Health and Grooming

My Dog Ate a Condom – What to do?

What do I do now my dog ate a condom?

Embarrassing question, isn’t it? It’s one that you’d rather google than ask someone in person. Trust me, I know.

Allow me to share my experience…

my dog ate a condom what to do shocked look dog owner and dog
So your dog ate a condom… here is a story about what to do.

My Dog Ate a Condom

So, your dog ate a condom. Welcome to the not-so-glamorous world of pets! Before we go any further, let me assure you. This is normal. Dogs love to sniff and eat all sorts of things. And I mean ALL sorts of things! 

Getting back to the topic. Too embarrassed to call the vet, aren’t you? Don’t be!

Sure, you can tell your vet that he ate a piece of plastic or a balloon (lies), But, really, you should not be concerned about how the vet would react. Just tell them what happened – that your dog ate a condom! And follow their advice.

But first!

Did you see your garbage inspector eat it? Was the condom wrapper on? Or was it used? (eww)? Let’s just pause for a moment and acknowledge how gross that is. Phew.

Back to the present. It would be best if you kept your answers ready because your vet will want to know how long it’s been.

If it’s one condom, and you have a large breed like a Cockapoo or a Labradoodle, then he’ll probably just pass it out. But if he was extra snackish and ate most of the box – there’s only one word – vet.

In case you’re willing to wait to see if it comes out naturally, here’s what to do next.

my dog ate condom what to do
Dogs really will eat anything…

Symptoms

It’s a rather common thing for dogs to eat just about anything, including condoms. If your canine buddy is behaving normally, remain observant and check their poop for signs the condom has been excreted. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, shelve your embarrassment and act accordingly:

  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Aversion from eating
  • Laziness
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Now that we’re done with the urgent bit let’s take a leisurely stroll through the what and why. The better you understand your fur buddy, the more likely it is that you’ll recognize potential problems beforehand. 

Why, Why In The World?

Dogs eat a lot of things. Things you cannot possibly fathom why. Well, at least he ate a condom and not the poop lying outside on the street.

Oh, he did? He likes poop too? Rest assured, you’re not the only one with a poop-hungry pooch.

Welcome to the uglier, smellier side of the doggo world. Did you think it was all about fur, snuggles, and excellent smelling dog shampoo? Wrong!

Dogs are inherently wild creatures. They don’t use their sight as much as their smell and taste. If you have a poodle or a beagle, you’d know how likely they are to sniff out things that they’re not supposed to.

And they love their human smell. Ever come home to find your fur friend rolling in your dirty laundry? That’s because he digs – pun intended – your scent. In the same way, smelling and chewing up a used condom may just mean they’re seeking out your bodily fluids when you’re not around. That includes used tampons and sanitary towels too.

If he swallowed an unused condom, was it be a flavored one? Because dogs love sweet-smelling stuff. That could be a strong reason. And also, the wrapping on condoms looks like dog treats. If he mistook it as his treat, he would have wolfed it down without stopping to think.

a German shepherd at the vet
A German Shepherd at the Vet.

Pica

Pica is a medical condition where a dog, or even a human, eats things that aren’t considered normal – like dirt, clay, flaking paint, or even glue, hair, cigarette ashes, and feces.

We’ve already established that dogs sniff out all sorts of things and eat them. But if it’s not out of curiosity, and they eat something inedible – like the corners of your wall, then they could be suffering from Pica.

There could be psychological issues as well. These include:

  • Getting your attention
  • Boredom or anxiety
  • Incorrect nutrition
  • Not enough to eat

In that case, I request you to consider how you can help them out – especially with food and love. If not, take them to the vet for a proper assessment and professional advice on how to handle your pup’s munchies. It is a serious condition that can result in permanent damage to the dog’s stomach or intestine. (UC Davis Vet School)

How Dangerous Is It?

In most cases, your dog will swallow the condom and poop it out. If your dog is big, there’s a pretty high chance that they’ll be fine. If your big dog has had the condom with the wrapper on, then the chances of damage increase – very slightly – but they still do.

If your dog has eaten the entire box, then the damage increases significantly. Getting your dog to vomit may not ensure that all the condoms will come out. So it’s best to go to your vet without delay.

If you have a toy poodle or a mini doodle, then the chances of a blockage in the digestive system increase dramatically. Smaller animals are at a higher risk of ingesting foreign objects and being unable to process them naturally, so please call the vet and rush as soon as he tells you to.

What Can You Do?

If it’s Immediate

If your dog runs straight up to chew on a condom, then while you can, stop him from swallowing it. If you’re on time, you’ll save a whole lot of effort that comes next. After that, ensure that you keep them out of your dog’s reach. Trash them as soon as you’re done using them and use garbage bins with dog proof lids.  

Call your Veterinarian even if your dog isn’t showing any symptoms, just to give the Vet office a heads up. He’ll also be better prepared when you go to him. You can also remind the surgery what breed, age, and size your dog is, along with its weight. All these little details are helpful to Vets.

Meanwhile, try the Heimlich Maneuver. As fancy as it sounds, it’s nothing more glamorous than hugging the dog around its stomach and gently giving it a few abdominal thrusts. See if your puppy can spit it out. 

