What To Do If Your Dog Ate A Tampon

Unfortunately, our canine friends can do strange things.

The act of eating a tampon is extremely common in the canine population, no matter how odd or gross it may seem to us.

So when your dog does get their paws on a tampon, what do you do?

In this article we will discuss what can happen when your dog eats a tampon, and help you better understand the treatment options available to your pup.

My Dog Ate A Tampon – Is It A Big Deal?

My Dog Ate A Tampon

If your canine companion ate a tampon, you are likely searching for any possible explanation of what comes next.

Some dogs are known to eat anything that crosses their path, leading to the question of whether or not eating a tampon is really that big of a deal.

Unfortunately for our furry friends, eating a tampon can be extremely dangerous.

The main purpose of the tampon is what makes it so dangerous when consumed by a dog.

Tampons are designed to remain intact when in the body for long periods of time, as well as swelling to absorb fluids.

This results in tampons not being easily digested by the gut, as well as the potential for the tampon to expand in the stomach or intestines.

Some dogs may be just fine when eating a tampon, but the risk of potential complications means that every tampon ingestion should be taken seriously.

What Could Happen If My Dog Ate A Tampon?

If your dog eats a used or unused tampon, there are a few complications that could follow. Ranging from mild GI upset to medical emergencies, tampon ingestion can lead to serious issues for our pups.

GI irritation

Tampons do not belong in the GI tract. Foreign objects can be difficult for a dog to pass, scraping and irritating the lining of the GI tract as it passes.

Not only can the presence of a tampon in the digestive tract be extremely irritating, but it can lead to even more pain if the tampon expands.

GI irritation from the tampon can lead to abdominal pain, bloody stool, and bloody diarrhea.

Bowel obstruction

If a dog is unable to pass a tampon, this can lead to a bowel obstruction.

The tampon can become lodged somewhere along the GI tract, making it impossible for other contents to pass.

A bowel destruction will be fatal if left untreated, as the bowel will eventually perforate if the foreign body is not removed.

Can Dogs Pass A Tampon On Their Own?

Some lucky pups will be able to pass a tampon on their own.

Their ability to do this will often depend on the size of the dog’s intestines, the size of the tampon, if they swallowed the tampon intact, and how many tampons they consumed.

Waiting for your dog to pass the tampon on their own is a dangerous game, as the intestines can become extremely damaged if you wait too long to seek care.

Symptoms of a bowel obstruction can take up to 72 hours to begin, at which point their GI tract has already experienced extreme stress.

The chance of your dog passing an obstruction on their own is never guaranteed, making it important to seek medical care from the moment you see them consume the tampon.

What To Do When Your Dog Eats A Tampon

If your canine companion gets their paws on a tampon, the best thing to do is contact your veterinarian.

Your vet will likely ask how big your dog is, when they ate the tampon, or how long they were left alone if you are unaware of an exact time frame.

These questions are crucial when determining their plan of action, as treatment will vary based on these answers.

Whether you pay your vet a visit or simply call them for advice, we always suggest reaching out to your vet in some form.

Waiting for any sign of an obstruction is extremely risky, and can cause you to miss the window of full recovery.

Treatments For A Dog That Ate A Tampon

When taking your dog to the vet for eating a tampon, the treatment method will vary based on how long ago they ate the tampon, and if they are displaying any signs of obstruction.

To help you better understand what to expect at the vet, let’s list the treatment options below.

They ate the tampon less than 4 hours ago

If your pup just ate the tampon, your vet will likely give them an injection that causes immediate vomiting.

This allows your vet to induce vomiting in a controlled setting, allowing them to intervene if your dog experiences any complications.

Tampons can be a choking hazard for some dogs when vomiting, so inducing vomiting at your vet is the safest option.

If your dog is able to produce the tampon through vomiting, this is likely the only treatment they will need.

They ate the tampon over 4 hours ago

Things get a bit more complicated if your dog ate the tampon longer than 4 hours ago.

This means the tampon may have had the chance to move from the stomach and further down the GI tract, and it can no longer be retrieved through vomiting.

At this point, your vet will have to assess the risk of waiting it out or moving forward with medical care.

For example, if a large Great Dane ate one tampon, your vet may feel comfortable with hydrating your pup and hoping the tampon simply passes on its own.

On the other hand, if your small Chihuahua ate a tampon that cannot be removed through vomiting, this will be much more concerning.

If your vet chooses to wait it out and monitor your dog, they may suggest SQ (Subcutaneous Fluids) or IV fluids to help hydrate the gut.

They may also suggest diagnostic imaging (x-ray or ultrasound) to search for any evidence of obstructive patterns, as well as repeat x-rays 12-24 hours later to search for any concerning changes.

Every situation will vary, and your vet will make the best decision for your dog’s situation.

They are showing signs of GI upset

If your dog is displaying signs of GI upset after eating a tampon, your vet will need to be more aggressive with diagnostic options and treatment.

Your vet will perform diagnostic x-rays to search for any patterns of obstruction, and make a decision from that point.

If the tampon is in a part of the intestines that may allow it to pass on its own, your vet may suggest hospitalization to closely monitor your dog until it passes.

This will often include IV fluids and multiple x-rays to track the movement of the tampon, and leaving the potential for surgery on the table if it does not pass within 12-24 hours.

If there is evidence of obstruction in an area that will not allow the tampon to pass, your vet will likely suggest surgery to remove the foreign object.

Foreign body surgery can involve simply cutting into the intestines and removing the object, or it may involve a major surgery where multiple inches of intestines have to be removed.

The treatment approach will vary based on if there is any damage to the intestines, or if the obstruction has led to other complications within the GI tract.

The ideal treatment will vary based on how severe the obstructive patterns are, how long ago they ate the tampon, and how severe your dog’s symptoms are.

Things To Remember

As you can see, treatment options will vary from case to case when your dog eats something they should not.

We discussed multiple treatment possibilities today, so let’s wrap this up with a few things to remember when your dog eats a tampon.

  • If your dog eats a tampon, ALWAYS contact your vet for advice as soon as you realize what happened.
  • When your dog eats a tampon, it’s easier to treat the issue immediately rather than later. Waiting for any sign of obstruction to visit the vet makes things more complicated in the end.
  • Do not attempt to induce vomiting at home if your dog ate a tampon. Your dog may not vomit up 100% of the contents in their stomach when doing this at home, meaning some of the tampon could still remain. The tampon can also be a choking hazard when inducing vomiting, so you will always want to do this in the presence of a vet. No matter what you see online, do not induce vomiting at home.
  • If your dog begins to vomit or experience abdominal pain after eating a tampon, it’s important to visit your vet ASAP for further guidance.
  • Do not be embarrassed to reach out to your vet for guidance in this situation. We see this all the time, and we have seen much worse when it comes to dogs eating strange items around the home.

Eating a tampon can be a major risk to your furry friend’s health.

Be proactive in keeping tampons away from your dog, whether they are in your cabinet or in a trash can.

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