Anyone who owns a dog knows that, sometimes, there is just no explanation for what your pet will find appetizing.
Pups have been known to eat their toys, your socks, and the occasional houseplant. But what do you do if your dog, for some obscure reason known only to himself, decides that those dryer sheets look simply delicious?
Are Dryer Sheets Toxic To Dogs?
Your first question to yourself may be, “Just how dangerous are they, anyway?” Sure, there are many other dangerous substances to worry about lurking around the house, but you may be surprised to find out just how dangerous these simple little fluffy things can be. They’re great for the laundry, not so great for the dog.
Dryer Sheets Are Not So Innocent!
Dryer sheets can be toxic to your pet. They contain a plethora of chemicals that are not meant as food products.
They also contain chemical fabric softeners, which can cause virtually the same effects.
Be aware that either of these substances, detergents or softeners can cause chemical burns in the gastrointestinal tract, even if the animal has vomited. These burns may cause erosions in the lining of the stomach or other organs.
Common sense tells us that used dryer sheets are less damaging than brand new ones, as most of the chemicals have been dissipated, but both can be harmful if ingested.
The good news is that some dryer sheets contain no toxic chemicals at all. So be sure to check the label for information on toxicity.
These products are soft and absorbent. A single sheet will probably pass through your pup’s systems with very little, or no, ill effects. However, their very absorbency can create further difficulties for your furry friend.
The sheet may very possibly absorb any liquid in the animal’s system, causing it to expand. The more it expands, the more likely it is to cause a damaging blockage.
What To Do If You Think Your Dog Ate A Dryer Sheet
First, become informed. That is if you can become informed.
These pieces of fabric can contain more harmful ingredients than those found in kitchen cleaning products, but problems may arise because the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which regulates the labeling of these products, has very lax guidelines.
Consequently, you may not even be able to tell what toxic substances these little fluffy things do, or do not, contain.
Read the packaging for any information you can garner. If it does not state emphatically that the product is non-toxic, and you still have concerns, call the number provided on the box and ask pertinent questions.
Some of these little pieces of fabric contain known carcinogens, although this will not be a problem unless your pet makes them a major part of his steady diet. But, perhaps it should be of some concern to you, as these chemicals are making their way into your household environment.
Next, try to induce vomiting if this aberration in appetite occurred within the last hour or two, and try to retrieve the ingested sheet. The less time the offending items stay in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, the less damage it will be able to do.
If you are unable to induce your pet to vomit, call your vet! he may advise you to start your pup on a special diet of potatoes or rice and boiled chicken. These foods are designed to help push things through the digestive system.
Restrict his activities for the next few days. No heavy exercise or long walks. And you must monitor your pet carefully for the next two or three days.
Look for signs which may indicate an obstruction, which can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, that is, the stomach, the small, or the large intestine.
As bad as a chemical burn on the internal organs sounds, an obstruction can be much worse.
It can cause a partial or complete, blockage of your pup’s digestive system. allowing fluids and solids to build up. Your canine companion will experience extreme discomfort as pressure builds up.
Moreover, it can prove fatal if left untreated.
The signs to look for include continued vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal tenderness, lethargy, loss of appetite, refusal of water, or straining to produce a stool.
Diagnosis should be made by a qualified professional and may require endoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, and other tests.
You must also, unfortunately, pay close attention to the stools your pooch produces, looking for blood which may be indicated by a bright red color or a dark, tarry feces.
This may be a thankless job, but given the dire consequences of an undiagnosed obstruction, will worth the effort.
The most tell-tale signs of obstruction are persistent vomiting and anorexia. If you have been unable to retrieve the consumed sheet within two or three days, a trip to the vet is indicated.
Actually, if you are at all concerned, a trip to the vet’s office immediately after discovering your pup’s culinary mistake would not be unwarranted, and is, in all probability, the best course of action.
Just remember to bring the dryer sheet box with you so a professional can assess the damage which may be caused by the chemicals involved.
As is always the case, careful observation of your pet’s symptoms can lead to an early diagnosis and a complete recovery but it is important to take the threat of these seemingly harmless little pieces of fabric seriously.
And, an ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. Keep these items tucked away so your canine companion will not be tempted by their intriguing scent.
You may not have ever considered these helpful little things a danger before, but that doesn’t mean your four-legged friend has the good sense to avoid them. Certainly, They don’t belong in your pup’s tummy. Being soft and fluffy on the outside should be enough for him.