What happens if my dog eats a bandage?

Dogs have a pesky habit of getting into anything- and many of the treasures they unearth end up in their mouths. There are some things, naturally, that you do not want your dog ingesting, and that could pose a danger or risk to their wellbeing. Many of these items are toxic, containing chemicals or ingredients that are toxic to pets, while others may present a choking hazard, and are better out-of-reach to pets, particularly dogs.

What if your dog gets ahold of bandages? Keep reading to find out what to do!

What happens if my dog eats a bandage? 

What will happen to your dog, if they eat a bandage, will depend a lot on how much they ate. If they ate a lot of the bandage, there is a chance that it will get stuck in the dog’s digestive tract. In this case, if it has not come out of its stool within a couple of days or if your dog does not vomit it back up, it would be a cause for concern and it would be important to closely monitor your dog. If your dog only ate a small piece of bandage, it would be a lot more likely that it will pass through your dog. 

If your dog gets diarrhea, begins to vomit, has black stools or has blood in them, it would be important to see your vet right away. 

If your dog ate the bandage in the last 2 hours, it is also possible to induce vomiting, but it would help to call your local vet so that they can guide you through this.

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However, it will be important to monitor your dog for unusual behavior. If your dog starts behaving unusually in any way, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet. It will also be important to tell your vet about it the next time you take your dog for a checkup.

What to do if my dog eats a bandage? 

Owners should watch for signs of their pet biting a bandage– which could be your first warning that they are going to eat a bandage. This may also point to the fact that the wound under the bandage is inflamed, infected, or itchy, too. Depending on where the wound is located, you may be able to put a clean sock over the limb or bandage so that the dog is less inclined to chew at it.

If your dog does eat a bandage, supervise them to make sure they do not choke, first of all. Observe your pet for signs that they could have an allergy to the bandage materials. Always keep the bandage on your pet’s wound clean- as a stinky or dirty bandage is going to be even more appealing to a dog! Unless you distract them with play or toys, they may be hard-pressed to give up chewing on or messing with a bandaged wound.

If you know that your pet has consumed a bandage and they do not vomit it back up, watch for it to pass through their digestive tract. It makes sense to also let your regular veterinarian know. They may want to see your pet if the bandage does not pass quickly, as it could cause issues with the gastrointestinal tract later.

Why do dogs eat bandages? 

So, what is the underlying reason why dogs eat bandages? There are a few- some which may be out of control by pet owners. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more about ways to deter pets from eating non-edible items, particularly bandages.

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Some reasons why dogs eat bandages include the following.

Pica 

Some dogs eat non-edible things because they have pica, which is a condition that some humans have, also. Since dogs learn about the world around them through sniffing and tasting, it is not unusual for a dog to eat something that humans consider non-edible or even gross. Sometimes they will spit the object back out, as it may not be as pleasant tasting as they hoped, but pets with pica may go ahead and ingest it anyway.

Behavioral Reasons 

Dogs may eat non-edible things, chew on furniture, or get into the trash for behavioral reasons. They may be acting out due to boredom- are they getting plenty of exercise? Bored dogs can be destructive.

Attention 

Along the same lines, a dog may eat non-edible things or get into trouble in an effort to get attention from their favorite humans. These attention seeking behaviors are often naughty, such as getting into things around the home or wreaking havoc.

Medical Issues 

Dogs could be eating non-edible things like bandages due to an underlying medical issue or nutritional deficiency. Sometimes a parasite causes dogs to eat things that are not food.  

Although eating bandages is gross, the most prevalent risk is that the dog could choke on the bandage. Some pets- though it is rare- may be allergic to the adhesive in bandages- and it is estimated that over 4% of the human population is. For this reason, if you suspect your pet has eaten bandages, watch for signs of an allergic reaction, like swelling, excessive itching, or rashes.

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How do I stop my dog from eating his bandages? 

It makes sense to try and deter this behavior as eating bandages could cause your dog to choke or become ill, especially if it is a regular habit. The first tip for curbing this behavior is to create some kind of an aversion to the taste or experience of consuming a bandage. For instance, you could sprinkle some hot sauce or cayenne pepper spice to the top of the trash, where the bandage is. The smell and taste of the pepper could turn the dog off getting in the trash altogether.

Another technique is to cause your dog to startle when they are chewing, sniffing, or nibbling on the bandage. Catching them in the act is key. Some owners may use an empty soda can with a penny that you shake to startle your dog and turn them off the bandage. This gives you a chance to redirect your dog’s attention away from the bandage.

If the bandage that the dog is trying to eat is on the dog’s own wound, cover it over with a pet tee shirt or prevent access with an Elizabethan collar- one of those plastic cones used after surgery. Preventing access to the bandage might be the best way to curb your dog’s desire to consume it.