Puppy pads are an important training tool, especially during the potty training period. However, dogs are mischievous creatures, and more often than not, the puppy pad can end up in the wrong place – in the dog’s belly. Yes, it is not uncommon for dogs to eat puppy pads.
My dog ate a puppy pad – now what? The consequences of a dog eating a puppy pad range from mild digestive upset to potentially life-threatening intoxication. Which scenario will occur depends on several factors and variables. In general, the first step after such an incident is calling the vet for advice.
In this article, we will talk about dogs eating puppy pads. We will cover the reasons, the possible scenarios, and when it is time to call the vet. We will also provide helpful tips on what to do and how to help your dog.
Why Do Dogs Eat Puppy Pads?
In most cases, dogs do not eat puppy pads on purpose. They usually start playing with the pad and are chewing on it. After a while, they accidentally end up swallowing some puppy pad pieces.
On rare occasions, dogs that eat puppy pads on purpose are suffering from a condition called pica or allotriophagia (a disorder manifesting with unusual appetite and eating inedible items).
What Happens if A Dog Eats a Puppy Pad?
What happens after a dog eats a puppy pad depends on several factors, including:
- Type of the puppy pad (absorbability and whether it contains chemicals)
- The number of consumed puppy pads
- Whether it was chewed or simply gulped down
- The dog’s size and overall health profile.
Based on these variables, there are several possible scenarios. To make things easy to understand, let’s take a closer look at each of those scenarios.
Scenario number 1: Digestive upset
Digestive upset is to be expected whenever a dog eats something it should not have, and puppy pads are not an exception. The digestive upset can be mild and transient or severe and dehydrating. In the first case, it can be managed at home, while in the second, veterinary assistance is vital for stabilizing the dog. The telltale signs of digestive upset include vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, and dehydration.
Scenario number 2: Constipation
Sometimes, instead of causing diarrhea, the presence of the puppy pad inside the dog’s digestive system can trigger constipation. The transient time within the GI tract is less than 24 hours. However, when there is a foreign object, the timeframe is likely to be prolonged. Plus, since the puppy pad is a physical barrier, it may cause temporary constipation. Constipation can also be a sign of a more serious outcome – obstruction, so careful monitoring is critical.
Scenario number 3: GI tract obstruction
The main issue with puppy pads is their absorbability. Namely, puppy pads are designed with one purpose – to absorb urine and fluids. This is something they will do no matter where they are. Namely, once in the stomach or intestines, the puppy pad will start absorbing fluids which will lead to its expansion. The more expanded it gets, the more likely it is to get stuck and cause obstruction.
Are Puppy Pads Toxic if Eaten?
Not necessarily. Puppy pads can be toxic, but only if featuring certain chemical substances like grass scents, pheromones, and ammonia.
The role of these substances is to get the dog used to urinating outside and to mark the right urination spot. However, they are not meant for consumption and can pose a certain risk.
While grass scents and pheromones are not hazardous, ammonia can be. Ammonia poisoning is possible if a smaller dog eats a lot of puppy pads filled with ammonia chemicals.
Ammonia poisoning is an emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention. The signs include vomiting, excessive drooling, loss of coordination, convulsions, rapid breathing, etc.
What Do I Do if My Dog Eats a Puppy Pad?
If your dog ate a puppy pad, you must stay calm and evaluate the situation. By evaluating the situation, we mean:
- Try to determine how much the dog ate
- Check the puppy pad’s ingredients.
With this quick evaluation being performed, there are two options:
- Option number 1: If the dog did not eat much and the pads are not toxic – call your trusted veterinarian. Explain what happened and follow the vet’s advice. In most cases, you will be instructed to monitor your dog and call with an update if there is something worrisome going on. The vet will also suggest feeding them a bland diet in small portions but frequently. If necessary, Pepto Bismol can be given to settle the stomach.
- Option number 2: If the dog ate a lot and the pads are toxic – call Pet Poison Helpline. This is a more serious situation and requires a proactive approach. In general, you will be instructed to give your dog lots of water and head toward the nearest emergency clinic. In practice, such intoxication is not particularly common, but better to be safe than sorry.
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY DOG FROM EATING PUPPY PADS?
As a pet parent, you need to be prepared for everything. Although you cannot predict and prevent every single hazardous situation, there are some things you can do to decrease your dog’s chances of eating puppy pads. Here is what you can do.
Tip number 1: Use duct tape
As simple as it sounds, this works. Just get a strong duct tape and use it to tap the pad to the floor. If there are no wiggly parts, the dog is less likely to get interested in playing with the pad and end up eating it.
Tip number 2: Get a pad holder
Instead of using duct tape, you can invest in a specially designed pad holder. Such holders are readily available and practical. There are many different brands offering puppy pad holders.
Tip number 3: Provide lots of chew toys
Make sure your dog has plenty of chew toys. Chewing is natural to dogs, and all you can do is focus the chewing on something that is acceptable to be chewed on. You can also rotate the toys to keep your dog interested.
Summing Up: Dog Ate Puppy Pad
A dog eating puppy pads can result in a simple stomach upset bout or culminate in a potentially life-threatening intoxication. The outcome depends on several variables.
On your own, you cannot establish what will happen. Therefore, if your dog ate a puppy pad, it is best to call the vet and seek help.
It is important to stay calm and explain what happened. Then, you need to follow the instructions and never self-treat your dog.