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My Dog Ate A Dryer Sheet. Now What?

Anyone with a dog understands that you cannot always understand why their dog will choose to eat some of the things it does beyond curiosity’s sake. Puppies are known to chew and devour toys, socks and even those plants you dote on in your garden. The big question this article is concerned with is if your dog eats dryer sheets it finds in the laundry room or elsewhere.

Are Dryer Sheets Toxic To Dogs?

Dryer sheets are indeed toxic to canines. This is due to the panoply of chemicals that should never be found in any sort of food, be it for humans or animals.

  • Cationic detergents can greatly disrupt your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. This disruption can lead to mild or even moderate bouts of vomiting and also diarrhea.
  • The fabric softeners found in most dryer sheets are functional due to chemicals that can cause many of the same problems as cationic detergents when ingested.
  • Both of these components are capable of poisoning your dog and also chemically burning your dog’s GI tract.

While you might think that devouring an old, used dryer sheet is less of a problem for your dog than if it had swallowed a fresh one, even the dissipated chemical payload of an old dryer sheet is sufficient to cause some level of harm if swallowed.

The good news is that these products are sot and absorbent. If your dog only swallows one of them, possibly because you caught them early, chances are good that the sheet will pass through your dog’s body with barely any consequence. The main problem with dryer sheets is that their absorbent nature means that they can extract some amount of liquid within the dog’s internal systems, expanding in the process. Should the absorbing sheet draw in enough bodily fluids, it can grow large enough to become a very problematic blockage.

What Do I Do?

The first thing you can do is get informed. Do research as best you can into the chemicals used in your dryer sheets. We say “as best you can” as the Consumer Safety Product Commission has very loose guidelines for companies to abide by in labeling their product packaging. As a result of this great amount of freedom afford them, most companies may not even point out which of the chemicals used in their dryer sheets are present or even what their specific cleaning purpose may be.

Read over every bit of the packaging you can. If you cannot confirm that the product is non-toxic and you are still leery, call the company’s phone number, listed on the packaging, and ask them what you need to know. While some dryer sheets contain carcinogens, this is usually not going to be a problem unless your dog has decided to make dryer sheets a staple element of its diet.

If you are already in the reality that your dog has devoured a dryer sheet, the first thing to do is to try and induce vomiting provided the dog has not scarfed down one or more sheets more than two hours ago. The less time that the sheets can stay in your dog’s GI tract, the less damage and problems you will have to deal with.

If you cannot get your dog to vomit, call your vet for advice. It is not uncommon to be told to give a dog potatoes or rice paired with boiled chicken as these foods can help expedite an object’s path through the digestive system.

Keep your dog’s activity restricted for the next couple of days; that means no long walks or heavy exercise sessions. You will also need to closely watch it for the next few days. You want to closely watch your dog so that you can see if there is any obstruction along any part of the GI tract.

While an internal chemical burn sounds bad, it is not as problematic as an obstruction can be. Obstructions can either partly or completely stop up your dog’s digestion, meaning matter will build-up to the point that your dog is bound to feel a great deal of discomfort. In the worst-case scenario, an untreated blockage results in death.

Symptoms to watch out for include the following.

  • More vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Tenderness around the abdomen.
  • Lethargy.
  • Loss off appetite.
  • Refusal to eat or drink.
  • Difficulty passing stool.

A proper diagnosis should be done by a qualified professional and may necessitate endoscopy or abdominal ultrasound.

You will also need to observe the quality of your dog’s stools for blood, which may appear as bright red or result in feces that are dark-colored and tarry.

Anorexia and vomiting are the two most sure symptoms of intestinal obstruction. If you have yet to retrieve any digest sheets after two to three days, it is time to take your pet to the vet’s emergency room. To be truthful, a pet owner with even slight concern over the incident may be enough to take a trip to the vet immediately after the event. Just make sure that you bring the box the dryer sheets came in so that hey vet can assess what sort of chemicals may now be coursing through your dog’s body.

While carefully observing your dog’s symptoms can expedite diagnosis and quick recovery, it is vital to take the threat seriously.

Lastly, remember that prevention is worth more than a cure. Do your best to keep these sorts of objects away from your dog’s ability to access them.

Conclusion

While you may have never thought of a dryer sheet as something dangerous, that does not mean that your dog knows to avoid tasting or eating them. If your dog wolfs down one or more dryer sheets, it will not be the end of the world. Just get the problem treated as soon as you can and try to keep your dog out of the laundry room.