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Check for These Signs
Abdominal pain is by far the most common problem reported by pet owners. Since dogs can’t really digest the material that sponges are made out of, they’ll usually experience discomfort until they’re able to get rid of all the foreign matter.
Severe abdominal pain can be a sign of peritonitis, which is a serious form of intestinal inflammation. This is a medical emergency and needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Natural sea sponges aren’t normally toxic to dogs, but these are often used for a variety of household cleaning tasks. As a result, there’s a good chance that your dog might start to exhibit some kind of symptoms relatively shortly after ingesting one.
Since sponges are usually chunky and can’t be broken apart easily by dogs, there’s also a high probability that your dog might start to choke. Assuming that you can safely do so, make sure to remove any visible matter from their mouth as soon as your dog starts to wretch.
Your dog’s reaction will depend on the type of sponge that he or she ate. Assuming that your dog ate a regular commercial-grade sponge, you might notice any of the following:
- Choking: Small bits of sponge may get caught in the throat
- Vomiting: Your dog may try to purge the sponge soon after eating it
- Diarrhea: If your dog ate a wet sponge with detergent on it, then it might impact their bowel movements
- Foaming at the Mouth: Sponges that have come into contact with cosmetics might cause your dog to foam
- Chunky Stool: Bits of sponge may pass through your dog’s digestive tract and out in a single piece
- Constipation: Smaller dogs may be unable to pass sponge material
- Laziness: Sponges are heavy compared to food, which could make your dog feel full for some time
See if you can figure out what the sponge your dog was chewing on has come into contact with. There’s a good chance that whatever substance it might have touched is actually more hazardous to your dog than the sponge itself.
What to Do
Take away the sponge and remove any material from your dog’s mouth and teeth that you can. Your dog may try to clamp down, so you’re going to want to be careful.
Most dogs don’t really like the taste of sponge, so you should be able to get most of the foreign matter out of their jaws before they actually swallow any of it. If you catch a dog who is eating a sponge, then chances are that he or she was actually just trying to chew on it and swallowed some accidentally.
Don’t make this seem too much like a game. Your dog probably already thinks that he or she is having fun with a new toy, so you don’t want to do anything that would encourage this behavior.
Talk to your dog in a calming tone and then remove the material. Watch your dog’s stools over the next few days to see if they’re able to go properly.
Dogs who swallow any significant amount of spongy material will usually pass it in their stools. Some dogs may have problems doing so.
Do I Need to See the Vet or Go to the Emergency Animal Hospital?
You’re going to want to call your vet if your dog has developed any serious symptoms since he or she ate part of a sponge. Call them if your dog is constipated or has diarrhea as well.
If your dog is still experiencing normal bowel movements and doesn’t seem to have any significant abdominal pain, then there’s a good chance that they haven’t been impacted too much by any sponge they might have eaten. Sponges themselves usually aren’t toxic to dogs, especially if they’re natural ones.
On the other hand, you’ll want to get on the line with a vet’s office or an emergency animal hospital if you have any reason to believe your dog consumed something else along with the sponge. The small sponges used in cosmetic compacts are often considered among the worst as far as this goes because they might pick up some of the additives and pigments used in cosmetics.
Safe Alternatives to Eat or Play With
Few dogs would ever want to eat a sponge, so giving your dog any normal food that’s safe for canine consumption should be more than enough to distract them when sponges are around. Usually, the only reason dogs mess with sponges is because they’re chewy and therefore fun to play with.
Giving your dog a purpose-made organic or vinyl dog toy will help to reduce the risk that he or she would ever want to take out any frustrations on a sponge. These are usually more fun to chew on anyway, which means dogs will find them far more valuable.
If your dog has a penchant for finding soft chewy material like sponges to chew on, then you might want to consider investing in a cloth dog toy. Some companies now make dedicated toys with no stuffing, which can satiate dogs with these interests while keeping them safe.
Can Dogs Eat Sponges?
No, dogs cannot eat sponges nor should they ever be permitted to. Place all sponges and other soft materials that are unsafe for canine consumption far out of your dog’s reach.
Considering the fact that both organic and inorganic sponges have very little taste and only a light odor, most dogs are completely uninterested in eating them. They’ll usually just chew on them to relieve tension or boredom.
By providing more appropriate toys to keep your dog occupied, you shouldn’t run into this issue. You especially want to keep away spongy packing material and anything else that might seem chewy to a dog but has preciously come into contact with any kind of foreign material.