As scavengers, dogs instinctively eat just about anything they can find. Even though they can’t always scavenge the healthiest diet, it does help them to survive in the wild. Having said that, when we have dogs as pets, we should help them get the all nutrients they need and deserve without taking on the risks of eating something bad.
With some dogs though, this can be a lot easier said than done. These are the dogs I picture Scooby-Doo being based on. Gobbling up everything in sight! If you accidentally drop a bite of pomelo, and your dog eats it, no big deal right? But what about when your dog gets into something he shouldn’t?
Say he eats a scrunchie from your nightstand or steals a piece of fried calamari, then what? As a responsible dog owner, you need to know what is okay for your dog to eat and what isn’t. If your dog swallows something that he shouldn’t you need to be able to find the correct information and act as well.
So, what about dryer sheets? What happens when your dog eats a dryer sheet? The quick and easy answer is: If the dryer sheet was used then pay attention to your dog to make sure he doesn’t start showing signs of distress. If the dryer sheet wasn’t used, then you may wish to call poison control or your vet for further immediate advice.
Why Do Dogs Like Dryer Sheets?
To us, dryer sheets seem like an odd choice of something to eat. Dogs view, smell, and taste the world differently than us though. Dogs have a much better sense of smell than we do, and they often use their sense of smell to help them decide what they want to eat but that’s not the only reason they may decide to eat a dryer sheet.
Dryer Sheets Smell Yummy To Your Dog
Many dryer sheets contain chemicals that are designed to mask smells or make things smell fresher. These chemicals can be appealing to a dog’s sensitive nose and may make the dryer sheet seem like a tasty treat.
Your Dog Is Bored
Another reason your dog may be eating dryer sheets is that he’s bored. If your dog is bored, he may start chewing on things and even eating them to help relieve that boredom. Things such as your clothes, shoes, or even a dryer sheet are all fair game to a bored dog.
If your dog is eating dryer sheets because he is bored, try giving him more toys to play with or taking them on more walks to keep them occupied.
The Scent Reminds Your Dog Of You
The scent of a dryer sheet might remind your pet dog of you because it is similar to the scent of your clothes. Because there are so many good experiences and associations, it is only natural that a dog would enjoy the scent of its owners and may be attracted to the smell of the dryer sheets they use.
Your Dog Thinks The Dryer Sheet Is His Toy
Finally, it could be that your dog sees dryer sheets as his toy. He may have played with one before without consequences. Or even chewed on them a few times and now thinks of dryer sheets as his. If this is the case, try to get your dog some new toys that he can chew on and play with. Then use commands such as ‘no’ to make him understand that you don’t want him playing with or eating dryer sheets.
Is It Dangerous For Dogs To Eat Dryer Sheets?
It can be dangerous for dogs to swallow a dryer sheet. Aside from the obvious risk of choking there are also two other serious dangers that are present for a dog that ate a dryer sheet. A blockage of the GI tract and chemicals from the dryer sheet are ways eating one can also be dangerous for your dog.
Swallowing a dryer sheet can pose a choking hazard for your dog. If the dryer sheet is large enough, it could get lodged in your dog’s throat and block his airway. If this happens, you will need to take action to help your dog breathe and then get your dog to the emergency vet immediately.
Another danger of swallowing a dryer sheet is that it could cause a blockage in your dog’s GI tract. The dryer sheet will not be able to be digested and if your dog doesn’t successfully pass it, it might cause an obstruction that could need to be surgically removed.
Dryer sheets are covered in chemicals. Depending on the brand of dryer sheet, these chemicals can range from being mildly irritating to your dog’s mouth and digestive system to possibly being toxic if ingested.
If the dryer sheet was used, that is run through a dryer already, the good news is that the heat from the dryer will have helped to dissipate a lot of the chemicals.
If the dryer sheet was not used, then it is more likely that it will still contain a high concentration of these chemicals.
If you are concerned that your dog may have ingested a toxic chemical, call poison control or your vet right away.
How Can You Tell Your Dog Swallowed A Dryer Sheet?
While dogs aren’t known to be the most cunning animal, they are good at being sneaky when they feel the need. Especially when it comes to things they know they’re not supposed to have or do. I’ve had first-hand experience with this when one of our dogs used to get on our couch all the time, but only when we weren’t home!
Dogs also can be lightning fast. A dog can gobble something up before you even realize it is something he is interested in.
If you think your dog ate a dryer sheet, there are a few signs and symptoms you can look out for that may help you confirm your suspicions.
Vomiting Or Passing The Dryer Sheet
I’ll start with the most obvious one and work up to the more important and serious ways to tell that your dog swallowed a dryer sheet.
If your dog is vomiting or passing bits of a dryer sheet in his stool, this is a sure sign that he’s eaten one. Similarly, if your dog has pieces of a dryer sheet in his mouth, odds are he swallowed at least some of it.
