Dogs don’t really care about what they put in their mouths. They’ll eat anything they can reach – and not all of these things are edible.
Any foreign object can be very dangerous when consumed. But what about condoms?
If you’ve just realized: “My dog ate a condom!” you’re probably wondering what you can do and if this can harm your dog.
The short answer would be: Yes, condoms can be very dangerous to dogs. However, this highly depends on the size of your dog. A large dog, such as a Golden Retriever, might be able to pass the condom, while much smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas or Corgis, won’t.
The worst-case scenario is for the condom to get stuck in the dog’s intestinal tract and cause a blockage. This can be life-threatening, especially if you own a small dog.
Still, we should dig a bit deeper if we truly want to understand the problem behind a dog eating a condom. Let’s begin.
My Dog Ate A Condom – But Why?
Before anything, you might wonder, why on earth would your dog ever think about eating a condom?! Believe it or not, this is quite common, and there are a few reasons behind it.
First off, condoms tend to have a shiny wrapper that looks like a treat. This is the same reason why little kids might try to get at one. The packaging looks a lot like candy wrappers, and dogs love sweets.
Also, some condoms are flavored and smell tasty. Your dog might think they are a tasty snack they can eat.
There is even a disorder called ‘pica.’ Dogs suffering from this disease tend to eat non-food substances, such as rocks, wood, even parts of the wall! They might eat condoms, as well, especially if you leave them within your dog’s reach.
If you suspect your dog is suffering from this disorder, you should take him to your vet, who might find the potential cause, and let you know what your next step should be. Dogs with pica can endanger themselves by eating something they shouldn’t.
Finally, some dogs are simply voracious eaters that’ll eat anything they get ahold of! Labrador Retrievers are one of these scavenger breeds.
What If My Dog Ate A Condom – Is This Dangerous?
The truth is, this can be life-threatening.
This mainly depends on the size of your dog. A large dog might be able to swallow the condom whole and then pass it on its own. This way, your pooch will simply poop it out.
Of course, if your dog ate an entire box of condoms or multiple products, this increases the chances of possible complications.
Condoms aren’t digestible, and they won’t dissolve in your pup’s digestive system. The only way they’ll come out is through the intestines, then out the ‘back door.’
However, a condom – and condom wrappers, as well – might get stuck inside your pup’s intestines and cause an intestinal blockage. This can lead to a gastrointestinal obstruction, which can be deadly.
A condom might also get stuck in a dog’s esophagus, causing choking. This is a serious issue, as it requires immediate veterinary attention. Otherwise, your dog might suffocate.
Most of the time, dogs can pass things by themselves without any assistance from a vet. Other times, however, this might endanger your pup’s life, and professional help will be required.
Symptoms To Look For
If you have a small dog breed, it would be best to take your pup to the vet the moment you see him eating a foreign object, such as a condom. For larger dogs, monitor your dog for 24 hours. It would be wise to check out his poop to see if the condom has passed.
Your dog might start vomiting almost immediately after eating a condom, as it might irritate his intestines or stomach. Most dogs tend to feel a lot better when the foreign object passes from the stomach to the intestines, so nausea can become milder after a while.
However, even if your dog feels better, you should still be careful, as once the condom reaches the intestines, it might get stuck. It isn’t unusual for a canine to feel better before becoming ill once again.
If you notice your pup’s condition worsening after it was better for a while, consider this an emergency and take him to the vet ASAP. Chances are the condom has caused a blockage, and this should be treated immediately.
Some of the symptoms you need to be wary of are:
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Blood in the stool or vomit
• Loss of appetite
If you notice any of these signs, rush your dog to the vet, as this means something is seriously wrong.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Condom?
If you notice your dog ate a condom, don’t be ashamed to tell your vet what happened. They won’t care about what you did last night, only how to make your dog feel better. Besides, vets have seen and heard it all.
Overcome any embarrassment you might have, and be entirely honest. In the end, you will laugh about it once everything is over. For now, you have to work in your pet’s best interest.
There are a few things you can do even before taking your pup to the vet.
