Your dog loves its bed, but for some reason, it’s decided to destroy it. You come home to find stuffing everywhere, with your dog attempting to look innocent.
In addition to frustration, you are also concerned. Did they eat the stuffing? Will it harm them? How worried should you be?
What happens if my dog eats bed stuffing?
There are several potential problems if your dog eats stuffing. The good news is, most dogs will be fine if they eat a small amount of stuffing. However, larger amounts can cause significant problems.
What is Bed Stuffing?
When you are looking at the stuffing strewn about your home, you may wonder what it’s actually made of, and if the substance itself is harmful to your pooch.
Most dog beds are made from polyester fill. Polyester is commonly used in clothing and household items, dog beds, couches, and even dog toys. It’s a type of plastic that is shaped into fibers.
Is Polyester Fill Toxic?
Polyester is considered nontoxic, but there are some health concerns associated with it. It’s a petroleum by-product, and several harmful chemicals are used in its production. It releases phthalates, which are known to disrupt hormones and cause other issues.
It also has a tendency to irritate the skin. This may mean that it can cause irritation to the digestive tract, which is much more sensitive, as well.
Perhaps you spoiled your dog with a dog bed made with natural fibers, like cotton, rather than polyester. Perhaps your pooch has a memory foam mattress, and snacked on that.
Memory foam has similar concerns to polyester fill. It’s made with polyurethane foam, and is also manufactured using harmful chemicals. So, it may have some toxic effects, particularly if ingested, just as polyester may.
Unfortunately, even if your dog’s bed is made from a natural material like cotton, there are other concerns that apply.
An intestinal blockage can occur as the filling makes its way through your dog’s intestines. The intestines are narrow. If the filling gets tangled together, it may become too big to pass through.
This can also occur if your dog eats a single large piece of stuffing or memory foam.
An intestinal blockage can be life threatening, depending on the severity. A blockage can be partial, which allows some waste to pass through. A complete blockage completely blocks the intestines, allowing nothing to pass through.
The symptoms of an intestinal blockage include vomiting, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, and straining or inability to poop. You may also notice your pooch seems very uncomfortable or in pain. As the condition progresses, they will lose their appetite, because food can’t pass through their digestive tract.
Choking is another risk if your dog eats foam. This can occur when they are eating foam, or if vomiting occurs. Vomitting may seem like a good thing, and in one sense, it is.
If your pooch can get the stuffing out of their system, it can reduce their risk of problems. However, choking while vomiting stuffing is a big risk that can be life threatening.
The most obvious sign of your dog choking is gagging or retching. They may also paw at their mouth, or rub their face against the ground. They may whine or appear to be in distress.
Anytime your dog eats something that they shouldn’t, they are at risk for stomach upset. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the item is toxic, or that your dog is in serious danger.
It simply means that what they ate didn’t agree with their system, so your dog’s body is trying to expel it. Polyester fill can cause stomach irritation, which can also lead to stomach upset.
The symptoms of stomach upset include vomiting and diarrhea. If your dog vomits repeatedly, or continues to have diarrhea, it could be more than simple stomach upset.
What happens if my dog eats couch stuffing?
Couch stuffing poses the same risks as dog bed stuffing. It’s typically made from the same material. Dogs who eat couch stuffing are at risk of stomach upset, choking, and intestinal blockage.
What happens if my dog eats toy stuff?
The consequences of your dog eating toy stuff are the same as them eating other types of stuffing. They are at risk of stomach upset, choking, and intestinal blockage.
What to do if my dog eats stuffing?
If your dog eats stuffing, there are some steps you’ll need to take. Some of them will depend on how much your dog ate, and if they are experiencing any symptoms.
Remove Access to Stuffing
The first thing you should do is remove access to stuffing. This will prevent your pooch from eating more stuffing. You may need to replace their dog bed or toys with materials they can’t destroy and consume.
Remember, even non-toxic fill materials still pose a choking and intestinal blockage hazard.
Assess the Amount Your Dog Ate
You’ll need to do your best to determine how much stuffing your dog ate. An exact measurement isn’t necessary, but take your best guess.
You’ll also need to consider the size of your dog. If your Great Dane at a few spoonfuls of stuffing, they will probably be fine. However, your chihuaha can develop a blockage from even a small amount of stuffing.
If your dog ate a small amount of stuffing, and they seem fine, you can monitor them. It can take 10 to 24 hours to pass stuffing. If they haven’t passed it in 48 hours, you should contact your vet.
In the meantime, monitor them for any symptoms. If they begin vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or seem unwell, you’ll need to get them a checkup.
Contact the Vet
If your pooch ate a large amount of stuffing, you should take them to the vet immediately. The vet may induce vomiting, or conduct tests to check for an intestinal blockage.
Fast treatment is important, because vomiting is only effective for the first 2 hours after they ingest something harmful.
Never try to induce vomiting yourself in this case. The risk of your dog choking on the stuffing is too great.
If Your Dog Is Choking
If your dog is choking on the material, you’ll need to take immediate action. First, lay them down on the ground if possible. Open their mouth wide, and attempt to remove the material with your fingers.
If you have tongs or a long pair of tweezers, these can increase the chance of being able to remove the material. Just be careful not to injure your dog’s esophagus.
If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to perform the Heimlich. For puppies and small dogs, hold their back against your stomach. Make a fist, and find the hollow area under the ribcage. Place the fist in this area, and push up.
Large dogs require a different move. Lay them on their side. Kneel behind their back. Place your fist under the hollow below the ribcage, and push up and inward, toward your dog’s head.
Check their mouth after the maneuver. If the material isn’t visible, try again. Once you’ve removed the material, take your dog to the vet for a checkup immediately.