Dog Ate Dryer Sheet? What Does It Mean?

Did you catch your dog in the act of eating dryer sheets and are worried that he might be in danger? Don't fret! 

While eating dryer sheets can be a problem, the truth is that not all dogs will get sick from eating them.

So, my dog ate dryer sheets; how do I know if he's in danger, and what do I do?

Every answer you seek has been deliberated over in this article, so read on below:

To begin with, if your dog ate fabric softener sheets, he is susceptible to having his digestive tract blocked and damaging his organs.

The likeliness of such blockage and damages is higher with puppies because of their smaller digestive tract.

The chemicals present in dryer sheets are not only dangerous to dogs but to cats and any other living being as well.

The chemicals commonly found in dryer sheet products are Benzalkonium Chloride and Cetrimonium Bromide, which aren't meant for consumption in any form (1). 

However, some products contain an excessively high amount of these chemicals, which, when they mix with your dog's intestinal fluids, may spark a series of reactions in your dog. 

They may upset your dog's stomach and cause some irritation in your dog's mucous membrane; even worse, your dog may develop acute kidney disease and have his liver, as well as his lungs, damaged.

For some dogs, the aftermath of eating dryer sheets may be burning and poisoning in their gastrointestinal tract, and they may have diarrhea to the point of dehydration.

In some other cases, if a dog is not treated early enough, the chemicals may damage his internal organs so badly that it will lead to death.

On the other hand, other than the chemicals found in dryer sheets, dryer sheets are made of absorbent materials, which can be a big problem for a dog if swallowed.

How?
Dryer sheets can swell when they mix with your dog's intestinal fluids, thereby making them block your dog's digestive tract. Even worse, they can also cause blockages in a dog's lungs, thus making food intake and respiration difficult.

Thankfully, you'll almost immediately notice the symptoms that will follow if your dog ate bounce dryer sheets and they are causing a blockage, in which case taking him to a vet immediately is important to save the day.

Dog Ate Dryer Sheet Symptoms To Look Out For

dog feeling unwell laying on the bed

If you suspect your dog chewed on used dryer sheets of caught him in the act, the following are the symptoms you will notice and should look out for:

  • Tenderness around the abdomen
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Prolonged sleep patterns
  • Difficulty in passing stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Continual vomiting
  • Diarrhea to the point of dehydration
  • Lack of interest
  • Seclusion or withdrawal into places he can't be seen

These symptoms are easy to detect, and, while it's difficult to tell if it's the consumption of dryer sheets that bringing about one of these symptoms, you'll be able to ascertain what the situation is if you notice at least four of these symptoms in your dog.

Chances of Your Dog Swallowing Dryer Sheets Without Any Problem

As hinted earlier in this article, not all dogs will develop complications from eating dryer sheets; this is because factors such as age, health condition, and the type of dryer sheets can determine if your dog is in danger or not.

"So, what are my dog's chances?"
First, your dog will most likely not develop any complications from eating dryer sheets if he is an adult dog.

This is because an adult dog will definitely has a big digestive tract; hence the dryer sheets may digest properly while he excretes it along with his stool when emptying his bowels; 

This is why puppies, as well as small-sized dogs, are at greater risk, given that the dryer sheets can get stuck and cause blockages due to their small digestive tract. 

While this may seem to relieve if you own a big dog, note that the number of dryer sheets your dog consumed is equally important to take note of.

Certainly, one or a couple of dryer sheets will most certainly go through without any problem than three, four, five, or more.

Second, if a dog has underlying health conditions such as obesity, it could spell trouble if your dog snuggles bounce dryer sheets.

Lastly, the type of dryer sheets consumed is also a determiner. While used dryer sheets are almost equally bad, there will likely not be any problems if your dog ate used dryer sheets.

This is because they may not have the chemicals found in unused ones anymore. Even better, they won't swell in a dog's digestive tract as fresh ones; hence the chances of a blockage are less.

Although knowing that your dog's age, as well as the condition of the tampon consumed and the amount, is an advantage, one shouldn't throw caution into the wind nonetheless.

Regardless of these factors, you should watch your dog closely and see if he develops the symptoms highlighted earlier.

What To Do If You Think Your Dog Ate A Dryer Sheet?

If a dog gains bounce dryer sheets, one of the first things I'd recommend you do is check the dryer sheets' packaging label. 

Why is this important?
The type of chemicals used in the dryer sheets may be inscribed on the label. With this information, you can know how potentially dangerous the dryer sheets consumed are to your dog.

If they contain a high amount of chemicals such as benzalkonium chloride and cetrimonium bromide, then your dog might be in danger.

Now, the problem with this is that some brands aren't honest with the type of chemicals used in their dryer sheets or the amount, so it may be difficult to tell how dangerous the sheets are.

This issue is compounded because the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) takes with leniency the issue of non-transparency with products' ingredients.

However, suppose you can't find information on the type of chemicals used in the dryer sheets or are skeptical about the feasibility of the ones on the label. In that case, you can call the brand's helpline to get more information and help.

Another option is to induce vomiting in your dog if he hasn't been long that he consumed the tampons — preferably less than an hour.

The longer the dryer sheets get stuck in his digestive tract, the longer the chemicals will dissolve and cause damage to his intestines.

If inducing vomiting isn't an option you'd want to consider for your dog, take him to a vet if he has begun to develop symptoms, although I recommend doing so even before any symptoms show up.

A vet will most certainly suggest that you give diets that include potatoes, rice, and even chicken; these diets will naturally help flush out the chemicals.

Alternatively, some medications may be administered to your dog if he is already being affected by the consumed dryer sheets.

Lastly, if the consumed dryer sheets have caused blockages in your dog's digestive tract, surgery may be required to remove them and bring relief to your dog. Talk with your vet to deliberate over which option will work best for your dog.

Final Thoughts

While keeping inedibles out of your dog's site all the time is almost impossible, you should try as much as possible to keep dryer sheets out of sight and make the laundry room inaccessible to your dog.

However, if your dog ate dryer sheets already, watch out for symptoms and take him to a vet if anything negative erupts. Also, avoid buying products that contain an excessive amount of chemicals when restocking your dryer sheets.

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