My Dog Ate a Diaper, What Should I Do?

Published: 4/9/2021
Having a baby and a dog in the house can be a rewarding and challenging experience at the same time. On the one hand, babies and dogs have the magical ability to brighten up anyone’s day, plus your child will always have a best friend by their side as they’re growing up. On the other hand, it has now become more difficult to spend time and keep an eye on your pooch between feeding your baby and changing their diapers. Speaking of diapers, where did the one you just put in the trash can go? And why are there white shreds all over the floor? 

Our canine BFFs do a lot of things that gross us out, and eating diapers is certainly high up on the list. Diaper ingestion can lead to serious health issues for your four-legged family member, so it’s best to take them to the vet immediately, even if they appear to be fine. Both disposable and cloth diapers can block your dog’s digestive tract. And since symptoms may not show up right away, having your pup checked as soon as possible will help you avoid bigger problems down the road.

So, why are diapers so dangerous for your dog? Read on for more information!

Why Diapers Are Dangerous to Dogs

Diapers contain absorbent material that expands when it comes into contact with liquid. If your dog swallows a diaper, that material will absorb stomach acid, water, and other fluids in the digestive tract. Your pup can become seriously dehydrated or encounter intestinal problems, but that’s not even the worst part. 

If the absorbent material increases in size, it can cause internal injuries or block your dog’s digestive tract. Even partial obstructions can be fatal, and some blockages are only treatable by surgery. Needless to say, any diaper-eating incident should be taken seriously and attended to right away. The same warning applies to other products with absorbent layers. That includes adult diapers, dog diapers, and tampons. And while cloth diapers do not have an absorbent filling, they can still cause blockages as well as abrasions to your pup’s throat or intestines. 

An unused diaper is one thing, but a dirty diaper presents a couple more causes for concern, albeit slightly less worrisome. Your dog can become sick from ingesting baby poop, which, like all human poop, contains bacteria. This may cause your canine companion to vomit or have the runs. Your vet may put them on antibiotics if they get a bacterial infection from the poop. Additionally, diaper rash creams contain zinc, which can be toxic to dogs. But unless your pup ingested a large amount of the cream, you probably don’t need to worry, but do tell your vet so that they can determine the toxicity risk. 

Why Would Dogs Eat Diapers?
From eating their own vomit to rolling around in dead things, our canine family members do plenty of things that leave us scratching our heads. So why would your dog eat a diaper? Here are some possible explanations:
  • Perhaps your pooch is not getting as much attention since the baby’s arrived. A decrease in physical activity and mental stimulation can lead to boredom, which can result in undesirable behaviors such as eating diapers.
  • Changes in routine, which is inevitable with the addition of a baby to the family, can be stressful to your furry buddy and may cause them to act out. 
  • A new baby comes with new things, most of which your pup has probably never seen before. Dogs are curious by nature, and they may find the scent and texture of a diaper interesting. 
  • Our canine pals evolved as scavengers, so it’s in their DNA to eat fecal matter. Most puppies will outgrow this behavior, but environmental stress and behavioral triggers can prompt an adult dog to start eating poop.
Fortunately, it’s not too common for dogs to dine on diapers, but when it happens, there are steps you can take.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Diaper

If your pup swallows a diaper in whole or in part, there are only two courses of action to take, either of which should be done immediately:

  1. Call your vet. 
  2. Take your dog to the vet.
While symptoms can take hours or days to appear, prompt veterinary attention is key to lowering your pup’s risk of getting sick. Even if you opt to call your vet first, it’s likely that they will ask you to come down to the clinic so that your dog can be examined. Be sure to follow your vet’s instructions!

Remember to stay calm and clear-headed, as you will need to provide your vet with important information such as: 

  • What type of diaper was eaten
  • How much of it was ingested
  • If the diaper was clean or dirty
  • When you think the incident happened
  • Any symptoms you may have noticed in your dog
In addition, bring an unused diaper with you if possible so that your vet can determine the best treatment plan.


Preventing Future Incidents
Diaper-related trips to the vet can be easily prevented with a few simple steps:
  • Keep unused diapers out of your pup’s reach by storing them in a high area, or in a drawer or container that they can’t get into.
  • Use a dog-proof trash can for used diapers. There are several options available for different preferences and budgets. 
  • For extra assurance, you may want to bag each dirty diaper before tossing it. This should eliminate or at least significantly reduce the smell, so your dog won’t try to go after it.
Time is of the essence when it comes to diaper-eating incidents. If you find that your dog has swallowed a diaper, be sure to take immediate action to minimize the damage and avoid a potentially big problem.
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