My Dog Ate a Diaper and Seems Fine – What Should I Do?

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Key Takeaways:

  • All types of diapers are dangerous for dogs to eat. 
  • You should contact your veterinarian if you know or suspect he ate a diaper.
  • The three main conditions dogs may develop if they eat a diaper are choking, obstruction and dehydration. All of them are life-threatening.

You just brought your newborn baby home from the hospital and had to change her diaper. When you set it aside to put on a new diaper, your dog snatches the dirty item off the changing table and starts tearing it apart. Disgusting!

Should you be concerned? Absolutely!

Diapers are hazardous if your dog eats them. The absorptive materials they contain can lodge in your pup’s digestive tract causing an obstruction. If your pooch eats any part of a diaper, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

In this article, we’ll look at why eating a diaper is dangerous for dogs, what you should do if your pooch ingests one, and signs that your dog is in trouble. We’ll also explain what happens when a pooch ingests diaper material and what your vet will do to treat your furbaby after he swallows a diaper. 

So, let’s get started.

How Much Diaper is Dangerous to Dogs?

Although diapers technically don’t contain toxic materials, they are extremely dangerous to your dog. There are different types of diapers, and all of them are potentially harmful to your dog. Whether your pooch ingests a cloth, disposable, or doggy diaper, the materials can cause choking or an obstruction in your furbaby. Additionally, the absorptive substances can cause dehydration and other digestive problems in your pooch.

If your furbaby eats any part of a diaper, you should contact your veterinarian immediately and follow his instructions. Your veterinarian may advise you to bring your pup into the clinic, induce vomiting, or monitor him for signs of trouble depending on the type and amount of diaper he ingested. 

Diapers aren’t exactly toxic, but they contain materials that could harm your dog. If your dog eats any part of any type of diaper, call your veterinarian immediately. The doctor may advise you to bring your dog in, induce vomiting, or monitor him for signs of trouble.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate a Diaper?

If you catch your dog eating a diaper, you should act promptly. Observe him and make sure he isn’t showing signs of pain or distress. As long as your pup is acting reasonably normal.  remove any uneaten materials from the area. If you have unsecured trash waste bins, you should also remove them from his access. 

Take stock of the situation and try to determine how much of the diaper your pup ingested. Also, check to see if he ate anything else. Try to determine when the behavior occurred. Collecting this information will prepare you for a conversation with your veterinarian. 

Once you have assessed the situation, contact your veterinarian and report your observations. The doctor will advise you about your next steps. 

If your dog eats a diaper, make sure he doesn’t appear to be in pain or distress. Then, clean up the area and assess the situation.  Call your veterinarian and report your findings, then follow his instructions.

What Should You Do Immediately if You Suspect Your Dog Has Eaten a Diaper?

Call your veterinarian immediately if there’s evidence that your dog ate a diaper, and he shows signs of trouble, including:

  • Gagging 
  • Pawing at the face
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms may mean your dog needs emergency care. Your veterinarian will examine your pup and determine whether there’s diaper material causing an issue. 

If you see evidence that your pup ate a diaper, but he’s not showing signs of distress, check his mouth for diaper remnants and try to figure out how much material he ate. Contact your veterinarian and report your suspicions. 

Some vets will advise you to monitor your dog or induce vomiting, while others will tell you to bring your pooch in for an exam. You should never try to make your dog throw up without your veterinarian’s approval. Sometimes it makes the situation worse. Always follow the doctor’s instructions.

If you see evidence that your dog ate a diaper and appears to be distressed, contact your veterinarian immediately. When your dog appears normal, you can assess the situation first and then call the doctor. Follow his instructions. Only induce vomiting if he directs you to do so.

What if My Dog Ate a Whole Diaper But Seems Fine?

If your dog ate a diaper but doesn’t appear distressed, you still need to act quickly and contact your veterinarian. It may take some time for symptoms of trouble to surface in your dog. While choking is almost immediately evident, obstructions and dehydration take time to develop. Depending on how the material affects your dog, you may not see signs for a few hours, days, or longer. 

The sooner you act, the better your dog’s chance of a full recovery. The doctor can examine your dog and run diagnostic tests to confirm that your pooch ingested the material. Once he has an understanding of the type and amount of material that your dog swallowed, he will initiate appropriate treatment.

Any time your dog eats diaper material, prompt action is important. Symptoms of trouble may take hours, days, or longer to surface depending on the way the material affects your pooch. Early diagnosis and treatment improve your dog’s chances of a speedy and full recovery.

Signs of Trouble After My Dog Eats a Diaper

When dogs eat diapers, three major problems can occur.


Diaper material can swell, or the adhesive tabs can stick in the throat causing choking. Signs include:

  • gagging or choking sounds
  • pawing the face
  • heavy drooling 
  • difficulty breathing 
  • anxiety/nervousness
  • blue or pale gums
  • collapse


If the diaper gets to the stomach or intestines, the absorptive materials will start to swell and can lodge in the digestive tract causing a blockage. Signs of an obstruction include:

  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Restlessness/reluctance to lie down
  • Hunched appearance
  • Dehydration
  • Early diarrhea followed by constipation and straining to defecate later on
  • Flatulence
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression.


