While dogs are notorious for getting into all kinds of things, there’s one scenario that definitely sticks out from the rest – what do you do if your dog ate a diaper?
If your dog has eaten of even chewed a bit on a diaper, then you will want to get them to the vet right away. Diaper ingestion is serious business, as it can cause blockage in the intestinal tract, and with commercial diapers you have to worry about absorbent materials and what they can do in your dog’s body!
Today we’re going to tell you a little more diaper ingestion so that you’ll have the information that you need should this scenario arise read on to find out what you need to know about dogs and diapers!
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Toxicity concerns with diapers
Diapers come in different varieties, of course, so let’s start off with cloth diapers. Aside from urine or fecal matter, the cloth can be a choking hazard when your dog chews off some bits and once it gets in the intestines, then it can also cause blockage there, or even become entangled if enough threads are present.
With commercial diapers, the scenario is even more dangerous, because they are designed with absorbent materials which can quickly dehydrate your dog, while also absorbing stomach acid and other bodily fluids. As it absorbs, the material is also going to expand, which further increases the risk of blockage.
Needless to say, if your dog has eaten part of or managed to chew and eat an entire diaper, then the vet needs to become involved right away. The diaper itself will be the primary concern, but if it was a used diaper that was ingested then diarrhea and vomiting may also occur from the bacteria, requiring further treatment.
Diaper ingestion is bad news, but as long as you get your dog to the vet quickly then your vet should be able to quickly get the issue under control. If you see or even suspect ingestion of diaper material, then it’s off to the vet NOW for you and your dog.
How long would it take for toxicity symptoms to show?
Symptoms can show up quickly, or they might even take days or weeks to show up, but you will want to look for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or a noticeable change in your dog’s walk. Lethargy and a loss of appetite are also common and your dog may become very thirsty from the materials absorbing bodily fluids.
If you can’t get your dog to the vet right away, we highly recommend that you contact the ASPCA Poison control line at 888-426-4435. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and holidays, so be sure to put the number in your phone contacts list and scribble it on a note to put on the refrigerator as backup.
Be ready to tell the ASPCA or Vet what type of diaper it was, whether it was used or new, how much was ingested, and when you believe that ingestion occurred. They will ask about symptoms next and should be able to provide helpful information regarding your next steps if you can’t get your dog to the vet right away.
Why do dogs eat diapers, anyways?
With new diapers, it’s often the unfamiliarity of the material, coupled with a dog’s natural inclination to chew – especially with dogs under 2 years of age, as they are not yet mature enough and thus prone to misbehaving when they think that we can’t see them.
With used diapers, while it’s a bit gross to us, it probably has to do with their sense of smell. A dog’s olfactory senses are anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times better than our own, and this makes all kind of things – fecal matter included – smell quite a bite different.
With their super sniffers, the common reasoning is that they can likely smell food that has passed through the body and that this triggers their scavenging instincts, though we don’t have enough data to fully confirm this theory.
It could even be jealousy or curiosity about a new baby in the house. The scents of the new family member are very different and your dog may want to know more about them or might simply be jealous of the time that you are spending with them. Either way, the diapers get sniffed, chewed, and there’s the dilemma.
What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
Your best bet is going to be taking a few ‘preventative maintenance’ steps in order to keep your dog out of the diapers and thus mitigate the risk of reoccurrence. You can purchase diaper bins that are specifically designed to be dog proof, or you can simply move the bin somewhere high or in an area that can be locked.
This should be quite effective, as they won’t be able to get to the diapers, but you can also get into the habit of bagging the used diapers before you put them in a bin as a way to help minimize the smell.
This will help to prevent your dog getting a whiff of them and becoming curious, just in case they get into the trash outside before it can be picked up. Finally, you might also consider crate training, so that you won’t have to worry if you need to leave the house for an hour or two.
This can keep your dog out of a lot of different troubles, especially if they are under 2 years of age. While some dogs seem perfectly well-behaved before turning 2 years old, until they are fully matured there is a much higher chance of getting into trouble when you aren’t around, so a crate is well worth considering.
Some closing words
Today we’ve talked about what to do if your dog ate a diaper and the answer is a simple one – take them to the vet immediately or call the vet or ASPCA if you cannot. Diapers that have been ingested can be potentially lethal, so this is something that you definitely don’t want to wait on.
If this hasn’t happened yet or you want to prevent reoccurrences, then invest in a specialized bin or place the current diaper-bin on a high spot or in a room that you can lock.
Once your dog gets used to having the new baby in the home, things will get easier, but it’s still a good idea to keep a close eye on the diapers. Both you and your dog will be happy that you did!