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My Dog Ate a Used Tampon — What Should I Do?

dog ate used tampon

It’s no secret that dogs get into everything when given the chance. If your dog has ever eaten (or attempted to eat) one of your used tampons, it’s probably raised questions. You might wonder, “Why is my dog eating used tampons?”

Most pet parents want to prevent their dogs from eating non-traditional food items like grass, dirt, poop, or trash, especially when it contains bodily fluids.

You may be worried about your dog’s safety, especially if he managed to eat an entire tampon.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. The following article contains information about why your dog eats tampons and what you can do about it.

Why does my dog eat used tampons?

Dogs eat tampons for a number of reasons. The following are five reasons why your dog might be eating used tampons (or pads):

1. Your dog smells the blood

Dogs use their noses and mouths to explore new things. That means new or interesting smells (such as used tampons) are often investigated.

While we use our eyes and hands to explore new things, dogs use their mouths to discover the world around them.

Once your dog has gotten into the trashcan, he’s most likely to seek out the most interesting (and often strongest) smell. In the case of bathroom trash, that often means used tampons and sanitary products.

2. Your dog likes the texture of the cotton

Some dogs seem to like the way cotton feels in their mouths, which leads them to consume both used and unused tampons.

This may be true if your dog has had multiple tampon-eating incidents. Dogs who enjoy the cotton texture may also consume used cotton balls and other discarded products.

3. Your used tampons smell like you

Dogs love the scent of their humans. If you’ve ever watched your dog nuzzle up with your old sweater, you know how much your scent can comfort him.

Like it or not, your used tampons smell like you, which makes them an appealing snack for your dog.

4. Your dog is bored

When your dog is bored, he’s more likely to look around for something interesting. That means he’s more likely to find (and consume) things he shouldn’t consume.

If your dog is left alone and isn’t given enough mental stimulation, he might seek out excitement.

5. Your dog is still a puppy

Puppies are more likely to chew and swallow non-food items. Since they’re so curious, they’re more likely to get into things they shouldn’t and eat things that might do them harm. 

You might be interested in: Why is my dog acting weird all of a sudden?

What to Do if Your Dog Eats a Tampon

When your dog eats a tampon, your first thought might be about the safety of your bodily fluids.

While the blood is certainly gross, it’s the cotton tampon itself that poses the greatest risk to your dog.

Always Call Your Dog’s Vet!

You should always call your veterinarian immediately after your dog eats a tampon. Although some dogs manage to eat and pass a tampon without issues, many medical complications may occur.

If your dog gets an intestinal blockage from the cotton, it may require surgical removal. An intestinal blockage may lead to your dog’s death in extreme cases.

Your first impulse might be to induce vomiting to get your dog to vomit up the tampon.

However, using home products like hydrogen peroxide or salt to induce vomiting can be extremely dangerous for your dog.

Instead of handling this on your own at home, talk to your dog’s veterinarian as soon as possible.

Additional Safety Tips

Monitor your dog closely after he ingests something like a tampon. Make sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions exactly. Call the veterinarian immediately if your dog loses his appetite or shows signs of lethargy.

Sometimes your dog might partially pass a tampon instead of passing it entirely. It might be tempting to pull the tampon out. However, you should never pull partially eliminated tampons from your dog’s butt.

This could cause serious trauma to your dog’s digestive system, as portions of the tampon may cause a fatal impaction of your dog’s intestines. 

If your dog partially passes a tampon, carefully cut the exposed portion with scissors and call your dog’s veterinarian.

In many cases, the rest of the tampon will come in time. However, you’ll need the assistance of your dog’s vet if the remaining portion doesn’t come out.

How to Keep Your Dog from Eating Tampons

Prevention is the best method to avoid the complications listed in the section above. Even if your dog hasn’t shown interest in your bathroom trash, you should still take steps to prevent your dog from eating used tampons.

1. Dog-proof your bathroom trash

Your dog can’t eat your used tampons if he can’t get into your trash in the first place. Most bathroom trash cans have lids.

However, the majority of these lids are easy for your dog to bypass. Invest in a dog-proof bathroom trash can, such as an electronic garbage can.

2. Close bathroom doors to keep your dog out at all times

When possible, close the bathroom doors to keep your dog out. This will effectively keep your dog out of the trash and away from your used tampons.

However, it’s important to ensure that everyone in the household knows that the bathroom door must be closed to keep the dog out.

3. Spray a repellent spray around the trashcan

There are several dog repellent sprays on the market to keep your dog away from certain household items.

xSpray this spray around your trash can to dissuade your pup from eating the contents of your trash can.

4. Put used tampons in sealed plastic bags

This option isn’t great if you’re trying to be mindful of single-use plastics. However, putting your used tampons into sealed bags makes it harder for your dog to smell their scent. 

5. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian or a canine behavior expert

If your dog habitually gets into your used tampons, something else may be going on. Talk to your dog’s veterinarian to find out if there are any physical deficiencies or psychological problems. These may contribute to your dog’s consumption of non-food items.

6. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise

Some dogs eat tampons (and other trash) when they’re bored. Do your best to provide enough physical and mental stimulation for your dog throughout the day.

The increase in activity may prevent them from sniffing out and consuming your sanitary products.

Final Thoughts on Dog Eating Tampons

If your dog eats a used tampon, it’s a potentially hazardous situation. Even if your dog has successfully passed consumed tampons in the past, it’s important to contact your dog’s veterinarian immediately after the tampon is consumed.

Once you’ve cared for your dog’s immediate needs, take steps to prevent future consumption of tampons.

Whether you keep the bathroom door closed or purchase a dog-proof trash can, make sure your dog can’t get into your bathroom trash in the future.

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