My Dog Ate a Washcloth What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Evie Moloney, RCVS •  Updated: 11/13/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Pet parents are caught off guard when they have a dog who eats anything and everything. There are some discerning dogs around, but chances are your fur baby may eat weird non-food items. We’re glad you’re here. We’ve put together some information to help you know what to do if your dog has eaten a washcloth.

Anything That’s Accessible is a Target—Including Washcloths

Some dogs just love to eat anything that grabs their fancy. We wonder about these strange habits, especially when it comes to inedible items such as a washcloth. Why on earth would a dog eat a washcloth?

Why Did My Dog Eat a Washcloth?

Maybe the dog just wants to play with it, or perhaps the washcloth fell on the floor, and now it’s fair game. Another possibility is that the washcloth may smell like some yummy food to the dog.

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

Do you have a puppy? If so, puppies are drawn to anything they find in their environment, including a washcloth! Puppies like to teethe and chew on things as their adult teeth come in. Chewing on a washcloth may soothe your fur baby’s gums, though eating it is not good for him.

Some adult dogs may eat non-food items, such as a washcloth if they have a health condition called pica. Parasites, maldigestion, malabsorption, and other health issues may cause pica.

Dogs may also eat something like a washcloth if they are suffering from stress and anxiety.

What to Do If Your Dog’s Eaten a Washcloth

First, don’t panic, and don’t induce vomiting at home. Inducing vomiting at home is never recommended. This is because f Forcing your fur baby to vomit could lead to him choking on the washcloth as it comes back out. This can also lead to a very serious condition called aspiration pneumonia if any stomach contents get into their lungs. Instead, it’s best to call the vet and/or take your dog to the vet right away. If this happens in the middle of the night, then it’s a good idea to contact a 24-hour emergency care vet in your area.

The main concern here is that the washcloth could become stuck in your dog’s stomach, or it could pass through to his intestines. Either situation can be dangerous for your fur baby.

Some dogs may vomit the washcloth out on their own if the washcloth is still in the stomach. If this happens, it’s still a good idea to call your vet. They may still want to see your dog to make sure everything’s OK as the rough surface of washcloths could irritate your dog’s digestive system (tummy).

If the washcloth doesn’t come back, then there’s a danger it can remain in your canine companion’s stomach. The washcloth could become stuck in the stomach for a long time. Or the washcloth could block the opening from the stomach to the intestines. This is a serious condition.

Another problem, if the washcloth doesn’t come up on its own, is that it could pass through into the intestines, become stuck, and cause an intestinal blockage. This is a serious condition that can lead to death if not treated quickly.

Symptoms to Watch For

Here are some symptoms to watch for if your dog has eaten a washcloth:

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, it’s best to call the vet immediately. This could be an emergency.

For these reasons, it’s always best to call the vet right away to ask for their advice on how best to handle this situation.

Once your vet has treated your fur baby for eating a washcloth, they may want to run tests. The tests may be necessary to determine if your dog has any underlying health issues, such as pica. Curing the underlying health issue will improve your canine companion’s overall health.

You may also need to train your dog the cue “drop it” when he has something he shouldn’t. Eating a washcloth can be pretty dangerous, so teaching your dog this cue could save his life and your washcloths!

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Evie Moloney, RCVS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Evie is a vet surgeon who graduated from the University College Dublin, which is the only university offering the veterinary medicine degree in Ireland. She really enjoys surgery and has also worked as an emergency and critical care vet. She is passionate about sharing education about preventative health care for pets, especially the importance of regular dog and cat teeth brushing at home. She also enjoys helping owners find practical solutions for keeping pets as comfortable as possible while living with conditions such as arthritis. When not working, she enjoys hiking and swimming.

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