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Dog Ate A Tampon? What To Do & When To Worry

Dog Ate A Tampon? What To Do & When To Worry

There are few things quite as stressful for a diligent pet owner as when your dog accidentally eats something that they are not supposed to. Whether your dog fished a tampon out of the trash or accidentally snagged an unused one from your bag, it’s a stressful situation.

At some point, plenty of pet owners have been concerned that their pet could be suffering from eating something they shouldn’t have. If your pet eats a tampon (whether it be a used tampon or unused), you’ll have to intervene to help them feel better. 

There’s one thing that is important to keep in mind as you navigate this situation: if possible, try to remain as calm and collected as you can. Dogs are incredibly in tune with their owners’ emotions and can become stressed out easily.

If you want to avoid making an already difficult situation worse, it’s important that you take steps to mask your stress from your pet. Remember: until you know more about the situation, it’s essential not to jump to conclusions regarding your pet’s safety.

It is, however, important that you act quickly and take swift action to get your pet seen by a trusted veterinarian

Today, you are going to learn more about what to do if your pet ate tampons. To begin, you will learn more about if your pet is in danger if they consume a tampon and potential risks for pets that consumed tampons. Following that, read about if wrapped tampons are more hazardous than unwrapped ones. 

Then, get more information about what you should do in a situation where your pet ate a tampon. Continue reading to hear what your vet’s course of treatment for a dog that ate a tampon could be. Lastly, learn how to prevent your pet from consuming a tampon in the first place.

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Is my dog in danger if they ate a tampon?

When your dog eats something that they were not supposed to consume, this is referred to as a “foreign body.” This is anything that your pet eats that isn’t part of a balanced, regular diet for dogs could be considered dangerous.

This is especially true if the object poses a choking hazard — which tampons do. There are also several other reasons why your dog could potentially be in a vulnerable situation as a result of eating a tampon. 

It is essential that, once you know your pet consumed this product, you reach out to a vet as soon as possible. This will allow your pet to get the medical treatment they require in this situation. 

Choking

The first risk that your dog eating a tampon poses is a potential choking hazard. Unfortunately, because of both the size and the shape of a tampon, your pet could be vulnerable. If you hear your pet is choking or coughing and cannot seem to clear their airway, this could indicate that your pet is suffering as a result of this. 

Because choking blocks the flow of air from your dog’s lungs, it’s essential that you get this taken care of immediately. Quick actions can give your pet the best odds of making a full recovery. 

Internal cuts and tears

In addition, there’s always the possibility that a foreign body in your pet’s body will lead to internal cuts and tears. Because your dog’s digestive system is so critical for a variety of functions, you want to ensure that it is not compromised as a result of internal cuts and tears that emerge from your pet consuming a tampon. 

While tampons are soft when they are deployed, if your dog ate a tampon that is in the wrapper, there could be hard plastic around the tampon that would provide an internal cut and tear risk.  

Digestive blockage

Next, it’s possible that a digestive blockage can occur as a result of your dog consuming a tampon. This obstruction could even require surgical removal. Your dog’s digestive system has a variety of roles to complete. An obstruction or blockage means that your pet’s digestive system will be unable to successfully achieve this. That’s why it’s essential that you get your pet to the vet in a timely manner if they consumed a tampon. 

While this type of an obstruction can result in difficulty passing either liquids or solid through your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, it is also possible that your pet will struggle because it could cause parts of the bowels to deteriorate and mean problems for the blood flow.

Are used tampons more dangerous than unused tampons?

This is an excellent question and one that is an essential distinction to make when you are attempting to gauge the severity of the situation at hand. Unused tampons are actually more dangerous for your pet to get their paws on than used tampons are. Because used tampons are already expanded due to liquid that pre-exists on them, your dog will not experience the tampon expanding in their stomach. 

This could make an unused tampon markedly more difficult to pass than a used one. Of course, this is not to say that your pet will not struggle at all to pass an already used tampon.

You should certainly still bring your pet to the vet to get their opinion on what your next steps are, regardless of which type of tampon your pet consumed. However, used tampons are generally considered to be less dangerous.

