My Dog Ate a Used Tampon, What Now?

Hey! Is it just me, or are all dog persons horrified to find out that their dog ate a used tampon?

Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can surely say that raising a pup is far challenging than raising a child. You have to feed them, bath them, go out for walks with them, and fulfill all of their emotional and psychological needs.

Speaking of feeding, a dog’s digestive system isn’t quite as tough as a human’s. Considering their curious nature, and a penchant for sinking their teeth into whatever smells intriguing, a dog owner needs to be watchful of what enters their pooch’s mouth.

I have been a lover of dogs since a very young age, and I fail to recollect not having a four-legged mongrel by my side.

I am a 45 years old history professor at a community college based in New York City. My immediate family comprises of me, my wife Karen, my lovely daughter Jessica, and Bongo, my dog.

Bongo is a two years old Dalmatian I got as a birthday present for Jessica. Once, while excavating a bathroom dustbin, my dog ate a used tampon.

Luckily, I caught him in the act and rushed him to the hospital. The vet instantly induced vomiting, and fortunately, the tampon had only stuck in its throat. Boy, was it scary?

Are Used Tampons Safe for Dogs?

I get it, dogs are big on giving surprises, but why would a dog want to eat a dirty used tampon? If you own a dog or two, you might have noticed how much they love sniffing each other’s behinds. And there is your answer.

It seems weird, but dogs do enjoy sniffing some of the foulest odors, and crotches are no exception. They do this just because their curious and the scent of human gentiles, attracts them.

Human genitals contain high numbers of pheromones. Pheromones are the substances released by mammals into the environment, which affect the behavior of other species. The smell of menstrual blood might be revolting to humans, but due to pheromones, it is incredibly tempting to your dog.

This is one of the reasons your dog would love to treat themselves to a smelly blood-stained tampon. However, there is no straightforward answer to why dogs love munching on items that aren’t from the category of food. Yet, we can make some guesses.

Dog’s consumption of human bio-waste isn’t confined to a used tampon only. Items such as used diapers used condoms, and used sanitary napkins are also enough to make a dog’s mouth water. 

If you delve deeper into the subject matter, you will realize that a dog’s primary sense organs are its nose and tongue, which it can use since birth.

Smelling and tasting are the two ways your fuzzy friend gathers valuable information, which in most cases, is problematic for the dog owner.

Naturally hunters and scavengers, dogs are tempted by the scent of blood, bodily fluids, and decay. Whenever they stumble upon a bio-waste product, they find attractive; they tend to investigate it through their tongue and mouth.

Despite a dog’s nature, feeding on something like a used tampon can be detrimental to a dog’s health. Although blood won’t do much harm, the materials used in a tampon can make your dog choke, and even result in intestinal blockage.

Therefore, you must discard your bio-waste in a way that it becomes hard for your four-legged detective to discover.

Why Are Used Tampons Bad for Dogs? 

If your dog has eaten used tampons, the first thing you need to do is contact the vet right away, and in the meanwhile, make sure to monitor them closely. Consider yourself lucky if you have caught them in the act. If you find your dog eating used tampons, make them drop it there and then.  

Because your dog is a carnivore by nature, any blood on the tampon won’t do much harm. However, the same cannot be said for the materials a tampon is made of. A tampon is made up of threads and fibers, which can cause gastrointestinal blockages. Such blockages hinder the flow of food, water, and gas through a dog’s digestive tract.

It is a painful experience for a dog, but more dangerous is the fact that internal blockages hinder the flow of blood to various parts of a dog’s body. A disturbed flow of blood within a dog’s body often results in tissue death, and if not treated promptly, can lead to a variety of fatal complications. In the worst-case scenario, excessive tissue death can eve make a dog pass away.

Blockages take a couple of days before they showcase symptoms. Therefore, the owner needs to be vigilant about the dog’s health state. Your dog is somewhat lucky if it has eaten a used tampon instead of a fresh one.

