My Dog Ate Yarn What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 04/10/24 •  4 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Many people love to knit, crochet, or use yarn for other hobbies. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting and making something with yarn! Making things with yarn can have many benefits, including easing depression, improving concentration, increasing self-esteem, etc.

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But if you have a dog (or cat), practicing a yarn hobby, such as crocheting or knitting, can potentially be dangerous. But how?

Can yarn be dangerous for dogs if swallowed?

What is Yarn?

Yarn is like a very thick type of string, which is made from fibers that are woven together to make one, long string. It’s used to create a wide variety of items such as blankets, sweaters, hats, and more.

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

Yarn can be made from a wide variety of fibers, natural or synthetic. One of the most common fibers used in yarn is cotton. However, it can also be made from bamboo, polyester fibers, and more. Other natural fibers include animal hair such as wool, silk, and more.

Some people like to wind yarn into balls, which is fun. However, it may also become more appealing to dogs. They just see a ball and think it’s a toy they can play with.

What Happens if a Dog Swallows Yarn?

When a dog swallows something like yarn, which is similar to string, it can result in a very dangerous situation. The string can easily become balled up in the dog’s digestive tract and lead to a very painful, life-threatening condition called an intestinal blockage.

Another issue is that yarn can become a choking hazard, cutting of the air the dog needs to breathe.

Symptoms of an Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has swallowed yarn:

If you notice these symptoms in your dog, then call the vet immediately. This is a life-threatening medical emergency.

What to Do If Your Dog Has Ingested Yarn

It’s important to stay calm. We understand it’s scary when your dog eats something like yarn; however, he needs you to remain calm. When you’re calm, it’s easier to take steps to help your fur baby. Your dog will also stay calmer if he sees that you’re calm.

Next, try to determine how much yarn your canine companion has eaten. This can be challenging; however, an estimate of the amount of yarn can be helpful to the vet.

Does your dog have yarn protruding from his mouth? If so, do not pull the yarn. The problem is the same as if he had yarn protruding from his anus. Pulling the yarn and trying to remove it could cause serious internal damage.

Note down your dog’s age and weight, along with any symptoms he may have. Even if your dog’s not showing symptoms, it’s important to call the vet immediately. Your dog may develop symptoms over time instead of immediately after eating the yarn.

About what time did your dog eat the yarn? This may seem like a silly question, but the information can be extremely helpful to the vet.

Now call the vet and give them all the information you noted down.

Treatment for an Intestinal Blockage in Dogs

Note: if you notice yarn protruding from your dog’s anus, do not try to pull the yarn out. You may cause further damage to the dog’s intestines. Do not induce vomiting unless the vet instructs you to do so.

When you reach the vet’s office, they will perform a medical exam on your dog. Then they will run lab work and images (such as x-rays). The vet will try to determine where the blockage may be located.

If the yarn is still in your dog’s stomach, the vet may try to remove it through an endoscopic procedure. However, if the yarn has balled up inside the intestines, then the vet may need to perform surgery to safely remove the blockage and repair any damage it may have caused.

While yarn seems like a safe enough object for dogs (or cats), it’s best to avoid leaving it where your dog may get a hold of it. Yarn can be very dangerous for your dog.

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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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