My Dog Ate a Condom - What to do? 1

If it’s Been a While

If it happened in the last couple of hours, then your vet may suggest an injection to help your pup vomit out the condom. If it’s late Saturday night, or the vet isn’t available for in-person, call an emergency Vet line and ask what you can do at home.

They’d most likely suggest that you feed your dog some hydrogen peroxide in a solution and have him run around until he pukes. It usually happens the first or the second time, but please don’t keep giving your dog the peroxide solution if it isn’t happening.

If you have a small or medium-sized dog, then rush him or her to the nearest animal hospital. Many complications can arise in a small dog.

If you have a large dog who is fine, they might just tell you to wait for them to pass it in their stools.

How Long Can It Take for the Dog to Poop It Out?

If many hours have passed since the ingestion, then you cannot possibly make them vomit.

If your dog is absolutely fine and shows no signs of worry, your vet may ask you to closely monitor him and wait for him to empty his bowels. There is a risk of intestinal blockage though which is a serious issue.

Consider it homework for you to check each of your dog’s droppings for any rubbery object sticking out of it. I’d suggest that you keep some gloves handy – we don’t want a traumatic experience on our hands – literally!

The condom usually comes out in about 48 hours. If not, wait another day. If, after 72 hours, you don’t see anything, you must call the clinic.

Don’t wait for the entire 72 hours if:

  • Your dog stops eating
  • Has diarrheaIs pooping very little
  • Experiencing pain while pooping
  • Is constipated
  • Is acting sluggish 

If you see any of the above, then you must call your vet right away. These symptoms could indicate a blockage.

Russian toy terrier with frisbee
A Russian Toy Terrier plays with a frisbee. Small dogs play frisbee too!

Blockage and Dog Size

As I’ve mentioned before, larger and medium-sized dogs aren’t quite as affected if they’ve swallowed a single condom. Due to their larger intestines, a condom would pass through and out of their system – in most cases.

In other cases, they could suffer a partial blockage. So it would be best if you kept an eye on him for any indications.

Smaller dogs are the most vulnerable. Their tiny intestines can seldom allow any non-digestible material to pass through without causing havoc to their system. It would be best if you took extreme care of your toy or teacup poodle when this happens.

Allergy

It happens rarely, but condoms can induce an allergy in some dogs. Most condoms are made from latex, which is derived from natural rubber.

Dogs can be allergic to the sap of the rubber plant or the latex. Whether the condom is made from natural or synthetic rubber, they can have an allergic reaction, which can worsen if left untreated.

Some of the symptoms of latex allergy in dogs are:

  • Puking
  • Continuous licking or pawing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Head shaking
  • Rashes on his skin
  • Abdominal pain
  • Skin rashes can be seen on the dog’s mouth, face, groin, under the front legs, or between the toes.

Treatment for the allergy is possible, but medications come with some unpleasant side effects like diarrhea or an increase in thirst. Severe side effects could include liver failure and diabetes. Ask your vet instead of self-medicating.

Diagnosis

As soon as you tell your vet, they’ll treat it as a gastrointestinal obstruction in your dog. In extreme cases, they will do an ultrasound or an x-ray to see where the condom is stuck and how severe the blockage is. Based on where the condom is fixed, the vet might have to perform a minor surgical procedure to remove it.

Treatment

Treatments will vary depending on how your dog reacts to the ‘foreign object.’ If your dog is experiencing choking, the vet may induce vomiting to help him release the condom. He may also put him on a drip if he’s dehydrated or weak from lack of eating. He could also make the dog unconscious before removing the condom from his mouth. If that’s not possible, he may perform surgery.

How to Prevent It

Stopping your dog from chomping on some things – like the inflatable dog bed you just bought- is next to impossible. And things that are heavily laden with scent, like your body smell, or flavored condoms, are just dog treats in wrappers that he thinks are meant for him.

Prevention is better than cure. Your vet will advise you what to do to prevent your dog from munching on an object and gulping it down like a deliciously hot steak that it isn’t.

One of the best suggestions that your vet will give you – one that I would reiterate here – is to throw the condom in a trash bin that’s way beyond your dog’s reach. Look for places that he cannot access easily and throw everything that could be harmful non food items -condoms, tampons, sanitary pads, anything that he would like to feast on.

Here are dog-proof kitchen bins for the most ardent rummaging canine companion.

My Dog Ate a Condom - What to do? 2

Will They Be Ok?

You’re lucky because unflavored condoms are soft and don’t contain anything toxic. A bad-case scenario is surgery. (The worst could be fatal.) Mostly, large dogs pass soft objects in their stools. However, if your large dog has eaten multiple condoms, the risk is higher. If you are a pet parent of a small or a medium dog, the risk is always on the high side.

After discovering your dog’s intestinal tract shenanigans, you should take every step with caution, try not to stick your finger down its throat (that could damage the food pipe), and be in touch with your vet.

And… take a deep breath. Once it’s all over, you’re going to laugh over it. Trust me! (It happened to our fur baby…).