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What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Dryer Sheet



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Dogs are known to get into all kinds of inappropriate items around the house. This is especially true for curious puppies and bored or hungry dogs. There are many hazardous chemicals and dangerous items in the average household. Among these are fabric softeners, both in dryer sheets and liquid formulation. You may think a little thing like a dryer sheet is harmless, but it is actually a dangerous thing for your dog to eat.

The Danger of Dryer Sheets for Dogs

Dryer sheets are often made from synthetic materials that are not easily digested. They also contain chemicals like benzalkonium chloride and cetrimonium bromide. These are called cationic surfactants. The same chemicals are found in most liquid fabric softeners and can be very toxic to dogs. Dryer sheets actually pose two significant risks to dogs.

First, the ingestion of the dryer sheet material may result in gastrointestinal obstruction. A blocked GI tract can lead to serious illness and even death. Many GI obstructions need to be removed surgically, posing even more risk to the dog.

Secondly, the chemicals in fabric softeners can cause irritation to the skin, mucous membranes and stomach lining.1 In concentrated amounts, the damage may be serious and appear as burns or ulcers. In addition, some of these chemicals can lead to lung damage, central nervous system depression, and acute kidney disease.

What to Do if Your Dog Eats Fabric Softener

If you suspect your dog has eaten a dryer sheet or swallowed liquid fabric softener, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. DO NOT attempt to induce vomiting as this may

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Christy Avery has worked as a veterinary technician for more than five years, caring for both domestic and exotic animals. She has received training as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and treat pet anxiety, fear, and stress.