My Dog Ate String from a Rope Toy: What Can I Expect?

Having a dog around the house can be fun and heartwarming, but you will often be in and out of the vet if you aren’t careful. Canine companions love to explore things with their teeth, but they also swallow bits of these materials most of the time. Fortunately, many foreign bodies can pass through a dog’s digestive system without wreaking havoc, but we may not always be lucky.

One of the most common toys recommended for adult dogs and puppies is the rope toy – you can use it to play with your pet, or they can enjoy it on their own. But if your dog ate string from a rope toy, what should you expect? This foreign object is feared in the world of pet digestive health because of its linear structure. Compared to eating a pen, bottle cap, or chunks of rubber and plastic, a long piece of rope does more damage.

This short piece will discuss the effects of a dog eating string from a rope toy. Summarily, string or rope is one of the most dangerous things your pet can eat. But don’t panic; many dog owners have been in your situation, and we will show you how they handled it shortly!

Why Does My Dog Eat String From Rope Toys?

A dog eats strings from rope toys out of boredom or even excitement. Furthermore, when teething, the gums naturally desire a respite from the ache and nibbling on soft, pliable material like a rope toy will help. But overall, dogs like to exercise their teeth, and chewing on things is one way to do that.

Sometimes, though, they may swallow the things they chew. Note that this may also be out of curiosity, and it can make puppies eat improper things like carpet padding. Your pet does not have flexible use of his fingers, and palm like you do, so his best bet is to use his teeth and paws to get a good feel. He gets this way when bored; if you haven’t played tug with him in a while, he may chew on the rope while reminiscing or trying to expend the energy.

Anxiety may also be the reason your dog has eaten string from a rope or any other improper material, for that matter. A significant sign of anxiety in dogs is destructive behavior, such as tearing apart his rope toy. Ultimately, these could be symptoms of a condition called pica in dogs. The consumption of inedible materials characterizes it.

What Are the Symptoms to Look Out for If My Dog Ate a String?

If your dog ate a string, it is unlikely he will be able to hide it. Unfortunately, it can be life-threatening and a significant symptom to look out for is vomiting. There will also be a noticeable loss of appetite coupled with excessive thirst. If you suspect your dog has eaten a piece of string, you must keep your eyes on him for the next five days or until the rope is out of his system.

The biggest threat of having a string in his digestive system is the intertwining that can happen while digestion attempts to take place. It can cause a tightening and interlocking that may result in internal bleeding. Bunched-up intestines can be very discomfiting, not to talk of deadly, so watch your pet for signs of pain. There will also be diarrhea which indicates the presence of a foreign body.

Your pet will exhibit a different behavior during this period, so you should observe him when you believe he has eaten a string. If he does not pass it through his poop, he will need surgery to have it removed. However, the one thing not on your side when your dog eats a string is time. This is one of the most dangerous things your pet can ingest, so make that call to the vet right away.

Can a Dog Pass a String?

A dog can pass a string, but he would be fortunate if that happens. One of the most dangerous things a dog can swallow is a string, and that is because one part may get caught under his tongue or in his stomach while the other end tries to move through the intestines. Imagine the process of tugging; it does not often go smoothly and instead causes an interloping or tearing of the intestines.

If string somehow manages to remain balled up throughout the digestive process, which is unlikely, it will pass through the large intestine and come out through poop. Note that it cannot be digested or broken into a liquid form because of the materials it is made from. So, pray that it passes through his system without interlocking with his innards.

If a dog swallows string from a rope, there are three ways it plays out. The dog either vomits the string, passes it out through his poop, or has it surgically removed before it does further damage. One of the most dangerous things you can do for your pet is leave him untended if he has swallowed a linear object; don’t wait for him to pass the string as excreta; it is best to avoid taking that chance. The reason is that it doesn’t take much to get bunched up intestines if the rope stays there for a minute longer.

How Long Does it Take for a Dog to Poop Out a String?

Usually, it should take ten to twenty-four hours for a dog to poop out a string. However, his diet plays a role in the duration, along with fate. Your pet may be lucky enough that the rope goes from his throat straight to the large intestine and through the rectum without a glitch. You will know before the next night, so keep checking his poop.

On the other hand, your dog may not poop out the string and will need veterinary help with getting it out. Typically, you should monitor your pet for the next few days after he has swallowed a piece of string. If he acts abnormally, health-wise, then the vet needs to have an input.

The string will have to be removed surgically or with an endoscope. But we encourage tackling the situation head-on instead of waiting for nature to take care of business. And if you see a part of it hanging from his anus, don’t pull it. Leave it to come out naturally or cut the end that is peeking out.

My Dog Ate a String and Is Throwing up – What Should I Do?

If your dog ate a string and is throwing up, consider an emergency session with the vet. Unless your pet is retching while attempting to remove the string from his stomach, vomiting after eating a string is not normal and would need vet intervention. If symptoms like lethargy and diarrhea accompany it, it may indicate an intestinal obstruction.

If your dog ate a string, he might be throwing up because of an intestinal blockage, and this can happen between ten hours to two days after the ingestion. If the vomit has blood, it may indicate intestinal perforation, caused when your pet’s digestive system cannot break down the string. These symptoms are often accompanied by other conditions like constipation, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Ultimately, the vet is in the best position to handle a situation like this, and they will use endoscopy to try to extract it. If that does not work, you may need surgery. But your pet will be fine if you act fast.


If your dog ate string from a rope toy, you could handle the situation appropriately by providing lots of water. If there is hydration, your pet may easily pass the string out. But the one thing you want to avoid is hesitating with your decisions; call the vet if you have to.


  • 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!