My Dog Ate a Cotton Ball What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 12/06/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dogs eat all kinds of things, including many things they shouldn’t! Does your fur baby have a penchant for almost anything he finds? If so, you’re not alone. This is a common problem that many pet parents deal with. Dogs have even been known to try a cotton ball or two!

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Dogs Eating Foreign Objects

Why do dogs eat such strange things? Because they’re dogs! Dogs are highly curious by nature. As a result, they use their mouths to explore their surroundings or things they find. For instance, if you’ve accidentally dropped a cotton ball on the floor, your fur baby may wander over and see if this is a tasty morsel of some kind! He doesn’t know and wouldn’t like to pass up any snack or treat that falls on the floor.

Dogs have been known to eat socks and other clothing, rocks, candy wrappers, paper, tissues, sticks, bones, and more. Some of these items will cause no problem and will pass through the dog’s digestive tract without any harm. However, some of these items can cause problems. Large objects, objects with unusual shapes, or sharp items can all cause problems.

Dogs, especially puppies, are attracted to round things that roll, like cotton balls! A dog may have a fun time chasing one or more cotton balls across the room. After a while, a pup will become curious and wonder if that cotton ball’s good to eat, and down it goes!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

However, if your fur baby continuously eats non-food items, he could be suffering from a condition called pica. Pica causes dogs to eat inedible items like socks, rocks, cotton balls, and more. It’s almost as if the dog is compelled to eat non-food items.

Pica is more common in adult and adolescent dogs. If a dog has this condition, he may be focused on eating one thing or any non-food item. An underlying health issue can cause the condition or be psychological or behavioral. For instance, stress and anxiety may cause pica in a dog. Underlying health issues that may cause pica include liver disease, diabetes, anemia, thyroid disease, and gastrointestinal parasites. Some medications, such as steroids, may cause pica.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Cotton Ball

If your fur baby has eaten just one cotton ball, chances are he will be OK. If the cotton ball didn’t cause your dog to choke or cause breathing issues, then he should be OK. Cotton balls are very soft and easy to crumple, meaning they should just pass through your fur baby’s digestive tract OK.

In these cases, it’s always a good idea to watch your dog for any signs or symptoms he’s having a problem. The symptoms to watch for include:

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, then it’s best to go ahead and call the vet immediately. Your fur baby could have developed a stomach issue or could have developed an intestinal blockage.

On the other hand, if your dog appears to be acting normally, do watch for any signs he’s not feeling well. Also watch your dog’s poo for the next couple of days to see if the cotton ball passes through without problem. You’ll see the cotton in your dog’s poo, but keep in mind the cotton ball will look different. It won’t look the same as when it went in!

Will My Dog Pass the Cotton Ball?

Most dogs can easily pass a cotton ball, including puppies. Cotton balls are very soft and smashable. In addition, the acid in a dog’s stomach can break down the cotton, causing it to dissolve somewhat. The digestive process makes the cotton ball easier for your canine companion to pass.

What If My Dog Ate Several Cotton Balls?

If your canine companion has eaten several cotton balls, it’s best to call your vet ASAP. The problem is that several cotton balls could potentially cause an intestinal obstruction in your dog’s digestive tract. This can be a very dangerous condition for your dog.

As always, if you have any concerns or worries, then be sure to call your vet right away. They’ll have the best advice on what you need to do for your fur baby.

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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