If you catch your dog while trying to swallow a condom, try to prevent him. Even if he’s swallowed it, check his mouth to see if you can pull the condom out. Be careful not to hurt yourself or your pooch in the process.
In the case your dog has already swallowed it, don’t try to put your finger down his throat to get the condom out. Your fingers might damage sensitive structures inside the dog’s mouth, such as the esophagus or throat.
Another good idea would be to induce vomiting. A good method is to give him two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen is a common chemical that makes dogs vomit.
Of course, you can leave this to your vet if you feel uncomfortable inducing vomiting on your own.
What Will The Veterinarian Do?
If you take your dog to the vet, there is a standard procedure they’ll do for most foreign objects that canines ingest. These are the following steps:
As we’ve already mentioned, you have to be honest with your vet and tell them exactly what your dog ate and when. If anything, at least tell them your pooch swallowed a balloon – but they’ll find out what it is soon enough.
Most veterinarians would immediately act as if this is a gastrointestinal obstruction. They’ll probably do an ultrasound or even an x-ray to see where exactly the condom is located and how bad the blockage is.
Photo from @vetclinicaigina
Treatment tends to vary widely depending on the occasion.
For example, if a dog is choking on a condom, the vet will likely induce vomiting as this might release the condom out of your pup’s mouth.
The vet might also decide to sedate your dog. Don’t worry – this is perfectly normal. The vet needs to take the condom out, but they don’t want to get bitten accidentally or cause any discomfort to your poor pup.
Finally, if the condom is stuck somewhere deep inside the intestines, surgery might be needed. This is a standard procedure, and the chances of anything going wrong are slim.
Finally, the vet will let you know if you need to treat your dog in any special way after treatment.
If they performed surgery, you might need to take extra care of your dog. He might even have to stay at the vet’s office for a day just so the veterinarian can be sure everything is okay.
How Long Does It Take To Pass A Condom?
If you suspect more than a few hours have passed since he was mischievous and ate a condom, there is no use in making your dog vomit. In the case he’s feeling well, your vet might even tell you to take him home and monitor him until you’ve made sure he’s passed the condom.
This will include you checking out his every poop until you’ve found the necessary item!
It would be wise to purchase a set of gloves on your way out of the vet clinic – or order some from Amazon just in case you fear this will happen again.
Usually, it takes around 48 hours to pass a foreign object such as a condom out of the dog’s digestive system. However, it can take up to 72 hours, especially if your pup has a slower metabolism.
If the condom isn’t out after 72 hours, contact your vet for advice.
Also, if you notice any of the signs mentioned earlier of a blockage, call your vet straight away. You don’t want to risk a serious medical complication.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Used Condom?
No matter how nasty this might sound to you – dogs love eating used condoms! This is because used condoms smell like you, their beloved pack member. In fact, dogs will prefer eating used ones over new ones, purely for this reason.
The dangers would remain the same for your pup, no matter if the condom were used or not. Even if you or your partner happen to have a sexually transmitted disease, dogs aren’t likely to get one by eating the condom you’ve used.
This is because most viruses and diseases transmitted from human to human won’t affect dogs. So, that is one less reason for concern.
However, this should serve as a warning: If you are a dog owner, make sure you’ve disposed of your used condoms as soon as possible! The best option would be to throw them in the garbage outside of your house, as dogs are known to dig through trash cans.
Another unsuspecting issue that might occur when your dog eats a condom is an allergic reaction.
Yes, dogs can be allergic to condoms.
Condoms are typically made from latex, a rubber-like material that can be found in many other products.
A latex allergy is actually an allergy to the sap of the rubber plant. Latex derives from either natural or synthetic rubber. The latter has an oil base, but it’s composed of various chemicals.
Dogs can be allergic to both types of rubber. These allergies don’t get better with exposure. In fact, your pup will only get worse as time passes. So, if you suspect your dog is having an allergic reaction, get him to the vet immediately!
