Young kids get their hands on everything they get. It won’t take them a second to put anything they come across, edible or nonedible, right into their mouths. It may pose a danger to them and sometimes even be life-threatening. But tiny tots wouldn’t think a second before indulging in mischievous deeds.
It’s advisable to be extra vigilant with a kid and dog at home. Dogs, particularly pups, are the same as your kids. They wouldn’t give it a second chance before popping something into their mouth.
Now coming to the topic, do you have a newborn at home? If yes, your house will be messy, with baby clothes, wipes, and diapers scattered throughout.
Has it ever happened that your pup got hold of a diaper and began eating it? Luckily, it caught your sight, and you pulled it out of its mouth. But half the damage has been done. So what should you do now? Read on to know more.
Are Diapers Dangerous to Dogs? Why or Why Not?
Yes, diapers (for babies or adults) are extremely dangerous to dogs. If your dog has eaten a diaper- may be a part of it or the whole diaper, it needs immediate medical intervention. Little delay may result in severe consequences.
The reason diapers are harmful to dogs is the materials that make them. Disposable diapers have a material in the middle layer suited for absorbing fluids. The outer layer is thin and waterproof, helping to prevent leakage. The inner layer is soft and porous, keeping the wearer’s skin dry.
All three layers are harmful when ingested, but the middle layer does the most damage. The middle layer is made of various materials. The commonly used ones include superabsorbent polymers and paper products.
Remember, the middle layer is designed to absorb moisture. It does this when the diaper goes into your dog’s stomach. It begins absorbing stomach acids, water, and other important fluids in your dog’s body.
If the absorbent material begins expanding, it can do the dog a lot more harm. It may block your dog’s digestive tract completely or wholly, depending on how much diaper he ate. The outcome could be severe dehydration and intestinal problems. It can give rise to a medical emergency, and sometimes surgery may be needed to treat the blockage.
If your dog has eaten a dirty diaper, the hassles are even more. Besides the material, there is also the danger of the bacteria contained on the diaper, which may trigger vomiting and diarrhea in your dog once it gets into his system.
Cloth diapers lack absorbent fluid but comprise absorbent fabrics. So, they, too, may cause intestinal blockages when your dog eats them. Another complication may arise if your dog has swallowed the safety pin attached to the diaper. The pins may pass with your dog’s stool if they are closed. But if the pin is opened, then it could lead to severe injuries.
Are Adult Diapers More Harmful Than Diapers For Kids?
Adult diapers are bigger and have a stronger absorbent power. So the middle layer is much thicker. It means it will absorb more moisture from your dog’s body if ingested. Thus, the dangers are bigger in adult diapers than in those designed for kids.
So if you compare the risk factor – dogs eating adult diapers are in greater danger than those eating kids’ diapers.
Can a Dog Die From Eating a Diaper?
It depends on how much of the diaper your dog has eaten and how much damage it has done to your dog. Suppose the diaper has caused an intestinal blockage. In that case, it can take a toll on your dog’s life if not addressed immediately. Immediate medical intervention is the need of the hour.
Have you seen your dog eating a diaper? If you haven’t, you must act immediately when you see your dog behaving differently. The symptoms will be visible from a few minutes to an hour. Your dog may vomit, have loose motions, be restless, etc. Never delay in taking your dog to the vet in such cases. Remember, every second counts.
What Should You Do When Your Dog Has Eaten a Diaper?
Head straight to the vet! Yes, that’s the first thing you should have in your mind after knowing that your dog ate a diaper. Be it a small part, half of it, or the full diaper – whatever it may be, take it to a vet. Here are certain things you must keep in mind after your dog has eaten a diaper.
1. Prevent Him From Eating It Any Further
So, you come to the room and see diapers scattered everywhere and one in your mouth. Instead of scolding your dog or panicking, make sure that your dog doesn’t eat any more of it.
Take the diaper off its mouth, and shift him to the other room. Lock him there; not alone, though. Make someone stay with him; meanwhile, clear off the mess. Since the damage is already done, prevent further trouble by taking the diapers away from his sight. In this way, you limit further access to diapers for your dog.
2. Call The Vet
That’s Step 2. Once you have moved your dog away from the diaper, the next and most important thing is to call the vet. If the vet you always go to isn’t available, rush your dog to the emergency room. Be cooperative and give them all the details they need.
You’ll have to tell them how many diapers your dog ingested. They will also need to know the type of diaper your dog ate – cloth or disposable.
Another important piece of information to check is whether it was a clean or dirty diaper. The vet will also want to know how long it has been since your dog ate the diaper and whether he has shown any symptoms.
When the vet has all these details, treating your dog becomes easier.
3. Follow What Your Vet Says
Following the vet’s instructions is crucial. Please do not try any remedies at home. It could worsen your dog’s condition. Depending on how many diapers your dog ate, the vet may ask you to monitor his symptoms for a while. He may even ask you to bring him over for immediate treatment. Follow your vet’s instructions. It will help in your dog’s recovery.
4. Keep Calm
The moment you discover your dog has eaten a diaper, do not panic. That is the foremost thing you must do, much above everything else. Screaming and yelling at your dog will stress it further. Instead, it is essential to understand how much damage is done and how you need to take things from there. Adopting a calm and discreet approach will help you overcome the crisis.
What Will the Vet Do?
He will note your dog’s symptoms and decide the next action. Irrespective of the dog’s size, eating diaper always come with dangers.
Yet, if you have a big dog and it has eaten a small amount of the diaper, chances are it is less risky. The vet may ask to watch his symptoms and act accordingly.
