We’ve all been there: we leave the room for a moment, only to come back and find our beloved dog has gotten into something they shouldn’t have. One of the more puzzling and potentially concerning discoveries is when your dog has eaten part of a blanket. While it may seem like an odd behavior at first, understanding why dogs engage in this activity is key to addressing the issue and ensuring their safety.
Blanket eating in dogs can be linked to a self-comforting mechanism known as blanket sucking. This behavior is often triggered by stress and is more likely to occur in dogs that did not receive adequate maternal care as young pups.
This information, combined with knowledge on how to prevent the behavior and address any potential health risks, is essential for any pet owner who’s encountered a blanket-eating pup.
Dog Ate Blanket: Assessing the Situation
When your dog eats part of a blanket, it’s essential to assess the situation promptly to ensure their safety and well-being.
Determining the Size and Material of the Ingested Piece
First, it’s important to identify the type of blanket your dog ate and the size of the ingested piece. The impact on your dog’s health might vary depending on the material and the amount consumed:
- Type of blanket: Blankets can be made of various materials, such as fleece, cotton, or synthetic fabric. Each material will react differently in your dog’s digestive system.
- Size of the ingested piece: The size of the eaten fragment plays a crucial role in determining the risk level for your dog. A larger piece is more likely to cause intestinal blockage or complications.
Looking for Signs of Distress in Your Dog
After determining the size and material of the ingested blanket piece, closely monitor your dog for any signs of distress that could indicate an intestinal blockage or other issues:
- Lethargy: Your dog may show a lack of energy and interest in daily activities.
- Lip-smacking: This action might suggest discomfort or nausea.
- Vomiting: Regurgitating food or bile could point to an internal problem.
- Abdominal pain: If your dog exhibits signs of pain or discomfort in their abdomen, it could indicate a blockage.
- Loss of appetite: A decrease in appetite may suggest that your dog isn’t feeling well.
- Difficulty defecating: Struggling to pass stool could indicate an obstruction in the digestive system.
- Drooling: Excessive salivation may be a sign of gastrointestinal distress.
If you observe any of these symptoms or believe your dog’s condition is worsening, seek veterinary care immediately.
A veterinarian may perform an intestinal X-ray and, in severe cases, suggest surgery to remove the ingested blanket piece. Here’s more on blanket sucking from the AKC.
Initial Steps to Take
Removing Remaining Blanket Pieces
If you find out that your dog has eaten a part of a blanket, your first step should be to safely remove any remaining pieces that the dog may still have access to. This is important because your dog might be tempted to continue eating the blanket, which could lead to further complications.
Make sure to pick up all the leftover pieces of the blanket and keep them out of your dog’s reach.
The next step is to encourage your dog to drink more water. Providing your dog with plenty of water can help with the digestion process and may also facilitate the passage of the ingested blanket through the digestive tract. Drinking water also helps to prevent dehydration and constipation. Offer your dog fresh water and encourage them to drink it by:
- Refilling the water bowl frequently
- Using a water dispenser designed specifically for dogs
- Adding a little bit of low-sodium chicken broth to the water to make it more enticing
Remember, if you have any concerns or observe unusual behavior in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice. They can guide you on the next steps to take and whether any treatments or special care are necessary for your dog’s health.
When to Contact a Veterinarian
When a dog consumes part of a blanket, it is essential to closely monitor their behavior and be aware of any warning signs that may indicate a need for immediate veterinary care. In this section, we will discuss the warning signs to watch out for and the potential risks associated with a dog eating a blanket.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For
If your dog has consumed part of a blanket, it is important to be vigilant for the following symptoms which may warrant an urgent visit to the vet:
- Loss of appetite: A dog that is showing a sudden disinterest in food may be experiencing discomfort or blockage from the ingested blanket.
- Dehydration: Excessive thirst, sunken eyes, or dry gums are signs of dehydration, which could be caused by an intestinal blockage.
- Vomiting: Frequent vomiting may indicate that your dog is unable to process the ingested blanket material.
- Diarrhea: Loose, watery stools could signal a partial intestinal blockage.
- Weakness: Lethargy or weakness can be signs that your dog is unwell and needs medical attention.
- Abdominal pain and swelling: Tender or swollen abdomen may be indicative of a gastrointestinal issue due to the ingested blanket material.
Understanding Potential Risks
When a dog consumes part of a blanket, there can be several risks involved:
- Intestinal blockage: The blanket material may form a blockage in the digestive tract, impairing the normal passage of food and fluids.
- Infection: Ingesting foreign material may introduce bacteria into your dog’s gastrointestinal system, leading to an infection.
- Choking hazard: Smaller pieces of the blanket may become lodged in your dog’s throat, posing a choking risk.
- Surgical intervention: In some cases, a dog may require surgery to remove the ingested blanket material if it cannot be passed naturally.
If your dog displays any of these warning signs or you are concerned about their wellbeing after consuming a part of a blanket, it is vital to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible for an assessment and appropriate treatment options.
Long-Term Care and Prevention
Monitoring Your Dog’s Health
After your dog has ingested part of a blanket, it is crucial to closely monitor their health. Observe your dog for any signs of discomfort, such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. It is essential to remember that ingested materials like blanket pieces might take from 11 to 24 hours or even weeks to months to pass through your dog’s digestive system.
During this period, keep your dog well-hydrated and maintain a healthy diet to promote smooth digestion. Regular vet check-ups can be helpful for early detection of any complications.
Preventing Future Incidents
To prevent your dog from eating blankets in the future, you can consider the following:
- Chew Toys: Provide your dog with a variety of chew toys to keep them occupied and satisfy their chewing instincts.
- Bitter Apple Spray: Coat your blankets with a bitter apple spray, which will deter your dog from chewing on them.
- Remove Temptations: Keep blankets and other chewable items out of your dog’s reach when you are not around to supervise.
- Training: Teach your dog commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” to help them understand that chewing on certain items is not allowed.
- Mental Stimulation: Engage your dog in interactive games and activities to keep their mind sharp and reduce boredom. A tired dog is less likely to chew on household items.
By closely monitoring your dog’s health and taking the necessary steps to prevent future incidents, you can ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. Your vet may wish to observe the dog and wait for the blanket to make it’s way through your dog’s intestines.