My Dog Ate Paper Towel What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 11/28/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dogs, for some reason, enjoy paper products, including paper towels. This is a common problem in dogs. They may find the paper towel in the garbage. And there are dogs that able to access the kitchen counter and pull a paper towel roll onto the floor. The pup may then enjoy chewing up and playing with the paper towels. However, a dog’s love affair with paper towels could lead to serious medical complications.

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But what should you do if you see your dog eat a paper towel? In this article, we’ll discuss how to handle your fur baby and his snacking on a paper towel!

What’s the Problem with my Dog Eating a Paper Towel?

Paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper are all made from wood pulp. The problem is that dogs are not able to digest the wood pulp that’s in these products.

In addition, your fur baby could eat a paper towel that has a harmful substance on it. For instance, paper towels are often used with cleaning products, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and other household chemicals. These could be very dangerous to your fur baby if he eats them.

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

Paper Towels & Medical Issues in Dogs

Eating a paper towel can cause serious issues for your fur baby. Let’s a look:

1). Bowel obstruction: this is a very serious medical emergency, which can be life-threatening. The paper towel could be lodged in the stomach or intestines. Signs of a bowel obstruction include lack of appetite, bloating, abdominal pain, inability to have a bowel movement, and weight loss. This condition is an emergency and you’ll need to call the vet immediately.

2). Stomach upset: this isn’t as worrisome as an intestinal blockage, but your canine companion won’t feel too well. He may develop an upset stomach and could vomit the paper towel back up. He can even develop diarrhea.

3). Poisoning: if the paper towel was used to clean, and contains cleaning products, your fur baby could be poisoned. This is another medical emergency that requires an immediate trip to the vet.

4). Difficulty swallowing: in this instance, the paper towel may have become lodged in the back of your dog’s mouth, or in his trachea. You may notice that he’s having trouble swallowing, is coughing or retching, as if trying to vomit, but nothing comes up. This is another medical emergency and you must call the vet immediately.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Has Eaten a Paper Towel?

Here are the steps you can take if your dog has eaten a paper towel:

  1. Don’t Panic

The first thing you can do is to stay calm. Not only does staying calm help you, but it also helps your dog. He depends on you for his care, including in times of emergency. Having a clear head helps you relay the right information to the vet, too.

  1. What Did Your Dog Eat?

Next, it’s time to determine what your fur baby has eaten. Did the paper towel have anything on it, such as cleaning products or food? Did your dog eat more than one paper towel?

Do Not Induce Vomiting

Do not induce vomiting, unless your vet has said you should do so. Inducing vomiting at home can be dangerous.

  1. Check Your Dog

Is your dog showing any symptoms after eating the paper towel? Make note of any symptoms he’s having. The vet will also want to know at what time the paper towel-eating incident occurred.

  1. Call the Vet

Now that you have the information ready, it’s time to call the vet. They will ask you some of the questions we included above and may ask a few other questions. Your vet will let you know the next steps to take to help your fur baby.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once at the vet’s, they will perform a physical examination and run medical tests. Tests can include x-rays, if your fur baby appears to have a bowel obstruction. The x-rays will also show where the paper towel is located in your dog’s digestive system.

Your vet may induce vomiting if the paper towel hasn’t progressed past your fur baby’s stomach.

If the paper towel has moved farther down, the vet may choose to perform an endoscopic procedure. A long tube will be inserted into your canine companion’s mouth and it will grab the towel and bring it out.

However, if the paper towel is causing an intestinal blockage, your fur baby will likely require surgery.

The prognosis is good for your dog if you seek early treatment.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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