While pet parenting has many rewards, it can also be stressful—especially when your furry friend gets their paws on something they're not supposed to.
Whether your dog found a tampon in the trash or snagged one from your bag, it can certainly be a nerve-wracking experience to learn that your pup consumed one.
If your dog ate a tampon, it's necessary to intervene to help prevent possible complications. Acting quickly can make a big difference in your pet's wellbeing.
Read on to learn what can happen if your dog eats a tampon, what to do if it happens, and how to prevent it in the future.
Is my dog in danger if they ate a tampon?
Anything that your pet eats that isn’t part of a balanced, regular diet could be considered dangerous—tampons included.
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's 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 need and give them the best chance of making a speedy recovery.
While this list is not exhaustive, here's what can happen if your dog ate a tampon.
Due to both the size and the shape of a tampon, your pet could be vulnerable to choking. If it sounds like your dog is gasping for air or coughing and cannot seem to clear their airway, this is a strong indication that your dog is choking on the tampon.
Choking blocks the flow of air from your dog’s lungs, so it’s essential that you get this taken care of immediately. Quick action can give your pet the best odds of making a full recovery.
Digestive tract injuries
There's also the possibility that a tampon in your pup's digestive tract could 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's not compromised as a result of eating the tampon.
While tampons are soft outside of the applicator, if your dog ate a tampon that is still in the wrapper or applicator, the plastic around the tampon could present an internal cut and tear risk.
Digestive blockage can also occur if your dog swallowed a tampon. An obstruction or blockage means that your pet’s digestive system will be unable to function properly, resulting in nothing being able to move through the gut.
This may require surgical treatment, however, a veterinarian will be able to provide the best course of action for your dog after a thorough examination and risk assessment.
Are used tampons more dangerous than unused tampons?
The severity of the situation depends on several factors, but regardless of whether your dog ate a used or unused tampon, you should talk to a vet immediately.
An unused tampon that was outside of the applicator could potentially expand in your dog's stomach, resulting in a high risk for blockage. An unused tampon still inside of a plastic or cardboard applicator could lead to cuts and damage to the digestive tract.
A used tampon can also lead to digestive upset and blockages, even if the risk is slightly less due to it already having expanded somewhat.
Used or unused, you don't want a tampon lingering in your dog's body.
What should I do if my dog ate a tampon?
If your dog ate a tampon, the sooner you take action, the better the outcome will be for your dog.
Throughout the process, try to remember to remain as calm as possible. Dogs are incredibly in tune with their pet parents' emotions and can become stressed out easily.
Here’s what you need to do if your dog ate a tampon:
Talk to a vet
The most important step that you can take is to call a vet immediately.
If it's the weekend or middle of the night and you can't get into a vet, chat with a Pawp vet online. They can help you understand the best next step to take, whether it's monitoring your dog at home or taking them to an emergency vet for a physical exam.
Closely monitor your dog
Keep a close eye on your pup to observe any changes or new symptoms emerging. Take notes so you can give the vet as much information as possible.
Keep an eye out for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty with urinating or defecating, reluctance to eat, going into a ‘downward dog’ position often, or an inability to sit, lie down, or walk properly.
According to Pawp veterinarian Dr. Sylvalyn Hammond, “Tampons are unfortunately a common cause of intestinal blockage in dogs. The first signs of blockage are typically vomiting and inappetence. Some dogs will experience diarrhea at first, but typically stool production will cease altogether, as nothing is moving through.”
What will the vet do if my dog ate a tampon?
The best course of action for your veterinarian will depend on how long ago your pet ate the tampon as well as any symptoms. They may take an x-ray, induce vomiting, or recommend surgery to remove the blockage. They might also recommend monitoring the movement of the tampon through the intestine in the hospital.
How can I prevent my dog from eating a tampon?
If your dog ate a tampon, you'll want to do everything in your power to avoid a repeat experience—and subsequently, a repeat vet bill.
Here’s what you can do to prevent your furry friend from eating more tampons.
Close your bathroom door
Make it a habit to close your bathroom door, which is where your pet likely got access to the tampon originally.
Along with this, you should make sure that tampons are secured away or high up enough that they’re not reachable for your pet should they get into the bathroom. You can also put them behind a closed medicine cabinet so they are inaccessible to your pets.
Buy a pet-proof trash can
Proper disposal of female 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 cannot 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 to successfully open.
Put used tampons in a zipped plastic bag
Lastly, you can opt to put used tampons 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 a lower chance of getting into a zipped plastic bag, too.
Protect your pup from danger
If your dog ate a tampon and you don't know what to do next, reach out to the team at Pawp. Our experienced team will be able to advise you on the best next steps for your dog.
Reviewed and fact-checked by
Dr. Mari, DVM at Pawp