Vomiting can, at times, worsen things. He may even advise inducing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide-water solution. However, never try this all by yourself without a vet’s consultation.
If things have gone out of control, your vet might advise getting your dog to him. He will check for abdominal tenderness and swelling. If the dog is dehydrated, the vet will start IV fluids immediately to relieve your dog.
The vet may perform several diagnostic tests to detect where exactly the diaper is in your dog’s stomach.
He will first conduct an oral examination to see if the diaper is stuck in your dog’s throat. If that’s not the case, he may go for abdominal X-rays or ultrasounds. Once he gets to know the exact position, it will be easier for him to start treatment.
He may try ways to get your dog to throw up. Judging the severity of the situation, the vet might also perform gastric lavage, a process of washing out your dog’s stomach.
There are chances that your vet prescribes a laxative so that the diaper passes out through your dog’s stool. He may even insert an endoscope, a long camera, into your dog’s rectum or mouth to locate the diaper and remove it manually if he feels the need to do so.
In some cases, surgery is needed to mend the intestinal blockage.
Note: If your dog suffers from breathlessness, or loses consciousness, rush him to the vet immediately. You can show the vet the unused diaper if possible. It will help him determine the materials the diaper is made up of.
Why Does Your Dog Eat Diapers?
Dogs have no end to their curiosity. It makes them grab anything available, from their puke to your shoes on the rack. Dogs may behave this way because of umpteen reasons. It could range from boredom to getting their owner’s attraction and a lot more. Let’s check the reasons behind your dog eating diapers.
1. He is Curious
It’s a new baby, and there are things strewn all around. Everything seems overwhelming for your dog. He is curious about everything near and around your baby’s bed. The texture and shape of the diaper attract him. He is inclined to get a feel of it and may resort to eating the diaper.
2. He Wants to Get Your Attention
It could be that till the baby’s arrival, your dog was the apple of your eye. After the newborn’s birth, there has been a shift of attention. You don’t devote enough time to your dog like before. So your pup is jealous.
Your dog will go to any extent to get your attention, even if that means eating something that could harm them. If they see you in the room, with diapers scattered, they’ll not waste a minute to put a diaper into their mouth.
He does this to get you to look and care for him. Once you leave all that you were doing and get panicked to see your dog in that condition, his mission is accomplished.
3. Out of Boredom
It’s an extension of the previous statement. When you don’t give your dog sufficient time, it gets bored. Your dog then resorts to destructive activities. These include barking, whining, chewing, etc.
So, if your dog has nothing to do, he may pick up whatever he gets at hand and start chewing, be it a diaper or anything else.
4. He Perhaps Has Pica
Pica refers to a condition where a dog chews and even consumes something that isn’t edible or lacks nutritional value. When your dog has this condition, he chews a diaper and anything he can access. These may include chalk, clothing, dirt, cardboard, rocks, etc. Pica can be caused due to a whole lot of reasons like stress, nutritional deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems, and so on.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Diapers?
It would help if you were extra vigilant when your house is messy, and you have a dog at home. Knowing how dangerous diapers can be to dogs, you must do everything possible to keep them out of your dog’s reach.
1. Enclose the Dirty Diapers in a Dog-Proof Trash Can
Avoid throwing dirty diapers in the trash can of your bathroom. Your dogs will pick them up from there in no time. Instead, use a dog-proof trash can to dispose of the trash. It will be difficult for your pup to know it down. So, the chances of your dog getting access to it are minimum.
2. The Unused Diapers Should Be Out of Your Pet’s Reach
For unused diapers, lock them inside a cupboard. You should keep the diapers on a high shelf so your dog can’t touch them.
3. Apply Dog-Deterrent Sprays on Soiled Diapers
Is your dog attracted to dirty diapers too often? Well, there is a way to divert his attention. Apply dog deterrent sprays on the soiled diaper so your dog doesn’t go near them. When buying, ensure that you are going for ones that are non-toxic and safe for dogs.
4. Be Watchful If Your Dog is Wearing a Diaper
Your dog may need a diaper due to several reasons. It may be suffering from a urinary tract infection. If you have a female dog at home, she may often stain the floors when in heat. A diaper may aid during this time and prevent your floor from getting dirty.
Whatever the reason, watch your dog closely when he has worn a diaper. Else, he may excitedly start biting the edges of his diaper. Also, make sure that the diaper fits him well. If it doesn’t, it will fall off when your dog walks and your pet likely put the diaper into his mouth.
What other baby items are harmful to dogs?
Besides diapers, there are other baby products too that your dog must not have access to. These include baby wipes, teething gels, diaper rash ointments, etc. If your dog ingests them, they may cause digestive disorders alongside other complications.
What will happen if a big dog eats a small piece of diaper?
What if the portion your dog ate is the super absorbent middle layer? In that case, even a small amount can be dangerous for your dog. Well, be it a small dog eating a large piece of a diaper, or a big dog eating a small piece of it, none of them are out of danger. So, irrespective of the size of your dog, consult a vet if he has eaten a diaper.
The bottom line is to keep your dog stimulated physically and mentally. It will eliminate boredom and help it remain happy. If you cannot give it ample time, make it get used to living in a crate for some time of the day. Crate training should start when your dog is around eight weeks old. An adult dog will not be able to accept the crate with ease as a puppy does.
Coming to your dog eating diapers, never waste the slightest time seeking medical help the moment you realize he has done the same. Each second counts during an emergency. So the sooner, the better.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.