My Dog Ate a Condom! Here’s What to Do (Vet Answer)
Why Do Dogs Eat Condoms?
So, you’re probably wondering why on earth your dog would want to eat a condom, right? Well, some condoms are flavored and smell and taste sweet. Some dogs associate the shiny wrappers with dog food or treat wrappers. A dog that often eats non-food substances may have a disorder called ‘pica’. If your dog falls into this category, you ought to take them for a checkup with your veterinarian, as there are many potential causes. Then there are some dogs that will just eat anything (as owners of Labradors will tell you!).
My Dog Ate a Condom – Is It Dangerous?
This depends on a few things but mainly, the size of your dog. A big dog is more likely to be able to pass the condom on its own. If your dog also ate the condom wrapper or ate multiple condoms, then this increases the risk of complications. Condoms are not digestible. The risk from your dog eating a condom (or a condom wrapper) is that they may get stuck in your dog’s stomach or intestines and cause a blockage. This is called a ‘foreign body’. If the condom did get stuck, then your dog would need an operation to remove it to prevent serious damage to your dog’s insides. However, sometimes dogs can pass small objects like this without medical intervention.
My Dog Ate a Condom – What Are the Symptoms?
Your dog may feel nauseous or start vomiting as the condom (or condom wrapper) could irritate the lining of your dog’s stomach or intestines. Sometimes dogs appear to feel better for a period of time once an ingested object passes from the stomach into the intestines, so symptoms can wax and wane. If your dog appears to feel better but then deteriorates this should be treated as an emergency: call your veterinary clinic.
Symptoms to watch for are:
- Vomiting (with or without blood)
- Reduced food intake
- Diarrhea or constipation
If your dog has any of these symptoms, then you should call your veterinarian straight away.
My Dog Ate a Condom – What Do I Do?
Firstly, don’t be embarrassed! Your veterinarian will have seen and heard it all before – trust me on that one! It’s important to overcome any embarrassment (you will laugh about it later) and be honest with your veterinarian. This way, they can act in your dog’s best interests and treat them appropriately without delay. Follow our instructions for what to do next.
- Prevent your dog from eating any more condoms.
- Call your veterinary clinic straight away to explain the situation. Let them know what your dog has eaten, how many condoms they have eaten, if they have eaten the wrapper too, and when you think they have eaten it. A rough weight for your dog is also useful information to pass on. They’ll talk you through what to do next.
- Even if you find a condom missing, a chewed condom box, a chewed condom wrapper or multiple missing condoms, and you think it happened more than a couple of hours ago, you should still contact your veterinary clinic and let them know. Tell them the size of your dog and if your dog is showing any symptoms. They probably won’t tell you to rush down if your dog isn’t symptomatic (unless they’re very worried) but they might appreciate being given the heads up!
My Dog Ate a Condom – What Will Happen Next?
This depends on the time frame. If your dog has eaten the condom within the last couple of hours and your dog is small, then your veterinarian will likely advise an injection to make them vomit up the offending object. This is because the risk of a condom, or condom wrapper, getting stuck is much higher in a small dog. Similarly, if your dog has eaten multiple condoms and/or wrappers, they will likely advise against making them sick. Again, this is because the risk of a blockage is higher with multiple objects. Do not make your dog sick without checking with your veterinarian first, as this can cause more problems for your dog.
If you have a big dog, your veterinarian will discuss the option of making your dog sick versus waiting for your dog to pass it themselves. Having personally removed condoms from two different dogs’ intestines, I always err on the side of caution and make them sick if possible! Of course, your dog may vomit up the condom themselves. However, I definitely wouldn’t suggest delaying treatment while you wait to see if this happens. Any delay could mean that your veterinarian can no longer successfully make your dog sick up the ingested item.
How Long Does It Take a Dog to Pass a Condom?
If more than a few hours have passed since the dog ate a condom, then it may not be an option to make your dog vomit. If your dog is well and not showing any symptoms, then you may be asked to monitor them at home while waiting for them to pass the condom. Your homework will be to check each of your dog’s stools for the offending item(s)! (I’d suggest you purchase some gloves on the way home from the clinic!). The condom is usually passed within 48 hours but may take up to 72 hours. If it has not been seen after 72 hours you should contact your clinic for further advice. In addition, if your dog starts being sick; goes off their food; has diarrhea; is passing fewer or no stools; is straining to pass poo or becomes lethargic, then call your veterinarian straight away. These can all be signs of a blockage.
If your dog ate a condom and is already showing symptoms, then your veterinarian may wish to admit your dog to monitor them in the clinic. Treatment could include pain relief and a drip to correct dehydration if they aren’t eating. If your dog isn’t improving or deteriorates then your veterinarian will want to investigate, looking for a blockage. He or she may suggest an X-ray to look for signs of a blockage (such as gas building up, unable to pass by the blockage). If your veterinarian suspects a blockage, then they will advise surgery to remove the condom(s).
My Dog Ate a Condom – Will They be OK?
Luckily, condoms are soft and should not contain anything toxic to dogs. More often than not, if your dog ate a condom, they will be able to pass it in their stools, especially large dogs. However, if you have a small or medium-size dog or your dog ate multiple condoms, then the risk is higher. Condoms can cause blockages requiring an operation to fix. Call your veterinarian as soon as you realize what has happened. Don’t be embarrassed! I guarantee that your veterinarian will only care about the welfare of your dog. And trust me – we’ve removed worse!
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Featured Image Credit: Anqa, Pixabay