested a used or a new tampon. This matters because as you might know, tampons increase their volume by a lot when they go inside a human body, so they can be extremely dangerous if they are swallowed brand new.

While used tampons are slightly safer, they can still lead to a number of medical problems, especially due to the materials they are made of. The blood itself might not present that many risks, in the end, believe it or not.

Why are tampons so dangerous?

A tampon is manufactured of a variety of fibers, and even if your canine friend swallowed a used one, there could still be some that could create havoc inside your pet’s digestive system. Moreover, it can take up to several days for your dog to show any symptoms.

This, on the one hand, is risky because if you were to notice any clinical signs, you’d take your canine buddy to the vet right away. That would mean that with quick medical assistance, the problem wouldn’t become more severe, and your dog might not end up suffering from an intestinal blockage.

Unused tampons have a much higher likelihood of causing blockages, so you could consider yourself lucky if your dog ate a used one. But even so, there could be a number of issues that they could cause.

Whether they’re new or used, all tampons are dangerous to some extent or the other. Besides their construction and the materials used in the manufacturing process, they can also contain several substances that can be toxic. Some examples are aluminum and dioxin, both of which can cause serious problems.

Dioxin is particularly risky as it can cause cancer and diabetes. Aluminum is neurotoxic. It’s also not uncommon for some tampons to contain traces of alcohol, which is dangerous for the obvious reasons, but some dogs can actually be allergic to it.

Factors that can affect how your dog feels after ingesting the tampon

Your dog’s size is one of the first aspects that can impact what happens after your pooch ate the tampon. If you’re a Shih Tzu owner and your Fido ate several tampons, time is of the essence and you have to take him or her to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

If, on the other hand, you have a large dog breed and your canine friend ate just one used tampon, it might not be as dangerous as in the first situation.

The number of swallowed tampons also influences how many problems they cause. It’s certainly bad if your dog ate a whole pack of tampons, including the plastic wrappers. Plus, if your dog already has enough food and water in his/her stomach, the chance of the tampon passing on smoothly is better, although no one can really guess how that’s going to pan out.

Digestive blockage symptoms

As previously mentioned, it can take up to several days for your dog to show any symptoms if an intestinal blockage is being formed. However, once this happens, you’ll notice the following clinical signs:

A blockage can put your dog’s life in danger, so if you notice any of the symptoms above, you need to take your pooch to the vet clinic right away. This is even truer if you have a hunch that your dog ate a tampon, used or unused, and it’s been a couple of days since this happened.

Treating your dog is going to be different if you decide to wait instead of taking your pooch to the vet right after the ‘tampon experience’. If it’s been 30 minutes since your canine friend ate the tampon, your vet will be able to induce vomiting so that your dog expels the tampon in this way.

If it’s been several days and your dog’s suffering from an intestinal blockage, it’s quite likely that your dog is going to need surgery to have the tampon removed. Which one would you prefer? Keep in mind that the operation can also cost a lot, besides putting your dog’s life at risk.

How to prevent this from happening in the future

Eating women’s underwear, people’s shoes, and chewing on everything in their living environment are behaviors that can occur in dogs that spend a lot of time alone and get bored. But if they have plenty of entertainment opportunities (chew treats and toys) even when you’re out of the house or if they at least have another canine friend to hang out with, they’re going to be less interested in these things.

In general, try to keep your personal care products in cabinets located outside your dog’s reach. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have them locked, either. As for discarding them, make sure that your trash cans are pet-proof and can’t be opened by your pooch.

Don’t hesitate to take your canine buddy to the vet if you suspect that he or she ate a tampon.

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Cristina Vulpe PhD

Cristina Vulpe PhD

With a PhD in Veterinary Oncology, Dr. Cristina Vulpe loves researching and writing about the things that she’s passionate about. These range from animal nutrition and welfare to pet behavior, infectious diseases, and parasitology. In her spare time, she’s always in the company of her cat and a good book.

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