My Dog Ate Dryer Lint – Should I Worry?

Sometimes, we can be surprised by the objects that our dogs try to chew and swallow. All dog owners can relate to this unfavorable behavior that a dog can show, which can sometimes be unexplainable and cause harmful adverse effects. If your dog has ever shown such characteristics, keep reading to understand the origin and risks of this behavior. 

Many factors can trigger this kind of behavior in dogs, including stress, boredom, or even malnutrition. Sometimes, our pets can be deprived of certain essential nutrients and minerals, which can highly affect their physiology and downgrade their health status, leading to such behaviors. These factors can cause your dog to try and chew on different weird objects that come his way. Some dogs may chew foam balls, aluminum cans, or even highlighter pens

Another stimulus for this behavior is a dogs’ natural instinct to discover everything around them with their various senses. They mostly tend to explore their environment by using their olfactory sense and their gustatory system. Meaning they will try to understand the objects around them by chewing on them and eventually swallowing them. 

Is Dryer Lint Toxic to Dogs?

Don’t stress out too much if you ever notice that your dog has swallowed dryer lint, as it will most likely cause him no harm. Dryer lint is generally non-toxic for our dogs and will not lead to severe poisoning effects. The only effect that dryer lint can cause is intestinal obstruction, but this is also not very common. 

If we want to figure out the toxicity of a certain object, we might want to break down its components. Dryer lint, for example, is made up of some thin fabric fibers and some detergents to soften the clothes. Additionally, it can contain residues of soap, perfumes, or artificial dyes, which are usually harmless in small amounts.

These small amounts of chemicals will not be enough to cause poisoning; therefore, if your dog swallowed dryer lint, don’t stress yourself. Generally, dryer lint is too thin and small to cause any disturbance to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. So most likely, your dog’s body will be able to easily pass it when they defecate, and it won’t cause them any issues. 

What Happens if A Dog Eats Dryer Lint?

First of all, the dryer lint will pass through the oral cavity, then to the pharynx. This might cause choking or even the passage of pieces of fabric to the lungs. In general, this won’t cause any harm to your dog unless a large amount of lint is ingested, which will cause a blockage in the dog’s airways. 

If the dryer lint is swallowed, it will pass through the esophagus to reach the stomach. In the stomach, this fabric might cause irritability to the gastric mucosa. Thus the dog will show some discomfort signs which are not necessarily too dangerous. These signs, such as vomiting and abdominal pain, will be only caused by the presence of a foreign object in the stomach and do not necessarily indicate toxicity. 

Some dogs may show more severe signs of an upset stomach, to the point where they might start to vomit. They might show restlessness, lethargy, and diarrhea, which are general signs of intestinal obstruction. If you ever face this type of situation with your dog, try to provide them with a digestive support supplement to improve their general gut health. Also, Make sure you contact your vet to see if you might need to possibly pay them a visit. 

Why Would a Dog Eat Dryer Lint?

As we mentioned before, some dog behaviors can be hard to explain, especially if it’s the first time your dog exhibits this behavior. On the other hand, many factors can contribute to this activity and trigger your dog to do it. Sometimes, this behavior can be because your dog is unhappy or bored, and he’s doing this to entertain himself. 

If you leave certain objects in front of your dog, it is very likely that it will try to chew them just for the sake of exploring this material. This occurs due to the natural instinctive behavior of dogs which stimulates them to discover things with their mouth. So if your dog ever attempts to eat dryer lint, you don’t have to worry about it; just be more mindful of the objects they are able to reach. 

Suppose you notice that your dog is always hungry and tends to chew on different objects. In that case, this might signify that your dog has malnutrition. In some cases, this behavior can be triggered by an abnormal factor, which indicates the presence of a problem in your dog’s body. For this reason, you might want to provide him with some supplements and vitamins to compensate for this deficit. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate Dryer Lint?

If you have noticed the presence of this behavior for a while, you might want to get to the root cause. Try to find out the reasons and factors that cause this attitude, and attempt to resolve the origins of this behavior. And if you encounter a situation where your dog just ate dryer lint, keep reading to figure out what to do. 

The first thing you would want to do is check for any signs of choking or abnormal breathing and try to remove the stuck fabric from your dog’s throat. Secondly, keep observing your dog’s actions and movements, and try to detect any abnormal, pathological signs. If you notice severe signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness, contact your veterinarian immediately so he can perform adequate emergency procedures.  

If you are not in immediate reach of a veterinary doctor, keep monitoring your dog’s behavior for a while until you notice the excretion of the dryer lint in the feces. Ensure your dog has an available water supply, and keep food away for a while to prevent any complications. And finally, supply your dog with gut supplements to boost his gastrointestinal health. 


After all, these kinds of situations are very common among dogs, and dog owners can always relate to these problems. For this reason, all we can do is try to provide our pets with the best nutrition possible and keep them away from any harmful objects. Always monitor your dogs carefully when these situations occur, and contact your veterinarian in severe cases.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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