Dog Ate a Q-Tip – What Now?

Dogs are very energetic and curious; they are always running around and love to touch and play with new intriguing things. That’s why it’s common for them to eat random things like rat poop and AZO cranberry pills, especially if they are untrained. It’s therefore not surprising if your dog ate q tips; at this point, it’s downright expected.

So if this has happened to you, don’t worry; you’re in good company. We know what that feels like and want to help you and your dog out. So in today’s post, we are going to talk about all you need to know about dogs eating q-tips. We’ll cover why they do this, what happens when they do, and what you should do about it.

We aim to go into intricate details, so prepare to be thoroughly informed. By the time you’re done reading this post, you won’t have to worry about your dog eating q tips ever again. 

Dog Ate Q-Tip

Why Does My Dog Eat Q Tips?

There are several reasons why your dog would be eating q tips. They could be doing this because they are hungry, bored, anxious, or feel abandoned. This is why it’s important to always ensure your dog is doing well mentally and keep q tips away from them. 

When dogs are bored, it’s common for them to bite and chew on things like q tips. This is particularly common if they spend a lot of time alone in the house and feel abandoned and anxious. Since they don’t know how to express their frustration, this is the best way they can express it. That’s why it’s always a great idea to get a recommended dog chew when you feel your dog is bored or has pent-up anxiety and frustration.

While a recommended dog chew can also help your dog deal with its hunger for a while, it is neither a healthy nor a permanent solution – you need to feed your dog enough. No matter how busy you are, you should give your dog enough food; it’s integral to keeping them healthy, happy, and unwilling to eat random items. If you’re unsure how much food you should give them or which nutrients you should double down on, check in with your vet.

What Happens when Your Dog Eats a Q Tip?

This depends on the type of q tip your dog ate. While a non-sterile 100% cotton q tip will most likely safely pass through your dog’s digestive tract, one made of other materials with added chemicals can pose a health risk. That aside though, all types of q-tips and foreign materials can block your dog’s digestive tract and prevent them from pooping. Even something as soft and as biodegradable as a cotton ball can cause a blockage. 

When it comes to your dog swallowing a q tip, the major thing you need to be concerned about is the size of the applicator and what material it’s made of. If it’s long and made of plastic, you should be worried, especially if its tips are made of a synthetic material like rayon or a polymer. Such q tips are harder to break down and can cause your dog pain/discomfort.

Your dog can also be in pain or vomit if they ingest a q tip with glue, nail polish/remover, or household chemicals like bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Fortunately, the side effects caused are only severe if your dog ingests large amounts of these chemicals. Some worse-case scenarios to look out for include lethargy and bowel problems.

My Dog Ate a Plastic Q Tip – What Should I Do?

When your dog eats a plastic q tip, the first thing you should do is feed them something that’s high in fiber – this will help regulate their digestive system. In this case, your best option is usually pure canned pumpkin – its soluble fiber lowers the pH of your dog’s gut while adding some weight to their stool. This creates a great environment for helpful bacteria and moves digestion along. Be careful not to give your dog a pumpkin pie mix, though – these mixes contain xylitol, a chemical that is dangerous for dogs. 

To further make it easier for your dog to expel the q tip, you can also feed them a mixture of white rice and boiled meat, preferably chicken – this can encapsulate the q-tip and speed things up. Since it takes longer to digest, avoid using red meat for this process. Also, monitor your dog for 2 to 3 days as you feed them the above-mentioned foods, and don’t try to induce vomiting. Apart from dehydrating your dog and forcing them to be put on IV fluids, vomiting can also regurgitate the plastic q-tip and cause choking. 

If you notice that your dog is in pain, is exhibiting abnormal behavior, or hasn’t flushed out the q-tip in 3 days, call the vet immediately and book an appointment. Other symptoms to look out for include diarrhea (sometimes bloody), vomiting, lethargy, lack of appetite. To keep your dog from ingesting a plastic q tip again, switch to paper q tips or 100% cotton ones – they are less harmful. Beyond that, you could dog-proof your trash can, buy chew toys, or invest in training/obedience classes to teach your dog not to eat random objects.  


Just because it’s common for dogs to eat q tips doesn’t mean that you should just accept it as part of your dog’s life. On the contrary, you can bring the chances of this happening to almost zero by paying attention to your dog’s physical, emotional, and psychological needs. So ensure they have enough food, chew toys, quality time with you, and training to know to stay away from q tips. Not only will your annual vet bill thank you for it, but you also won’t have to go through the hassle of trying to reach your vet on short notice.


  • 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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