If an unused tampon often has a hard plastic casing on it, it could be even more difficult for your pet to pass or lead to lacerations along the dog’s digestive tract. This is yet another reason why unused tampons pose a greater risk for a dog than used ones do. 

What should I do if my dog ate a tampon?

If your dog ate a tampon, you might be unsure of how to proceed. It’s important that you take action quickly to give your pet the best chances of recovering fully from this unfortunate incident.

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Here’s what you need to do if your pet ate a tampon:

Talk to a vet

The most important step that you can take is to call your vet in a timely manner. Vets have years of training and experience and will know what to advise you. You can even try Pawp's online vets for free. They will tell you if you should monitor your pet at home, get an x-ray, or bring them in for potential surgery as soon as possible.

Pawp’s veterinarians are accessible from anywhere, at any time. Pawp’s 24/7 online telehealth visits never have a wait, and there’s no appointment necessary. 

Closely monitor your dog

Next, keep a close eye on your pet to ensure that if anything changes or new symptoms emerge, you will be able to get the help that your animal needs in a timely manner. 

Keep an eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, which usually indicates something is amiss with your pet’s digestive system. Other signs include difficulties with urinating, defecating, reluctance to eat, or an inability to sit down, lie down, or walk properly. 

According to Pawp veterinarian Dr. Sylvalyn Hammond, “Tampons are an unfortunately common cause of intestinal blockage in canines. The first signs of blockage are typically vomiting and anorexia. Some dogs will experience diarrhea at first, but typically fecal production will cease altogether, as nothing is moving through.” 

What will the vet do?

What your vet decides is the best course of action will depend on how long ago your pet ate the tampon as well as any symptoms. They’ll likely use an X-ray to get a better gauge of what is going on. In some cases, induced vomiting could be potentially helpful. In others, surgery will be necessary to remove the blockage from your pet’s belly. 

How can I prevent my dog from eating a tampon?

If your dog already ate a tampon once, you likely want to work to ensure that you do not have a repeat experience — or a repeat vet bill as a result of another tampon consumption incident.

Here’s what you need to know about how you can prevent your furry friend from eating any more tampons. 

Close your bathroom door

First, you should make it a habit to close your bathroom door where your pet likely got access to the tampon originally.

Along with this, you should make sure that, in case your dog does sneak into the bathroom, the tampons are high up enough that they’re not reachable for your pet. You can also put them behind a closed medicine cabinet so your pet is not privy to these. 

Buy a pet-proof trash can

Proper disposal of menstrual hygiene products is critical. Your next step is to buy a trash can that is pet-proof and doesn’t have an uncovered top so your pet can not stick their nose into the garbage can. You can consider a covered trash can or one that you have to press down with your foot in order to successfully open. There are options on the market, so select the best one for you. 

Put used tampons in a zipped plastic bag

Lastly, if you do have used tampons, you can put them in a plastic, zipped bag when you put them in the trash can. This will ensure that, even if your dog does accidentally get into the trash, they will have significantly lower chances of getting into a zipped plastic bag, too. 

Talk to a vet for free now

Stop Googling. Get a vet's opinion on it.

Vet on a video chat with a gray cat

Think ahead and then think quickly

If you are concerned that your dog consumed a tampon and are unsure what your next steps are, you can always reach out to Pawp.

Pawp’s trained, experienced vets will be able to advise you on the next steps for your dog. They can help not only in emergency situations but for care throughout your pet’s life. 

DOG ATE TAMPON SOURCES: 

Radiography (X-ray) | UCDavis School of Veterinary Medicine  

Common Household Dangers to Your Pets | Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University 

Digestive System of the Dog | WSU  

CPR and Heimlich Maneuver on Pets | Texas A & M University 

Gastrointestinal foreign bodies in dogs and cats: a retrospective study of 208 cases | NIH 

Gastric and intestinal surgery | NIH  

The Significance of the X-Ray in Veterinary Medicine | Iowa State University 

Menstrual Hygiene, Management, and Waste Disposal: Practices and Challenges Faced by Girls/Women of Developing Countries | NIH 

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