My Dog Ate Q-tips! Top Concerns And What To Do!

Pet dogs are an absolute joy to have around, aren’t they? Their boundless energy and the comfort they provide can cheer you up on even the gloomiest of days.

But, dogs’ curious nature often leads them into some peculiar and sometimes dangerous situations. If you’ve had puppies I’m sure you’ve found your pooch munching on things she shouldn’t.

Knowing when that odd snack is weird and gross versus when it can be deadly is all part of raising our canine pals.

So what about when your dog eats cotton swabs? My dog ate Q-tips, now what?

The quick and easy answer is that you need to keep an eye on your dog to make sure she doesn’t suffer from anything like internal bleeding (from the plastic applicator), a blockage (in her digestive system), choking (more likely to be discomfort than inability to breathe) or poisoning (from chemicals on the cotton swab).

Hopefully, with a bit of luck, your good girl will pass the cotton swab(s) without any issues.

What Are The Dangers Of Your Dog Eating A Q-tip?

Let’s take a deeper look at the possible risks your good girl may face when she swallows a Q-tip (or twenty).


The most significant danger of your dog swallowing a Q-tip is the potential for blockage in her digestive system.

A blockage is not only a serious issue but could also prove deadly if not addressed promptly.

In many cases, a blockage might require surgery to remove the foreign object and save your dog’s life.


Depending on the brand, cotton swabs can have a plastic applicator, which might end up being a hazard if your dog chews on it.

If your dog chews up the cotton swab, the plastic applicator may end up becoming sharp or jagged.

Sharp edges can cause internal lacerations to your dog’s digestive system, which can lead to severe complications and may be fatal if not treated in time.


There’s also the risk of choking.

While swallowing a Q-tip may not always completely block your dog’s airway, it could still cause significant discomfort if it becomes stuck in her throat.

Keep a close eye on your dog and ensure she’s breathing without coughing and gagging if you suspect that she has swallowed a cotton swab.


This risk won’t come from the Q-tip itself, but it is a possibility depending on what chemical (if any) was on the cotton swab your dog ate.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats A Cotton Swab?

In the event your dog has ingested a cotton swab, check out these helpful tips to manage the situation.

If Your Dog Is Still In The Act, Stop Her

If you catch your furry friend in the act of eating Q-tips, it’s important to stop her as quickly and safely as possible.

Keep in mind that your safety is also important when you do this, you don’t want your good girl to accidentally bite you!

Watch For Distress

As I mentioned, a dog consuming a cotton swab(s) may face serious medical complications.

So, it’s critical to keep a close eye on her for at least 48 hours following the ingestion.

Be on the lookout for labored breathing, vomiting, general discomfort, or any other signs of a gastrointestinal blockage or internal bleeding that may occur.

Don’t Induce Vomiting Or Encourage Extra Food Consumption Without Consulting A Vet

While it might seem like a good idea to get your dog to vomit up the Q-tip or encourage her to eat additional food, it’s best to hold off on these actions until you’ve consulted with a veterinarian.

Each situation is unique, and your vet will need all the relevant information (e.g. your dog’s size, the number of cotton swabs she consumed, how long ago it was) to provide the best and most personalized advice for your pet.

Are Q-tips Toxic To Dogs?

Fortunately, unlike a lot of other crazy things dogs get into, Q-tips aren’t toxic to dogs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be deadly.

Sometimes the prime concern when a dog eats a cotton swab is what was on it. Because that could definitely be toxic!

Any number of things we put on cotton swabs could be poisonous to your pooch; nail polish remover for example.

Most likely the amount of any chemical on a Q-tip won’t be enough to cause any real problems, but still, it’s wise to keep an eye on your pup and check into the potential problems of whatever chemical your dog ingested can cause.

Will Dogs Pass Cotton Swabs?

Depending on the size of your dog, the number of cotton swabs or Q-tips she consumed, and a bit of luck, your sweet dog is likely to pass them.

However, she might experience some discomfort over the few days the process may take.

Can Q-tips Kill Dogs?

Unfortunately, yes – ingesting Q-tips can be potentially fatal to dogs. Gastrointestinal blockage and internal lacerations from plastic applicators pose a significant danger to your pet’s health.

That’s not to mention the medical risks your pooch may face from whatever chemical might be on the cotton swab.

Why Would A Dog Eat A Cotton Swab?

  • The Smell: Your Q-tip probably carries a scent from products you use, such as makeup or perfumes. Your dog likely associates these scents with you and may find them intriguing.
  • Curiosity: Simply put, dogs are curious. A stray cotton swab may present an enticing new object for your good girl to investigate.
  • Mistake: Maybe your dog mistook the Q-tip for a legitimate toy and accidentally ingested it.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating A Q-tip

To save your dog (and your wallet) from possible problems consider these three tips to prevent her from eating a cotton swab:

  • Train Commands: Make sure your dog knows commands, such as ‘leave it’ and ‘drop it’.
  • Keep Q-tips Out of Reach: Place your cotton swabs in a secure container or an area where your dog cannot access them. By doing this, you eliminate the chance of her gaining access to them.
  • Dispose of Used Cotton Swabs Securely: Make it a habit to put used cotton swabs in a trash bin with a lid that your dog cannot open.

Final Roundup: My Dog Ate Cotton Swabs!

The dangers of your dog eating cotton swabs include GI blockage, laceration, poisoning and choking.

A blockage may require surgery and could potentially be fatal. Lacerations in the digestive system can lead to serious complications, and a Q-tip stuck in your dog’s throat could make your dog extremely uncomfortable.

If you find your dog eating a Q-tip, do your best to safely stop her. Then monitor her closely for signs of distress or complications, and consult a veterinarian before taking any further actions.

Q-tips themselves aren’t toxic to dogs, but the substances on the cotton swab may be harmful.

Fortunately, the small amount of any chemical on a single cotton swab is unlikely to cause major harm. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be vigilant.

Your dog will probably pass consumed Q-tips depending on her size and how many she ate, but she could still face a lot of discomfort.

Dogs might be attracted to Q-tips due to their smell, curiosity, or mistaken identity.

To protect your good dog from harm, train her to understand essential commands, keep Q-tips out of reach, and dispose of them in a secure trash bin.

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