The Dryer Sheet Is Gone
Another obvious but not as conclusive way to know is the dryer sheet is gone. If you dropped a dryer sheet right next to your dog and now it’s nowhere to be found, there’s a decent chance that your dog ate it.
Your Dog’s Breath Smells Like A Dryer Sheet
Dogs usually have pretty strong, bad breath but the chemicals and scents of a dryer sheet can overpower even the stinkiest of dog breath. If you notice that your dog’s breath smells like a dryer sheet, there is a good chance he has eaten one.
Your Dog Has Symptoms Of Digestive Irritation
If your dog has swallowed a dryer sheet, he may experience digestive irritation. Symptoms of digestive irritation include vomiting and diarrhea. I’ll cover what to do if your dog ate a dryer sheet in more detail later, however, if your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms and you think he may have eaten a dryer sheet, call your vet right away.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Dryer Sheet?
The first thing you need to do if you suspect your dog ate a dryer sheet is to do your best to make sure that he actually did. While it isn’t always 100% possible to do so, there are signs (see above) that can help.
Observe Your Dog
Many dogs will pass dryer sheets without any serious problems. Especially if the dryer sheet was used and the chemicals are mostly gone.
However, you still need to keep an eye on your dog for any signs of digestive irritation. Specifically watch for any vomiting, diarrhea, or signs his GI tract is blocked.
If the dryer sheet was not used, meaning the chemicals are still there, it’s more likely that your dog will experience some level of digestive irritation.
Be ready to contact the proper professional if your dog starts showing signs of distress.
Should I Induce Vomiting, Give Extra Water Or Withhold Food?
There aren’t universal answers to these questions and they will vary on a case-by-case basis. Inducing vomiting, in some cases, could cause much more harm than good. Giving extra water and withholding food are also things that will depend on your unique circumstances.
To answer these questions, you are better off calling your vet and explaining your dog’s exact situation. Depending on the size of your dog, whether the dryer sheet was used, and many other factors, your vet will be able to give you advice tailored to your situation.
Contact Your Vet Or Poison Control
If, while observing your dog, he shows any signs of discomfort you probably want to be on the safe side and call your vet. In some cases, if your vet suspects the dryer sheet is blocking your dog’s intestines, your vet may decide to x-ray your dog, and surgery to remove the dryer sheet might be necessary.
If your dog ate an unused dryer sheet, call poison control right away. As I mentioned, unused dryer sheets still have chemicals on them that could potentially cause your dog digestive problems.
Will Most Dogs Pass A Dryer Sheet?
Dogs will generally pass a dryer sheet without any problems, but the size of your dog, the chemicals on the sheet, and luck all play into whether or not your dog will experience difficulties. Some dogs will eat a dryer sheet and have no issues, while others may become very ill. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with your dog eating a dryer sheet, and to take steps to prevent this from happening if possible.
Can Dogs Play With Dryer Sheets?
Because you don’t want your dog to eat a dryer sheet, it’s probably best if he doesn’t play with them either. If you use dryer sheets, make sure to keep them out of your dog’s reach.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Eating A Dryer Sheet?
The easiest way to stop your dog from eating objects they shouldn’t, like a dryer sheet, is simply by paying attention to them. If you notice them chewing on something inappropriate, take it away and give them an alternative such as a toy or treat.
Do your best to keep any unattended items out of their reach if possible. I know this isn’t always feasible or realistic, but it’s worth doing your best.
Teach your dog what they can and can’t have with the “Leave It” and “Drop It” commands. Knowing these commands could save your dog’s life if you catch him in the act of chewing on or eating something dangerous because you’ll be able to keep them from consuming something harmful.
‘Leave It’ and ‘Drop It’ Commands (Video Tutorials)
By teaching your dog these commands, you could save him from a lot of trouble–like eating a dryer sheet.
Wrapping It Up: My Dog Ate A Dryer Sheet
Eating a dryer sheet is not something you want your dog to do, but don’t panic. In most cases, dogs will pass a dryer sheet without any problems, but there is always the potential for complications. If you think the dryer sheet was unused call your vet or poison control immediately.
As a general rule of thumb, if your dog is acting normal then they are probably fine. Watch for any vomiting or diarrhea and call your vet if these symptoms or other signs of distress show up.
Preventing your dog from getting a hold of and eating objects he shouldn’t is the best way to avoid any potential problems. Pay attention to him, and keep items you don’t want him to eat out of reach.
Teach your good boy the ‘Leave It’ and ‘Drop It’ commands. Knowing these commands could save your dog’s life if he ever gets into something he shouldn’t.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what to do if your dog ate a dryer sheet. Remember, every situation is different and you know your dog best. If you are unsure of what to do or think your dog may be having a medical issue, contact your veterinarian right away.