When the absorptive materials in a disposable diaper enter the digestive tract, they will soak up the liquids in the area. This leads to dehydration. Signs include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of skin elasticity(skin will tent when you pinch it rather than springing back into place)
  • Panting
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Dry nose
  • Sticky gums

There are three major issues that dogs can get when they swallow a diaper. Choking signs include gagging and pawing at the face. With obstruction, you may observe vomiting, anxiety, and a loss of appetite. Dehydrated dogs may exhibit panting, sunken eyes, and sticky gums.

What Happens to Dogs When They Eat a Diaper

Diapers can cause several problems in dogs. The materials can clump and catch in the throat and block the passageway.  This results in choking. 

Because dogs can’t digest cloth or disposable diapers, they can clump up and cause a blockage in the intestines. As the diaper materials press against the intestinal wall, they can cause necrosis or tissue death. The cells will release toxic chemicals into the bloodstream. Meanwhile, digested food has no way to pass through the body. These two conditions combine to create an emergency.

If the diaper is disposable, the absorptive materials(often silica) will soak up water, stomach acid, and other gastric juices. This leads to dehydration. As the diaper absorbs the liquid, it also swells which can also cause an obstruction.

When dogs eat a diaper, it can catch in the throat leading to choking. In the digestive tract, the materials can swell or bunch up and create an obstruction. Because diapers also contain an absorptive material, they will soak up the liquid in the stomach and cause your dog to become dehydrated.

Why Are Diapers Dangerous to Dogs?

Dogs can’t digest the material found in cloth or disposable diapers. Therefore, when your dog eats all or part of a diaper, it will not break down into smaller pieces in the digestive tract. The materials can easily clump together or lodge in the throat or intestines. 

The other risk that disposable diapers pose to dogs is the danger of dehydration. Diapers contain an absorbent layer that soaks up fluid. When the material reaches the stomach, it will absorb water and gastric juices that your dog needs to function. The result is dehydration.

All three of the above conditions are life-threatening situations that require immediate veterinary care.

Dogs can’t digest diapers of any kind, so the materials won’t break down in the stomach. They can clump together and lodge causing your dog to choke or creating an obstruction. Additionally, the absorptive materials can soak up fluid in the digestive tract. This leads to dehydration.

How Will My Vet Treat My Dog if He Ate a Diaper?

When you bring your pup to the vet for treatment, he’ll start with a history and physical. Be prepared to share what kind of diaper your dog ate, when it happened, and how much you think he ingested. If you have a sample unused diaper, bring it along.

Physical Exam

Depending on your dog’s signs and how long ago he ate the diaper, your vet may 

  • Perform an oral exam to look for pieces of the diaper
  • Perform a rectal exam if ingestion was a day or more before the exam
  • Palpate your dog’s abdomen to feel for the diaper
  • Take an X-ray or ultrasound of your dog
  • Perform endoscopy if the diaper is in the stomach
  • Run blood work 


The treatment your dog receives will depend on his symptoms and where the diaper is located. For choking, your vet will:

  • Sedate your dog
  • Attempt to safely remove the bone piece 
  • If the fragment won’t move, the doctor will perform a tracheostomy to establish an airway.
  • Give oxygen therapy if needed 

Pooches with an intestinal obstruction require surgery. In addition to removing the diaper, your vet will provide:

  • fluid therapy 
  • anti-inflammatory medicines
  • painkillers

For dehydration, your veterinarian will provide intravenous fluids that replace the fluids and electrolytes he lost. 

Your veterinarian will start with a history and physical examination. Depending on his findings and how long ago your dog ate the diaper, he may also use diagnostic tests to determine the best course. Treatment will vary depending on your dog’s symptoms and the location of the diaper.

How long is the recovery?

Your dog’s recovery after eating a diaper will depend on how the materials affected your dog and how quickly you sought treatment. 

  • Dogs usually recover from choking in a few days.
  •  If your pup has an obstruction, the recovery time will be at least 7-10 days but may be longer if the blockage caused severe symptoms. 
  • The time it takes your dog to recover from dehydration varies depending on the severity of his condition. Your doctor will administer fluids carefully and monitor your pup’s progress to prevent complications.

The Final Woof

All types of diapers are dangerous for dogs if they eat them. The materials can’t be digested, so they can collect and block the intestines or cause your pooch to choke. Because diapers are made to absorb liquid, they can also soak up intestinal juices and water in your pup’s system. If you know or suspect your dog ate a diaper, assess the situation and call your veterinarian. Prompt action and treatment is key for the best chance of recovery.

The three main conditions that dogs can develop after eating a diaper are choking, obstruction, and dehydration. All three of these are life-threatening situations. Depending on how the diaper affects your dog, symptoms may take hours or days to surface.  Even if your dog doesn’t immediately show signs of trouble, you should call your veterinarian. Treatment and recovery will depend on your dog’s symptoms and condition.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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