Are Dryer Sheets Toxic for Dogs? DON’T Let Them Eat That

by Stuart | Last Updated:   November 29, 2019

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As a pet parent, you’re always working to ensure your pet is safe, but have you ever wondered if dryer sheets are toxic for dogs? Well, if you have, here’s your answer.

Are dryer sheets toxic for dogs? Yes, dryer sheets contain chemicals that are toxic to dogs. If they are ingested they can cause gastrointestinal obstructions in your dog and the chemicals can cause complications with your dog’s stomach and skin. 

If dryer sheets aren’t ingested, they won’t hurt your dog as severely, but they can still cause other issues from contact or inhalation.

Why are dryer sheets so toxic when ingested by dogs but not when sniffed, for instance? And what else may be around your laundry room that could be toxic to your pets? Read on to find out some of the basics when it comes to your laundry room and dog.

Dog next to laundry with title text stating "Are dryer sheets toxic for dogs?"

What Makes Dryer Sheets Toxic to Dogs?

Dry sheets are filled with chemicals that keep clothes from clinging together and also leaves them with a fresh scent. The chemicals are activated by the heat of the dryer, so they won’t work unless heated.

Here’s a list of ingredients and their purpose for bounce sheets found on their website:

IngredientsPurpose
Dipalmethyl Hydroxyethylammoinum MethosulfateSoftening and Antistatic agent
Fatty AcidSoftening Agent
Polyester SubstrateCarrier
ClayRheology Modifier
FragranceFragrance

Some of these chemicals are poisonous to both cats and dogs. If your animal chews on or ingests a dryer sheet, used or unused, you should take them to the vet. While your animals shouldn’t be sniffing or touching your dryer sheets, you don’t have to rush them to the vet if they do sniff them as you would with ingestion.

The sheet itself can also cause internal blockages, especially with smaller animals. The dryer sheet is unable to be processed by their digestive system

This causes the sheet to become lodged in the intestines, which causes pain and constipation.

Can a Dog Chew Dryer Sheets and Still Be Okay?

Dogs are like children. They like to pick stuff off the floor and stick in their mouths to determine what it is. If your dog managed to grab hold of a dryer sheet and eat it, this doesn’t mean you’re a terrible pet parent. However, you do need to address it immediately.

If your dog ate a fresh dryer sheet from the box or chewed on one, you should consider immediately taking your doggie to the vet. 

The large amount of chemicals that make your clothes smell nice and not cling to each other is poisonous to animals and requires a vet’s assistance.

If your dog ate a used dryer sheet, the good news is, the amount of chemicals found on that dryer sheet are greatly diminished compared to a fresh one. However, there is still a large amount of chemicals in it, and the sheet itself may cause intestinal blockages. 

Regardless of how much of the dryer sheet your dog ate, whether he just chewed on it or ate the whole thing, you should always take him to the vet to be examined and care for. Dryer sheets contain too many chemicals for them to offer an at-home care option.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats or Chews on a Dryer Sheet?

We already know you should immediately take your dog to the vet if you think they have ingested any part of a dryer sheet or chewed on it. But is there anything you can do before you get into the vet’s office?

If you directly observe your dog ingesting any part of a dryer sheet, you should immediately induce vomiting or take them to the vet.

Inducing vomiting immediately after ingestion should cause the dryer sheet to come right back up with little to no other effects.

For aftercare following the vomiting, you should assess them the same way you would if you know they’ve eaten or chewed on the dryer sheet. The only difference is that if you know they threw it up, you have less worries about internal blockages.

If you know your dog ingested a dryer sheet or chewed on a dryer sheet, you should assess your dog. For instance, if you have a very large dog and they only chew on part of a used sheet, you relax a little more as they haven’t ingested many chemicals or sheets for their size.

On the flip side, if you have a small dog and they chew on any amount of a dryer sheet, you should take them to the vet, as the amount of chemicals to the dog is significantly higher in this case. 

Smaller animals have smaller intestines as well, which makes clogging easier.

Our doggie loves to sneak into things they aren’t allowed in, so it can be difficult to tell for sure if your dog has chewed on or ingested a dryer sheet.

If your dog is acting oddly, is unresponsive, or vomits repeatedly, you should always take them to see the vet. If you have reason to suspect your dog may have eaten a dryer sheet, you should bring the box with you for the vet to see.

Unless you see your dog chewing on a dryer sheet, it can be hard to tell whether they ate one or not. If you suspect they did, look around you. Have you done laundry lately? Do you remember throwing away the dryer sheet? Are there any signs of a possibly shredded dryer sheet?

If you aren’t sure, you can always take your pet to the vet. However, if you’re trying to avoid a costly and unnecessary vet bills, make sure to observe your dog for signs of poisoning. Read below for a list of signs to watch out for. 

Signs Of Poisoning in Dogs From Dryer Sheets & Other Household Products

If you suspect your dog has gotten into your laundry room and into something in there, whether you know what or not, here are some signs he may have made himself sick:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Refusal to drink
  • Refusal to eat
  • Lethargy
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Burns or sores around or in his mouth, including on or under his tongue
  • Excessive drooling
  • Collapsing
  • Muscle twitches
  • Seizures

While this isn’t a complete list, of course, these are the most common signs. If your dog shows any of these after a suspected raid on the laundry room, you must take your dog into the vet.

These all apply regardless of if it’s a dryer sheet or something else found in your laundry room.

Dog after washing in a washing machine

Can Dogs Die from Ingesting Dryer Sheets or Other Laundry Room Goods?

If your dog has only ingested a small amount of dryer sheet, you shouldn’t worry about death. Simply keep an eye on him and watch for the aforementioned signs of poisoning. If he starts to show signs, then you should go to the hospital.

If you don’t deal with ingested dryer sheets, your dog could die from poisoning. If you know your dog has ingested enough dryer sheets to make him sick, you must take him to the vet to save him.

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Other Products in the Laundry Room That Can Be Toxic to Dogs

Since dryer sheets are toxic to dogs, what else could be lurking in your laundry room as an unknown possible toxin to your dog? There are a plethora of possible toxins to your doggie in your laundry room such as:

  • Dryer sheets
  • Fabric softener
  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Stain removers
  • Any cleaning products specifically for your laundry machines

Dryer sheets are the most likely of all of these to end up somewhere loose in your home, waiting for a dog to pick up and snack on, as they do.

However, you have to know what may be a danger to your dog.

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.