For some unknown reason, dogs absolutely love some of the most disgusting things. One of those things is going through trash cans! Let’s say you walk into your bathroom and you realize that your sweet dog has eaten a used condom.
The first reaction probably is “NO!”…second is a complete feeling of disgust. Lastly, you’re probably thinking, “well…what do I do now”?
We all care about our pets and want them to be happy and healthy, so when we realize they just ate something they aren’t supposed to eat, that fear and concern will cause some serious and immediate anxiety. In this case, if your dog just ate a used condom, we have everything that you need to make sure that your dog will be ok!
What Happens to My Dog If They Eat a Used Condom?
First of all, anytime a dog eats something that is not edible in nature there is always the potential for there to be serious problems. In this case, condoms are not digestible due to the materials they are made from.
Bigger dogs such as a Rottweiler or a Lab are more likely to be able to pass these types of foreign objects because their digestive systems are much larger than say a dachshund or a Pomeranian.
Smaller dogs are at risk for foreign items (such as condoms) getting stuck in the digestive tract and causing intestinal blockage. Intestinal blockages can become very serious quickly and ultimately, without treatment, can lead to the death of your pet.
Why Would My Dog Eat a Condom in the First Place?
Believe it or not, there are many different reasons why your dog may be attracted to eating a condom:
- Some condoms have different “flavors” that may be appealing to your pet. Your dog may simply be attracted to the sweet smells or flavors of these different products.
- The appeal of the colorful wrappers may make your dog decide they want to dig in your trash can to get what they perceive to be something tasty.
- Your dog may have a vitamin deficiency such as Pica that makes them want to eat inedible items.
- Dogs are attracted to, what we humans believe to be gross human things (i.e. clothing items that smell like body odor or have bodily fluids on them).
Because dogs can’t speak to us to explain why they ate the used condom in the first place, the only thing you can do is assume it is because of one (or all) of the reasons listed above.
Signs & Symptoms to Look For
There are several things you should look for with your pet if you believe they ate a condom. If you do notice any of the following, get your pet to your local vet as soon as possible.
- Lack of bowel movements
- Not eating or drinking
Plan of Action
It is never a bad idea to have some type of plan of action for when your dog eats things they aren’t supposed to. First thing though, do not freak out! In the case that your dog eats a condom, enlist the suggestions listed below:
- Induce vomiting. While this sounds completely disgusting, it is your first course of action to get the item out of your dog’s stomach. Mixing a 3% peroxide solution and administering it to your pet within a couple of hours of eating the foreign object can help with inducing vomiting.
- If inducing vomiting doesn’t work and you are highly uncomfortable even attempting it, go ahead and call your veterinarian’s office to either speak to the vet on call or make an appointment as soon as possible.
- As most know, a visit to the vet can become very expensive quickly. If the first two options don’t appeal to you, there is always the wait-it-out.
Obviously, what is not necessarily a very complicated plan of action that you need to go by should such an even occur. Eventually, most dogs will pass such items through their digestive system and in their bowel movements within a couple of days and be perfectly fine.
If you do not see that your dog has “passed” the condom through their bowls after a few days and you begin to notice any of the previous signs or symptoms mentioned in the previous section, take your dog to the vet immediately. Chances are when they begin experiencing these symptoms your dog likely how a bowel obstruction.
Tips to Prevent Your Dog From Doing This Again
While you never intended for this to happen in the first place, there are things you can do to prevent your dog from eating items like this, or simply, things they shouldn’t be eating in the first place out of the trash can.
Change the Type of Trash Can
Many people do not take into consideration their dogs when thinking about the type of trash cans they have placed through their homes. However, after an incident like this, it should be something to consider. Make sure wherever you have a trash can that it has a tight closing lid. Trash cans with easy-to-open lids, or those with no lids at all, are more easily accessible to your pets.
Also, choose a heavier trash can! Making it more difficult for your pet to knock over should they smell or see something they want to get into is beneficial when keeping them out. Possibly get creative with how you secure your trashcan to the floor to really ensure that your pet cannot knock it over.
Even better would be to secure your trash can inside of a cupboard or inside of your vanity cabinet. Especially since bathroom trashcans are typically small and very easy for dogs to get into. You may even consider adding a child lock to any cabinet that has a trash can inside to keep your dog from being able to nudge it open.
Keep Things That Might Be Appealing Up High!
While this article is aimed at a dog eating a used condom if it has an alluring wrapper or a sweet scent your dog still might be tempted to get ahold of it. Just like having kids, It is best to keep harmful items out of reach of your fur baby.
Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Food Available
Just like dogs, when people get hungry, they graze for something to munch on. While this may seem like a no-brainer, keeping food out for your pet if you don’t already may keep them out of the trash.
If your dog is looking for a snack because they are hungry and that little morsel in your bathroom trashcan looks appealing, then leave a bit of food out for them when you are gone. Regardless, it is always a good idea to leave your pet with plenty of food and water while you are away.
Just like when you were doing potty training and other behavior training with your pup, it may be time to go into some trash training. One very important thing is to make sure you conduct proper behavior training with a reward-based system.
Distraction and reward are a great way to train your pet to not get into that trash can when you notice them beginning that behavior. Provide your dog with treats when they respond to you and walk away from something they were wanting to get ahold of.
Recognizing Anxiety in Your Pet
Sometimes dogs get into things they aren’t supposed to within the home because they have certain types of anxiety that cause them to act out. For example, a pet with separation anxiety left alone for a while may result digging in trash cans and eating inappropriate things because they are bored and anxious.
Likely, in a dog with anxiety, getting into the trash can will not be the only issue or damaging behavior that you encounter.
For dogs that cannot help themselves, sometimes crate training provides them with a sense of security. Think about many of the things now that help people with anxiety such as weighted blankets. That secure feeling also helps dogs with anxiety, so smaller spaces may be the answer.
If the idea of putting your pet in a crate does not appeal to you at all, consider the option of using baby gates to still create a smaller space without more confinement.
Keeping your pet happy and healthy is a priority. So of course it is super concerning when you realize your dog just ate something they shouldn’t have, such as that used condom. Some of the best advice you will ever receive is when in doubt to call your vet.
Having a trusted pet doctor will always be your backup plan when things go wrong and you don’t know how to fix them. Lastly, just remember…” this too shall pass”.
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