My Dog Swallowed Paper Towels What Should I Do?

Dog owners often care about the wellbeing of their dogs. They want the dog to be healthy and active at all times. They get worried when the dog is faced with health challenges or any other issue. 

On the other hand, dogs too are very loyal to their owners, so they want to be active and healthy to perform their duties, but sometimes their curiosity gets the better of them. 

Dogs are naturally intelligent, but they are also typically curious. This makes them sometimes dig into things or places they should not. You may find your dog rummaging through the trash bin and sniffing the rubbish with their nose. They may also sometimes dig into a pile of paper towels.

Some dog owners often worry and get agitated when they realize that their dog has eaten a dirty paper towel. This post provides information on what to do when such occurs. It also outlines tips on ways to deal with a curious dog. 

You have to note that it is best to contact your veterinarian when you notice that your dog has eaten a potentially harmful item like a paper towel. 

Will My Dog Be Hurt If He Eats Paper Towel?

Kleenex, tissues, toilet rolls and paper towels are all products of wood pulp. Dogs can not digest paper towels, so tissues and paper towels can cause blockage in a dog’s throat. 

The quantity of paper towel the dog consumed, the dog’s size, and the size of the bits will determine if the paper towel will block the dog’s throat. Luck may also be a deciding factor. 


Asides causing blockage to the dog’s throat, another danger which paper towel poses to the dog when they consume it is that it sometimes contains harmful substances. Although this depends on what the paper towel is used for. 

For instance, paper towels used for rubbing alcohol, removing nail varnish and other cleaning products, and bleach can harm dogs if they eat them. 

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Paper Towel?

You should take the steps below if you find out that your dog has had a paper towel.

Step 1: Check Out What Your Dog Ate

The first thing to do is find out precisely what your dog has consumed and the quantity it ate. This is important because you will be required to share it with your veterinarian to guide him in drawing out your dog’s treatment plan. 

You will have to check to see if your dog ate a little piece of paper towel. Then you will check if the towel is clean or dirty kitchen roll (if it has been used to clean grease or oil). Or maybe it is a pile of toilet roll used to clean bleach in the bathroom. Perhaps, the dog ate the cardboard tube and not the paper towel itself. 

Sometimes, you might not quickly ascertain what your dog has swallowed, mostly if you were not present when it occurred or if your dog is a fast eater. 

Nevertheless, you still have to try to find out precisely what your dog has eaten, mainly if the paper towel has been used to clean up harmful substances like nail varnish remover, bleach or grease. 

Step 2: Find Out When Your Dog Ate It

This is much easier only if you were present when your dog was eating it, and you caught him in the act. This way, you will know the exact time they swallowed the paper towel. 

If your dog is the type that loves to eat in privacy, this could be a problem as you would not know when he eats the paper towel in private. You may only notice a mess in the kitchen like an upturned bin when you visit the scene later. It will be hard to ascertain the exact time the dog ate the paper towel. 

When you find out that your dog has consumed something they should not, call your vet immediately. If what your dog ate is harmful, your vet will perform some time-sensitive treatment options. 

For example, you have to remove some towel before it moves into the guts either by using an endoscope (a long flexible camera) or by causing vomiting. 

It takes just about two hours for the contents in the stomach to get into the guts, which implies that if you stall before calling your vet, your dog might not be able to enjoy these safe and painless treatment preferences. 

Step 3: Check Your Dog

Dogs often react differently after eating the paper towel. Their reaction depends on the content and quantity of paper towels they may have consumed. 

Some dogs are often asymptomatic after eating paper towel such that they appear fine and go on with their regular daily activities like drinking and eating without any hassle. 

On the other hand, some other dogs are symptomatic, and they show visible signs that tell the owner that something is wrong. They may vomit, especially if they ate a large quantity of the paper towels or if the paper towel has been used to wipe bleach or grease, 

These symptomatic dogs can also appear uncomfortable and quiet, and they can also refuse to eat or drink and can be unable to settle. If the volume of paper towels they ate is high, they may become tender when their belly is touched, and their belly can swell up. 

If you did not notice early that your dog has eaten a paper towel, your dog might experience diarrhea because the paper towel can irritate the dog’s intestines when going through the digestive tract. Your dog’s stool may also contain little pieces of paper towel. 

Regardless of your dog’s current behavior, it is best to consult your veterinarian for advice once you notice that the dog has eaten a paper towel because you might not quickly notice the damage, mainly if your dog is tolerant. 

Step 4: Call Your Veterinarian

When you have been able to find out that your dog ate paper towel and you ascertained when they ate it, the quantity they ate and the type of paper towel they ate (dirty or fairly clean), and how the dog is feeling, the next thing is to call your vet. 

If they are not open, call another veterinary clinic closest to you, it may even be an emergency clinic. The veterinarian will ask you questions we mentioned above so that they can know the best treatment plan to give to your dog. 

However, if your dog only ate a small amount of paper towel, you may not have to visit a vet. But if your dog ate a large volume of paper towel, especially a harmful one, and the dog is showing signs of diarrhea, vomiting, illness, you have to see your vet immediately. 

It is not advisable to keep your sick dog at home except prescribed by your veterinarian. This is because they might have eaten a substantial amount of paper towel with a harmful substance; it may be detrimental and cause vomit or even make them feel tired. 

Your dog may also face further problems if they inhale their vomit, and they are at risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals. 

Step 5: Follow Instructions From Your Vet

Feeding the dog after he has swallowed the paper towel will make matters worse. Even if the dog seems keen to eat, do not give them food because the paper towel might have caused a blockage, making them vomit. 

If your veterinarian decides that your dog requires anesthetic surgery or x-ray, the dog should not eat beforehand. 

But if your veterinary doctor asks you to visit a clinic, please go there as soon as possible. When visiting the vet, do not forget to take a packet or bottle of the harmful chemical your dog ate along with you.

If you give your vet adequate information on the incident, the vet will know how to treat your dog well, and maybe your dog requires to be transferred to a specialist who deals with chemicals. 

Other Great Guides:

What Happens When Your Dog Consumes Paper Towel?

Your veterinarian may give you different options depending on the factors earlier mentioned. Your vet may want you to do the following:

  1. Your vet can inject your dog to make them fall sick.
  2. Your dog can also be put on a general anesthetic so that they can remove the paper towel with an endoscope.
  3. They can admit your dog to the hospital to monitor them.
  4. They can make your dog take a blood test to examine hydration and organ function
  5. Your dog can be placed on a drip to flush out the toxins
  6. They can sedate your dog to take a stomach x-ray and check for blockage.
  7. In rare cases, they can carry out surgery to take out the paper

Will My Dog Be Ok After Eating Paper Towel?

Luckily, dogs hardly require surgery when they eat paper towels. However, you can get scared and worried when your dog eats what it should not. In all this, you have to stay calm and consult your vet once you realize that your vet has eaten a paper towel. 

If you notice early, your dog can get the right treatment early and become active again as soon as possible. 

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