Some signs of latex allergy in canines include:
• Difficulties breathing
• Obsessive licking or pawning
• Skin rashes
• Head shaking
When it comes to skin rashes, look for them on your pup’s face, groin, under the front legs, and between the toes.
Most symptoms of latex allergy occur when someone is in direct contact with rubber. However, they will also happen if your dog ingests latex products, such as condoms.
Like any other allergy, treating a latex allergy is possible, but it can be challenging, especially when a dog swallows a condom. Antihistamines can be very strong and cause severe side effects.
After your dog takes medication for his allergies, expect some short-term side effects such as increased thirst and diarrhea. Some long-term side-effects might also occur, and this includes diabetes and liver failure.
Unfortunately, you cannot know whether your pup is allergic to latex or not before he digests it. Because of this, it’s best to play it safe and keep your condoms away from your pup.
Is It An Accident Or Pica?
We’ve already mentioned pica, but how can you know if your dog has this condition or if everything was just an accident?
Pica makes dogs obsessed with eating inedible items. It will cause a canine to try to eat the impossible, such as carpets, house walls, or rocks.
Of course, just because your pooch ate one condom doesn’t mean you should be worried or get him examined for this disease. However, if your pet constantly eats a lot of weird stuff, you might want to get him checked out.
There are several reasons behind pica, and they can be psychological, environmental, or even depending on the diet. If the dog food you’re giving to your pup isn’t the most nutritious, your furry friend might try to eat whatever he can to get what he lacks.
Sometimes, dogs can start eating inedible things out of stress or separation anxiety. This is why many dogs start eating walls when you leave them alone. Depression is one of the leading causes of pica.
If you notice your dog eating inedible things all the time, you should get him to an expert. Treating pica is possible, but first, you need to determine what is causing it.
Typically, pica can be cured with behavioral training, and most of the time, this won’t include any medication.
What If My Dog Eats A Tampon?
Condoms aren’t the only uncomfortable thing your dog might eat. Canines love everything with a human odor on it – and this includes used tampons and pads.
If your dog eats a tampon, chances are he’ll pass it, just as with a condom.
However, tampons can expand, which is a huge choking hazard. Just as with condoms, tampons can cause intestinal blockages, and these require immediate veterinary attention.
The string of the tampon is another danger, as it can cause life-threatening lacerations. Because of this, one might argue that tampons are even more harmful than condoms!
If you suspect your dog has eaten a tampon – whether used or unpackaged – contact your vet as soon as possible. Be honest about everything. Sometimes, your vet will advise you to monitor your pooch. Other times, they’ll ask you to take him in.
Either way, don’t be shy and contact a professional if this happens.
What Other Things a Dog Shouldn’t Eat?
Condoms and tampons aren’t the only things that should be kept away from dogs. Many pups would gladly munch on anything they can fit in their mouth, so any small items should be kept away from them. If you wouldn’t leave an item near a child, don’t leave it near your gluttonous pet!
Some foods are also dangerous for dogs, so you should never leave table scraps on lower tables, where your doggie can reach them.
These harmful foods include:
• any spicy food
• sauces such as pesto
• highly-processed foods including spam, ham, and sausages
Prevention Is Key
As any dog owner knows, it is impossible to fully prevent your dog from eating whatever he can grab.
Dogs can be true scavengers. They’ll smell something, then eat it without thinking. This can get them into enormous trouble.
With condoms, at least, prevention shouldn’t be too difficult. Try keeping them as far away from the dog’s reach as possible, and throw away used condoms as quickly as you can.
Of course, sometimes even this isn’t enough. It takes just a second of distraction, and you’ll find out your dog has already grabbed something he shouldn’t have! While canines appear clumsy from time to time, there’s nothing stopping them when they think they can eat something.
If your dog does end up eating your condom, don’t panic, but consult your vet, just in case. On most occasions, you’ll simply end up with a funny story to tell your friends.
Still, swallowed condoms could cause a gastrointestinal blockage – especially if your pooched managed to eat an entire box of them!
Don’t hesitate to tell your vet what happened and do everything you can to make your pup feel better. Trust us – you’ll laugh about it later on!