My Dog Ate Kleenex Will He Get Sick? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS •  Updated: 11/17/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dogs love to go after kleenex! They may tear into a box of innocent kleenex that’s happily residing on the kitchen counter. Then you come home from work to find your home filled with shredded, torn tissues everywhere! Or some dogs seem to prefer used kleenex, and dig them out of the trash to have some fun. But why do dogs go after kleenex?

Why Dogs Love Tissues

Some dogs just like to have fun and take advantage of tissues that are out and easily accessed. Your fur baby may be a practical joker—they do exist in the doggie world!

Other dogs may be bored, need attention, suffer from separation anxiety, etc. In these cases, the dog may do whatever they can just to get attention. Even negative attention is better than being completely ignored.

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

And then there are the dogs that have dietary indiscretion. They will eat anything and everything simply because it looks interesting, smells good, etc. For dogs who like to try everything, they may find your used kleenex is a wonderful treat! The smell, taste, etc. can just be too tempting for a dog to ignore. This is why dogs go after other items such as used underwear, socks, and more.k

One more reason that dogs eat things they shouldn’t is called pica. Pica is a condition that can be caused by lack of nutrition or because they’re bored and anxious.

Is Kleenex Dangerous for My Dog to Eat?

Chances are if your fur baby eats one or two tissues, he will be OK. Similarly, if he eats only a few small pieces he’s torn off, the kleenex shouldn’t cause any problems. More than likely, the tissue will pass through your dog’s system in a day or two. Just watch his poo for evidence of the kleenex and monitor his physical condition for any signs he may not be feeling well.

On the other hand, if your dog eats a large amount of tissues, then he could become sick. He may suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, and more.

The kleenex could even create an intestinal blockage, which is a medical emergency. You would need to watch for symptoms such as abdominal pain and swelling, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, excessive drooling, lack of appetite. This can be life-threatening, so if your dog shows any of these signs, then be sure to call the vet immediately.

How to Help Your Dog

Most pet parents get worried if their dog has eaten something he shouldn’t. Being worried is OK, but panicking is not good for you or your dog. So, the first thing you need to do is stay calm.

Try to figure out how many kleenex your fur baby may have eaten. Your vet will also want to know about what time this happened. They will also want to know if your canine companion has eaten several whole kleenex or only parts of them.

Next, you’ll need to check your dog’s symptoms (if he has any). Some dogs may act as if nothing is out of the ordinary, while others may start to vomit and show other symptoms. Watch your fur baby for these and other symptoms, such as being more quiet than usual, restless (he can’t seem to get comfortable), refusing to eat or drink, and having a bloated or hard belly.

This information is very helpful for the vet and helps them determine how to treat your dog.

Once you have all the information, be sure to call your vet.

Treatment of Kleenex Ingestion in Dogs

If your vet asks you to come to the clinic with your dog, it’s best to go right away. Treatment depends on your dog’s symptoms. In some cases, the vet may induce vomiting (if your dog ate the kleenex within the past 2-3 hours). If they determine your fur baby has eaten a large number of kleenex, they may use an endoscopic procedure to remove the tissues. Your fur baby may also require an IV drip to keep him hydrated. If he has developed intestinal blockage, the vet may need to perform surgery to safely remove the tissues.

In most cases, eating just a part of a tissue, eating one or tissues probably won’t cause your canine companion any trouble. However, if he eats several, then you’ll need to watch for signs of an intestinal blockage.

And if your fur baby is one of those who just like to shred kleenex for fun, you have our sympathies!

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Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. She has a keen interest in surgery and went on to do a post graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.

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