As many dog owners know, some dogs just can’t resist eating all sorts of strange things. Often this can be no big deal, but other times, they may eat something that creates a serious cause for concern, such as when they eat a tampon. So, what should you do if your dog ate a tampon?
If your dog eats a tampon, contact a local veterinarian immediately. Sometimes, a dog may be able to pass a tampon with no issues. In other cases, it may cause an intestinal blockage and lead to medical complications such as constipation, low blood circulation, and the inability to eat or drink.
We will begin by discussing the possible injuries and medical complications resulting from your dog swallowing a tampon.
Next, we will go over what you should do if you find that your dog has swallowed a tampon and who to contact for help.
Lastly, we will provide a few suggestions on how to prevent your dog from eating a tampon or how to avoid it happening again in the future.
What Happens If a Dog Eats a Tampon?
Believe it or not, it is somewhat common for dogs to find a tampon in a wastebasket, the garbage, or lying around the house and ingest it.
When a dog swallows a tampon, the health effects can range between the two extreme ends of the spectrum.
In some instances, your dog may simply pass the tampon through its stool and go on about its life as if nothing ever happened. But other times, the swallowing of a tampon can lead to health complications that result in permanent injury and even death.
If you find out that your dog has swallowed a tampon, always approach the situation with the utmost seriousness and concern. Never just assume that your dog will pass it and be fine. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
Did the Dog Eat a Used or Unused Tampon?
Before we delve into the specific ailments that can result from your dog eating a tampon, we must make one final distinction. Whether the swallowed tampon in question was used will play a role in the severity of the situation.
A used tampon is generally less dangerous than an unused one for your dog because the blood of a used tampon has already largely saturated the cotton. In the case of a new, unused tampon, the cotton will begin to absorb vital fluids inside your dog’s stomach and will also expand and swell in size, making it harder to pass.
Now that we have provided a brief overview of the severity of the situation, we can discuss these potential medical issues in greater detail.
The first and most obvious risk is that tampons pose a choking hazard to your dog when eaten.
Because of the shape, material, and the fact that they have a string on them, tampons are very easy for your dog to choke on. So, your dog’s airway may become either partially or completely blocked as he chokes on a tampon.
For everything you need to know about saving your dog from choking, see this article by Vets-now.com.
The biggest risk of your dog ingesting a tampon is that it either tears or cuts internal tissues or forms a blockage in the digestive system.
If the tampon cannot be passed and instead forms a blockage, this can cut off the body’s ability to receive water, nutrients, and even proper blood circulation. This can also lead to dehydration, constipation, and extreme discomfort to the point of pain.
The worst part about this is that if your dog does develop a blockage in its intestinal tract due to swallowing a tampon, it may take a few days before you begin to notice the signs that something is wrong.
By this time, it will be difficult to figure out that your dog swallowed a tampon and causally connect the two things.
If you notice that your dog is not eating, drinking water, urinating, or defecating, or you notice that it is unable to sit, lay down, or walk properly, seek veterinary medical advice immediately. Vomiting and rejecting food is another sign that there is something wrong with your dog’s digestive system that requires professional consultation.
It may take a stomach x-ray to learn that your dog swallowed a tampon.
As mentioned earlier in this article, in some cases, your dog will be lucky enough to simply pass the tampon through its digestive system with no damage or blockage occurring.
If this is the case, you have gotten very lucky. However, it is still very important to monitor your dog’s behavior for some time following this incident. Watch closely, in particular, its eating and digestive habits.
If you ever see blood in the stool or urine, contact a veterinarian immediately.
What To Do When Your Dog Has Eaten a Tampon
So, you notice that your dog has eaten a tampon, but it hasn’t choked and has successfully swallowed it. What do you do now?
The first thing to do is to contact a veterinarian immediately and follow whatever advice they offer. They will likely take into consideration the size of the dog and any symptoms they may be presenting.
Because tampons are inedible, they pose much more of a threat than something like your dog eating food from the trash or a bag of chips (although there are people foods that can be toxic to dogs, too).
A veterinarian will likely advise you to bring your dog in to have them screened and checked out in person. If the event occurs outside of normal business hours, contact and emergency vet. If you cannot successfully reach an all-hours vet, monitor your dog very closely until the morning.
What to Do if Your Dog Partially Passes a Tampon
We know of a case where a dog ate a tampon, digested it, and then partially passed it, leaving part of the tampon visible outside of their butt, still attached to the part inside. If this occurs, DO NOT TRY TO PULL THE TAMPON OUT!
Trying to pull out a partially eliminated tampon (or other long objects like strings or fabric threads) can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. If the other end of the tampon or string is still up in the dog’s intestine, pulling it can compact the intestine accordian-style and cause a blockage — which usually needs surgery and has the potential to be fatal.
If part of the tampon is hanging out of the dog’s butt, cut off that exposed portion with a scissors and consult with your vet. It may just be a matter of time before the rest of it comes out through the dog’s natural digestion process, but if not, you’ll need the vet’s assistance.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating a Tampon
Dogs are very clever and can get into places that you would not think they are capable of.
To prevent your dog from eating a tampon, never leave them lying around on countertops, the floor, or anywhere low enough for your dog to jump up and grab them. Many dogs enjoy chewing and eating paper and cotton products (the toilet paper roll is a favorite), and tampons are no exception.
The most common place that a dog will find and ingest a tampon is the trash can. This is why it is important to only use trash cans with a securely closing lid that cannot be easily opened such as the iTouchless stainless electronic garbage can.
Dogs do not consider the long-term ramifications of eating things that they are not supposed to, and they are also very curious animals by nature. This is a bad combination for a dog owner who has a tendency to leave things around in easy to reach places.
We are all guilty of this bad habit from time to time, but all too often, we do not consider our actions until it is too late.
Keeping things locked away will prevent your animals from harmful accidents, so if you think there is any chance they may get something, it is always better to move it and remove the chance.
It is always easier to prevent an occurrence than to deal with it after the fact.
What if My Dog Ate a Tampon Applicator?
If your dog ate a tampon applicator and not a tampon, it is generally a less dangerous situation. While the small plastic piece can be a choking hazard, it likely will pass through your dog’s digestive tract.
There’s always the chance that is can obstruct the intestine, but that usually won’t happen with a piece the size of a tampon applicator unless it’s a very small dog.
If your dog eats a tampon applicator, monitor them closely for symptoms such as constipation, lack of appetite, and lethargy, and contact a vet immediately if any symptoms are present. And keep an eye out for the tampon applicator in their stool.
We’ve given you a quick and direct explanation of what to do if your dog ate a tampon. The first thing to do is understand the damage that a tampon can cause to your dog’s body. If your dog has eaten a tampon, call a veterinarian immediately and consult them for professional advice on how to handle the situation.
The signs of a problem may take multiple days to appear, so always monitor your dog closely and act proactively.