dog ate tampons

My Dog Ate Tampons! – Why Do They Do It and What to Do?

Ingesting any foreign object could be harmful and even potentially fatal for your dog. Sometimes our fur buddies can eat the weirdest things, items we may find gross and unsanitary, and your tampons could be their next target. You’ll be surprised to know that dogs ingesting tampons is a pretty common problem in households with females.

This habit is not only unhygienic, but it can also be a headache because eating a used or unused tampon can be dangerous. But first, let’s find out why they do it.

Why Do Dogs Eat Tampons?

Dog Trying to Reach Out to Scented Tampons
Images from Unsplash

It’s gross (especially if it’s a used tampon) but it happens. It’s not very clear why a dog eats tampons, but we can venture some pretty good guesses. Dogs are generally attracted to strong and foreign smells. The scent of blood could pique your dog’s curiosity.

He may be ingesting the tampon not because he thinks it’s delicious (we’re not talking about a vampiric dog here), but because he’s exploring. Strong scents attract your dog, which is why you may find him snout-deep in the trash can.

Dogs tend to lick, sniff and sometimes eat items they are curious about. It happens to be a pretty natural instinct. This is why we often have to keep our eyes on our fur babies to make sure they aren’t ingesting anything harmful.

Your dog could also simply be acting out because he’s bored. When a dog is bored, understimulated, or overstimulated (separation anxiety and reactive dogs), then you can cue the destructive and troublesome behavior.

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Why are Tampons Dangerous for Dogs?

Trash Can with Tampons in Front of a Dog
Images from Unsplash

It seems pretty straightforward that eating a wad of cotton, whether it’s used or unused, is hazardous for your pooch. It’s more about the tampon than the blood being dangerous for your dog because there are plenty of canines we know on a raw diet, and blood is not a problem.

The biggest and most concerning risk for a dog ingesting a tampon is an intestinal blockage. The cotton may also be a choking hazard for your dog and it’s not an easy material to pass through the system.

Intestinal blockage can be deadly, as it not only prevents food from reaching vital organs, but it could cause your dog a lot of pain. What’s worse, is a blockage within your dog’s system may not have clear symptoms until a few days later.

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Dog Ate a Tampon? What to Do & When to Worry

Dog Ate an Unused Tampon
Images from Unsplash

While eating a tampon of any kind is dangerous and makes us a bit squeamish, it’s important to know that a dog that eats a used tampon is probably at a lower risk than one that ate a new one. It’s also more common for dogs to eat used tampons because of the scent of blood.

The blood will have soaked the tampon, enlarged it, and also caused some loosening of the cotton, all of this will make it easier for your dog to pass it through his system.

So, your dog swallowed a tampon, does that mean he is in immediate danger? The amount of danger your dog is in after diving in the trash can depends on a few factors:

Breed Size

Big dogs are bigger inside as well, meaning they have a larger digestive system and intestinal tract. If a large breed eats a tampon, it’s easier for him to pass it through his system than a small breed dog.

What’s in His Tummy

Whatever your dog has in his system could speed up or slow down the degradation and digestion of the tampon. This impacts how fast your dog passes the contents.

How Much He Ate

This is a case where the phrase “the more the better” does not apply. The more tampons your dog ate, the more danger he is in.

We can only hope that our fur baby only ate bits of a tampon and none of it gets stuck in the dog’s stomach. If everything passes through successfully, then you may only have to deal with stringy poops stuck on your dog’s bum you may have to pull out.

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My Dog Ate a Tampon Applicator

Plastic Tampon Applicator
Image by Wikimedia Commons

What about the applicator? There are individually packaged tampons and ones that come with an applicator made out of thin plastic. The applicator, if it’s chewed up, is actually less dangerous than the tampon. Little bits of plastic are easier to pass through the digestive tract than a huge clump of cotton. That being said, it’s still not ideal for your dog to eat the applicator, of course.

When it comes to the risks, eating a tampon applicator will pose the same danger as the tampon itself such as blockage in your dog’s digestive system and even harming your dog’s body from within.

We would not suggest pet parents induce vomiting on their own without consulting a vet first. In many instances, doing so could lead to more harm than good. If your dog is showing distress after eating a tampon, call your vet immediately to schedule an appointment.

What to Do if Your Dog Partially Passes a Tampon?

A Dog Who Partially Passes a Tampon Visits Vet
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

If you have evidence that your dog ingested a tampon, your vet may tell you to monitor your dog closely for a while, especially if it’s just partial ingestion. However, if your dog ate a whole tampon and has been fine, then only manages to pass part of it, then we suggest contacting your vet immediately.

This could be an indication that part of it is blocking his intestines. On the other hand, he may pass the rest of it during his next poop. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health of your pet, so a vet visit is definitely recommended.

Symptoms of Tampon Ingestion

Dog With Stomach Pain After Ingesting a Tampon
Photo by Neil Cooper on Unsplash

Maybe you left a tampon there, maybe you didn’t. Or the trash can is overturned but you can’t be sure if your dog ate a tampon, so what are the symptoms to look out for if you’re not quite sure?

Your dog may be fine for the first few hours, but then you may start to notice any of the below:

  • Tummy problems
  • Stomach pain, accompanied by some swelling
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting, nausea, or even dry heaving
  • A lack of appetite
  • Unusual behavior (body postures, movements)
  • Anxiety and stress

If you notice any behavior that’s out of the ordinary for your dog, we would suggest contacting your vet right away.

Tips and Tricks for Keeping Your Dog Out of the Bathroom Trashcan

Dog Inside a Bathroom
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Some dogs are weirdly attracted to your trash, while others don’t care for it. If you have a pooch that’s constantly getting up to no good and sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong (literally), then you must take action.

These tips below can keep your dog out of the bathroom trash can and the garbage in other areas of the house as well.

Keep the Door Closed

The easiest way is just to keep the bathroom, kitchen, or bedroom door closed and cut off your dog’s access to the garbage. This solution is by far the easiest, but it’s definitely not easy to remember to do it every day.

Make It Undesirable

Sometimes using something like an unpleasant bitter apple or citronella spray can overpower the smell of whatever enticed your pooch in the trash can and keep him away.

Pet-Proof Trash Cans are the Best

There are pet-proof trash cans that have a lid that automatically closes and can be difficult for your dog to open. You can also consider the regular closing trash cans that have a pedal to step on in order to open.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my dog be okay if he ate a tampon?

Yes, your dog will be okay if he passes the tampon or gets vet support after eating a tampon. How much your dog ate, his size, and what he has in his stomach at the time can also impact if he comes out of eating a tampon unscathed. Monitor your dog after ingestion and if he exhibits strange behaviors or symptoms, head to the vet immediately.

How long does it take for a dog to pass a tampon?

It can take anywhere from 1 to 5 days to pass a tampon (if it passes). There is a chance that your dog won’t pass the tampon at all if it caused a blockage. If this is the case, your dog should show signs of discomfort, pain, and disinterest in food.

Bottom Line

It seems gross to us, but your dog could dig through the trash and eat tampons. It’s quite a common behavior and one that definitely needs to be prevented. Keep the door closed, purchase a pet-proof garbage can, or make the trash as undesirable as you can to keep your pooch from digging in it. If your dog manages to eat one, make sure to keep a close eye on him and schedule a vet visit if necessary.

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