What happens if a dog eats a cotton ball or a cotton swab? Experience teaches us that dogs’ philosophy of life seems to be “if I see it, I’ll eat it”. Indeed, many vets tell us all the strange things they found in a dog’s stomach.
Even cotton balls are not safe from dogs’ endless curiosity. If your dog has eaten a cotton ball, It shouldn’t be at any risk. It would have to ingest quite a lot to get a bowel blockage, in which case you should take It to the vet.
What should you do if your dog ingests a cotton ball?
If your dog is eating cotton balls, you can use the command “let go” or “stop” to make It spit them out. Teaching these basic commands to dogs is very helpful because dogs often eat harmful things.
If your dog ate cotton balls while and you notice it later, try to estimate how many It ate and check if it was natural cotton or polyester.
You should call your vet to tell them what happened and ask them for some advice. Most often, if the amount ingested is small, the situation can be handled from home and you will be advised to keep an eye on your dog.
The most common symptoms to look out for are:
- Problems pooping
- He retched
- Excessive salivation
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of appetite
Any of these symptoms could also mean that your dog has digestive problems and may experience a blockage in the intestines. The situation always requires a check-up by the vet.
What to do in case of intestinal blockage?
When an object or a large amount of inedible material lodges in the stomach or intestines, your dog may experience gastrointestinal obstruction.
The evolution of this condition is unpredictable because at times it can resolve on its own and at other times it can become severe enough to be fatal. This is why gastrointestinal blockage should not be underestimated.
The dog will need medical attention as soon as possible. If it hasn’t been 2 hours since ingestion, your vet might try inducing vomiting to get the cotton out.
Spend the two hours, the cotton balls will have already passed through the intestines, so your vet might try to remove them with an endoscopy, or decide if your dog needs to have surgery.
A gastrointestinal blockage is more common in small dogs and puppies, so if your puppy ate cotton balls, it would be safer to take It to the vet right away.
Why do dogs eat cotton balls?
As with other inedible ingestions, there is no reason for dogs to eat cotton balls. Dogs use their mouths and noses to explore the world, but the wads typically don’t give off any particular smell.
Dogs likely chew cotton balls out of curiosity or to appreciate the texture, or have smelled something intriguing about used cotton balls.
However, dogs have no reason to eat the strangest things they find around, but it can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious condition called pica. Pica is a behavioral problem that can affect dogs of all breeds and ages, although it is more common in females. Dogs with pica feel the need to ingest inedible items such as plastic, paper, leather, or even the walls of your home.
How to prevent your dog from eating cotton balls again
Cotton balls are often harmless to dogs, but still, it would be best to stop It from eating what It wants because It’s often completely oblivious to the risks (except, apparently, with glass).
If you have pets, be sure to pet-proof your home by taking a few simple but basic precautions:
– Don’t leave items lying around where your dog can find them. Your dog likes to gnaw on most of what he sees, no questions asked. The floor and any surfaces that your dog can easily reach must always be clean.
– Throw away the cotton balls as soon as you finish using them. Make sure you don’t forget them on the counter or in the bathroom. Your dog will find them and eat them without delay.
– Make sure your dog is well-fed and that Its diet is complete. Dogs can eat other things because they are hungry or their body is in need of nutrients not found in their food. A dog that eats well is a dog that doesn’t go around looking for weird snacks