Your dogs will eat many things that you won’t like, but few things will be weirder than your dog eating a diaper.
If your dog ate a diaper, they’re at risk of developing GI obstruction, infections, and other diseases, so you should bring your dog to the veterinarian.
Veterinary Care: What to Expect at the Vet When Your Dog Eats a Diaper
Most vets will probably recommend that you bring your dog in for an examination after eating a diaper.
Your vet will verify that your dog is in stable condition, and then start performing a physical examination, to look for things like signs of pain and abdominal swelling or tenderness. He or she may also begin administering IV fluids to prevent dehydration.
Your vet will also begin taking a history, by asking you questions about your dog’s general health and any symptoms he’s already begun exhibiting. Your vet will also likely inquire about the diaper, including its size and the number of diapers your dog ate.
If possible, bring an unused diaper with you, so your vet can determine what materials it is made of (it’s also a good idea to try to “recreate the scene of the crime” before you head to the vet, so you can determine how much of the diaper your dog consumed).
At this point, your vet will likely want to determine exactly where the diaper is in your dog’s digestive tract. He or she may do so in a number of ways:
Once your vet has a better idea of where the diaper is, he or she can devise a treatment plan.
In some cases, your vet may try to get your dog to vomit the diaper up or prescribe a laxative or enema to help your dog expel the diaper via the other route. Your vet may even believe that the diaper will pass on its own, and simply recommend that you wait for your dog to poop it out.
If none of these options appear like viable strategies, your vet will likely need to remove the diaper manually. In a best-case scenario, this can be accomplished by inserting long, flexible tools into your dog’s mouth or rectum, which will allow your vet to remove the stuck diaper.
However, surgery may be required in some cases.
Dogs are famous for eating pretty unappetizing things, including tampons, dead animals, and “treats” harvested from your cat’s litter box. But diapers are perhaps the most revolting items they occasionally consume.
The question is: What on earth makes them want to do so?
As with so many other aspects of dog behavior, no one knows for sure.
On the one hand, dogs are pretty intelligent creatures, who normally act in deliberate, sensible ways. If they have a problem, they’ll take steps to correct it – although the steps they take may seem strange to humans.
For example, if they’re hungry, they may go foraging in the trash can. If they’re thirsty, they may drink from the toilet.
But dogs also do plenty of things that are just bizarre. They roll around on animal carcasses, they chew on toilet paper, and they often take great offense to vacuum cleaners. Other dogs will try to eat just about everything they can get access to! Dogs surely have their reasons for doing these things, but the logic is typically lost on their humans.
Diaper-eating behavior largely falls into the latter category, but there are also some pretty logical reasons why they occasionally seem to find diapers irresistible.
For starters, as gross as it sounds, dogs do occasionally eat poop. This is likely an evolutionary holdover from the days when they (and their wolf ancestors) had to scavenge food from everywhere possible.
Poop usually contains some undigested material, meaning that it actually represents a source of calories (I’m gonna go barf now, feel free to do the same).
Additionally, dogs often like to chew on things with interesting textures – especially if they’re bored, frustrated or teething. They usually pick things like shoes, TV remotes, and couch cushions, put just about anything they can reach is fair game, including diapers.
It is also possible that diaper-eating can be triggered by feelings of jealousy or anxiety related to the arrival of a new baby.
Dogs sometimes chew on things that they associate with a source of anxiety or frustration, and it’s possible that your pup may find that chewing on your baby’s diapers helps soothe some of these feelings.
When Your Dog Eats a Diaper: Take Immediate Action
If you notice or suspect that your dog has eaten a diaper (in whole or in part), you’ll want to call your vet immediately.
Diapers represent a number of potential dangers, and prompt veterinary attention is imperative for giving your dog the best chance at a full recovery.
Your vet may recommend that you encourage your dog to vomit by administering a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. However, vomiting can occasionally make things worse, so don’t force your dog to vomit until you speak with your vet first (this also goes for anytime your dog eats anything dangerous or toxic).
In some cases, your vet may recommend that you bring your dog in for immediate treatment. Your vet may want to make your dog throw up or perform a procedure called a gastric lavage to “wash out” your pet’s stomach.
But it is also possible that your vet will just encourage you to observe your dog and act accordingly.
If you cannot reach your vet for some reason, you can try calling the Pet Poison Helpline instead (fees will apply). Alternatively, you can try using JustAnswer’s Vet Services. This will give you the chance to chat with a staff veterinarian (and share photos or video), who can help you figure out your next steps.
Note that you should just load your dog in the car and drive directly to the closest vet or veterinary hospital if your dog looks like he is having trouble breathing, appears panicked, or loses consciousness.
Diagnostics Performed On A Dog That Ate A Diaper
If your dog eats a diaper, there are a few diagnostics that can help your vet paint an accurate picture of their current situation.
While this will vary based on how long ago your dog ate the diaper, let’s discuss a few options.
Sometimes shreds of the diaper can be trapped in your dog’s mouth or throat, so your vet will likely perform an oral exam to rule this out.
If your dog ate the diaper longer than 24 hours ago, your vet may perform a rectal exam to see if they can feel any obstructions toward the end of their colon. This is even more likely if your dog is having any difficulty passing stool.
While diaper material may not be visible on x-ray, it can show any evidence of obstructive patterns or potential blockages.
This can help your vet visualize the potential blockage, monitor its movements, or determine whether or not surgery is recommended.
Ultrasound is another way to search for any evidence of obstruction throughout the GI tract.
This can be even more indicative of obstruction in some cases, as the material can be so challenging to see evidence of on x-ray in some cases.
If your vet believes the diaper is in your dog’s stomach, they can use an endoscope to visualize it.
This involves your dog being sedated, moving the endoscope down their throat and into the stomach, and taking s of the stomach.
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