Dogs eat a lot of things, good things, bad things, and weird things. If your dog has eaten a cotton ball, don’t fret.
Dogs are like sharks, just cuter, fuzzier, and with more legs. Their attitude seems to be “If I eat it, it will be fun!” Of course, they aren’t always right, at least as far as we can tell. But there are a few things you can do to protect them.
If your dog eats something out of the litter box, that gross. But what if they eat a cotton ball?
If you catch your dog in the act of eating a cotton ball, you should say “No!” very firmly. Get in their face a bit to show them you are serious. You may need to dig it out of his mouth if he doesn’t drop it. You should also teach your dog the command, “Drop it!” Of course, if he’s already eaten it, then you have another problem. The most serious possibility you should consider is the possibility that the cotton ball has some kind of potentially harmful chemicals on it. If there was anything at all on or in the cotton ball, take your dog to the vet asap.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Cotton Ball
If your dog eats the cotton ball in front of you, that’s very vexing, or if he eats one or more when you aren’t present, there isn’t much you can do other than be wary of the potential consequences. You should monitor him early on in case he chokes on the cotton ball. Once he’s got it down his neck, you should call your veterinarian to inform him or her that you may be paying them a visit soon.
The next step in your adventure will be to keep an eye on your doggo. Watch out for intestinal distress. Chances are that the cotton ball will pass through his digestive tract without much problem- except for a poorly timed elimination of the cotton ball sometime in the next day or two. If more serious symptoms emerge, you may need to take action.
Symptoms to Watch Out For After Your Dog Has Eaten a Cotton Ball
It is possible that your dog will have an allergic reaction to the cotton ball. This is more likely if it was made of synthetic fiber. In any event, it could catch on other food items in his digestive tract and cause indigestion or other forms of abdominal distress. Signs to watch for include:
- Vomiting: If vomiting starts early on in the process, that might be the best possible outcome. Put your doggo in the garage or outside and watch him as he vomits up the cotton ball. If he vomits successfully, you’re likely to be out of the woods. If it persists without a positive result, you may need to go to the vet.
- Diarrhea: If the cotton ball interacts with your dog’s intestinal biology so as to cause diarrhea, that may be a sign of trouble. Your vet may need to put him on special food or medication.
- Drooling: If drooling is not something your dog normally does, it could be an inflammatory reaction that is trying to lubricate his throat and mouth so that he can vomit or cough up the cotton ball. If it comes out soon after the drooling starts, that’s good. If not, it’s vet time.
- Abdominal pain: If he lays down on his side for long periods of time, won’t eat, and won’t do normal activities, the cotton ball may be badly lodged in his intestines. If this goes on for more than a few hours, you need to take him to the vet.
- Coughing: Coughing is a sign that the cotton ball may be dangerously close to entering his lungs. If this goes on for more than a minute or two, and especially if he seems to be having trouble breathing, he needs to be taken into the animal emergency room asap.
- Constipation: If the cotton ball swallowing is followed by a day or two of not pooping, your vet may need to put him on special food or medication. If that doesn’t help, more invasive medical action may be in order.
- Loss of appetite: This may be the worst sign of all. If the cotton ball has covered a large portion of the dog’s stomach, he may not be able to process and absorb food normally. If the cotton ball has become lodged so that food cannot pass through, he may need special food or medication. In the worst-case scenario, he may need abdominal surgery to remove the blockage.
- Dehydration: Another possible outcome of an intestinal blockage is dehydration. If the blockage is so strong as to stop water from getting into his system, he needs medical help as soon as possible. Probably the best way to tell if your dog is dehydrated is if he isn’t urinating at a normal rate.
- Lethargy: If caused by an ingested cotton ball, lethargy may be a sign of abdominal pain. It could also indicate a serious indigestion condition. He may need to be force-fed water to flush the cotton ball out, or other more invasive measures may be necessary.
Chances Are The Cotton Ball Will Not Hurt Your Dog
If your dog eats or has eaten a cotton ball, you should not panic. You need to keep an eye on him if he has already swallowed it. Watch him for the signs described above. If he develops any of the more serious symptoms, take him to the vet without hesitation.
If you make it through this crisis with a whole dog, it’s time to focus on teaching him not to eat such things. Take measures to get inedible things that he may be tempted to eat out of his reach. Teach him “No,” and “Drop it.” After having a bad cotton-ball-eating experience, your dog will probably be less eager to eat such things in the future, hopefully.