Unused tampons are more likely to result in intestinal obstructions than used ones. The reason is quite simple. The blood absorbed by the tampon makes the cotton distend. On the flip side, a new tampon when combined with saliva and internal acids tends to swell and expand, thus resulting in obstructions.

You must know that medical attention after eating a tampon doesn’t suffice for all dogs. Some dogs might recover, while some might not. The danger of eating a used tampon varies from dog to dog, depending upon the factors mentioned below.

The Size of Your Dog

The size of your dog has a crucial role to play in whether or not it will recover after eating a tampon. Bigger dogs have more significant intestinal tracts, which make it easy for something like a tampon to pass through will little discomfort. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that a German shepherd is less prone to falling sick by eating tampons, than a corgi that has eaten a tampon.

Contents inside Your Dog’s Digestive Tract

Another factor that dictates whether or not a tampon will pass through a dog’s digestive tract is the contents inside the gastrointestinal tract. The amount of fiber, water and fats will decide whether or not a tampon will pass through smoothly or not.

Number of Tampons Consumed

It is a no-brainer that a single tampon will pass through much easier than a whole pack of tampons. Therefore, you need to figure out how many tampons your dog has swallowed. If you fail to determine the number of tampons in the dustbin, you can find out by counting the number of tampons left in the box.

If your dog is lucky, the tampon will pass through its digestive tract with ease. However, you will have to cope with the sight of some strange-looking stools.

Even if your dog has munched on a used tampon, you shouldn’t panic, because this is nothing exceptional. Yet, you must keep an eye for some of the symptoms mentioned below.

  • Weird body postures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intestinal disturbance
  • Swelling and abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting  

Any of the aforementioned symptoms allude to a digestive blockage or a strangled intestine. If you notice the symptoms mentioned above, contact a vet right away.

What Materials in a Tampon Are Harmful for a Dog? 

If you just found that your dog ate a used tampon, then you might be wondering about all the harmful materials in a tampon. Let’s take a look at the potentially harmful ingredients that go into a tampon. 

Artificial Fibers

One of the key components in a tampon is artificial fiber. These fibers are highly abrasive, and when a tampon expands, tiny bits of this fiber get embedded within the tissue. Furthermore, these fibers can get entangled with a dog’s intestines, thus resulting in blockages. 

Alcohol

Up until now, we have discussed the material ingredients in a tampon. Now let’s transition towards some chemical components. One of the few chemicals found in a tampon is alcohol. Most dogs have an allergic reaction to alcohol due to their toxicity. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, hypothermia, and sometimes even coma. 

Dioxin

Another toxic chemical found in tampons is dioxin. Dioxin is responsible for a variety of health hazards in dogs and humans alike. Two of the common health effects of dioxin are cancer and diabetes.

Aluminium

The primary targets of aluminum in a dog’s body are bones, nervous system, and lungs. An excessive amount of aluminum in a dog’s system can lead to inflammation, neurotoxicity and other diseases. The effects of aluminum exposure are although slow but become more prominent with time.

Also, dogs suffering from kidney problems must be kept away from all sources of aluminum. Disturbed kidneys fail to expel aluminum content in the blood through urine. The aluminum the remains within the body can result in a variety of gastrointestinal issues. 

What Are the Symptoms of Poisoning Caused by Tampon Materials? 

One of the most common outcomes of a dog eating a tampon is an intestinal blockage. As far as the symptoms of intestinal obstruction are concerned, they show up depending upon the location of a swallowed tampon. The most common signs of a blockage are as follows.

  • Difficulty in bowel movement
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Affected appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Snacking lips
  • Vomiting

If these blockages are left untreated, they result in multiple complications, some of which can be fatal. However, if you have taken your dog to the vet quickly enough, the chances are that the stuck tampon will be removed through endoscopy, without any surgery.

In some cases, the vet might induce vomiting using emetic. But this only applies if your dog has eaten a small piece of a used or an unused tampon. If your dog throws up after eating a part of tampon, but the stools are fine, chances are you won’t have to involve a vet, yet it is better if you do.

If your dog isn’t pooping, it could be due to constipation, or it could be the tampon, that he just dined on. It could also be due to diarrhea being combined with tenesmus. In such situations, the feels like taking a dump, but fails to do so, and only a few droplets of diarrhea come out.

How to Treat a Dog Suffering from Tampon Poisoning? 

As discussed in the previous paragraphs, when your dog has eaten something as harmful as a tampon, the first thing you need to do is book an appointment with the vet. Now, the treatment your vet will suggest upon the condition of your dog. 

The first thing a vet will do is check your dog’s vitals by conducting an essential examination. He or she will ask you generic questions about the dog, when the dog has eaten a tampon, and in what quantity.

First, the vet will try to determine the exact location of the eaten tampon. This will start with a quick examination of your dog’s mouth. If the string of the tampon is tangled with your dog’s teeth, pulling it out won’t be much of a hassle.

If the tampon is beyond sight, the doctor will make use of an instrument which is known as an endoscope. An endoscope is a tube that is a flexible tube-like object that possesses a camera on one end. The vet shall insert the endoscope into the dog’s throat to take a closer look down the esophagus.

If nothing shows, there won’t be any other option but to conduct an x-ray, to find out where the tampon is. According to the result of the x-ray, if the tampon hasn’t gone too deep, the vet will administer some emetic.

An emetic is a drug that is used to induce vomiting. For your information, never make the mistake of administering emetic on your own, without consulting a doctor.

If the emetic works, your dog will throw up the swallowed tampons within a few minutes. However, if the dog fails to vomit, surgery will have to be carried out. 

My Dog Ate Used Tampons, What Do I Do Now?

It is not uncommon for dogs to present you with astonishing surprises, which in most cases are the things they feed on, while you aren’t around.

If your dog ate a used tampon, firstly you need to calm down. First, you need to determine how many tampons your dog has eaten. If the tampons were still unused, you could use the wrappers to count the exact amount. If all of them were used, things could get a little challenging.

If your dog has only eaten a small piece of tampon, it won’t be that big of a hassle. A small part of the tampon will pass quickly. The process will be unsightly and a little smelly too, but it won’t be as dangerous as consuming multiple tampons.

If you are unsure of how many tampons your dog has eaten, you need to rush your dog to the veterinary clinic. Consuming a sheer amount of human bio-waste products such as tampons, diapers, and sanitary pads can result in intestinal blockages in dogs.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of intestinal blockages in canines.

  • Difficulty in eating
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea

These symptoms, although inconvenient, help one figure out the location of the swallowed object.

If your dog has diarrhea and vomiting, it is a sign that your dog has a minor obstruction, for food and water can still pass through. In the case of a blockage, a dog may feel severe abdominal pain and would throw up regularly, especially after eating and drinking.

Abdominal pain may also point in the direction of a blockage within the upper portion of the intestinal tract. Projectile vomiting may also take place, provided there is a blockage in the upper part of the intestinal tract.

If there is an obstruction in the lower bowels, the dog will repeatedly throw up. The only difference is that the guts will be brown, and will smell like stools, for it has no other place to go.  

Conclusion

Are all pet parents out there are just as vigilant to figure out if there is something wrong with their canine?

Seeing their dog in excruciating abdominal pain is the worst feeling to cope with, for a devout dog person. This is exactly how I felt when my dog ate a used tampon.

If you have experienced such an incident in the past, and want to prevent it from happening again, the below-mentioned tips will come in handy.

  • Make sure to keep the bathroom door shut at all times.
  • To keep your dog away from the trashcan, a slight spray of the dog repellent will do.
  • Replace your conventional dustbins with pet-proof trashcans. These trashcans have lids that open only when you want them to.
  • Before discarding used tampons, diapers, condoms, and sanitary pads make sure to bag them tight.