Can Dogs Digest Paper Towels? 5 Things To Do

Dogs are bright and curious creatures. Even if you keep an eye out for your pet’s nose in the garbage, there’s no telling when you’ll find them rooting around in a mound of soiled paper towels.

In the event you discover your dog has eaten paper towels, what do you do next? This is a step-by-step instruction on how to handle your pet’s insatiable curiosity and the paper towel snacking event.

As a reminder, it’s always advisable to call your veterinarian if your pet eats something possibly toxic.

Can Dogs Eat Paper Towels?

No, dogs are not able to eat paper towels since they will not be able to digest the substance and will become sick or ill as a result.

can dogs digest paper towels

These industrial materials, which have become increasingly resistant to break down even after being soaked in liquid, should not be ignored.

As a result, they’ll have an easier time causing obstructions in the intestines of your dog.

You may need to take your pet to the vet for surgery, endoscopy, or even hospitalization if your pet has a serious blockage.

If your dog is gnawing on paper towels, it could be a sign that he’s in need of your help or that he has the mental illness known as pica.

Paper towel consumption is a serious problem that requires the expertise of a specialist, but you may help by storing your supplies in a way that your dog can’t access them.

Will Eating a Paper Towel Hurt My Dog?

They all use wood pulp to make Kleenex-type tissues like paper towels. Paper towel cannot be digested by dogs. Tissues and paper towels might clog a dog’s intestines. The likelihood of a blockage forming is influenced by several factors, including the amount consumed, the size of the parts, and the size of your dog. Paper towels may also contain dangerous compounds, depending on the purpose for which they were used. If ingested by dogs, household cleaners, bleach, nail polish remover, and rubbing alcohol can all be harmful.

My Dog Ate Paper Towel – What Do I Do?

1. Find out what your dog has eaten

What your dog ate and how much of it are the first things you need to know about. If your dog has eaten paper towel, be sure to tell your veterinarian right away so that he or she can adjust your dog’s therapy accordingly.

If so, is it just a small piece of new paper towel? Then then, might it be the crumpled-up kitchen towel used to remove the breakfast grease? Also, maybe the bleach spill was cleaned up with a few pieces of toilet roll? Even if they didn’t eat the paper towel itself, they may have enjoyed gnawing on the cardboard tube.

If you weren’t in the room when your dog ate something, or if they’re extremely fast eaters, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what they ate! However, if the paper towel was used to clean up grease, bleach, or nail polish remover spills, which can be hazardous to dogs if eaten, this is an extremely vital step.

can dogs digest paper towels

2. Find out when was it eaten

In the event that your dog ate paper towel, you should have been able to catch them in the act. If your dog enjoys some solitude while nibbling, you may only notice an upturned bin or a mess on the kitchen counter hours later when you return to the scene of the crime.

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Always call your veterinarian as soon as you realize your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have. If your pet has ingested something that could be harmful, your veterinarian may conduct a few time-sensitive procedures. Endoscopes can be used to remove some types of towels, for example, by producing vomiting or by inserting an endoscope into the intestines. If you don’t call your vet right away, you may lose out on these simple and safe treatment alternatives that could save your pet’s life.

3. Check your dog

Depending on how much and what kind of paper towel a dog eats, their reactions might vary greatly:

There are many who appear to be in good health and can go about their daily routines, including eating and drinking, without any problems at all. If they ingest a considerable amount of paper towel, they may vomit, especially if it contains chemicals like grease or bleach. They may be apprehensive, sluggish, and uncooperative, and they may refuse to drink or eat. Bellies that have been consumed with a large amount of paper towel can appear bloated, making them more sensitive to the touch.

After a few hours have elapsed since your dog ate the problematic paper towel, he or she may experience diarrhea as the paper towel irritates the intestinal lining. They may be unable to go to the bathroom due to their discomfort and may pass paper towel fragments in their stool.

Your physician should be contacted even if you think your dog has been behaving normally because it might take a few hours for the injury to become apparent to the naked eye, especially if your dog is stubborn.

4. Ring your veterinarian

Once you’ve done some detective work and worked out what, and how much, your dog ate; when they ate it, and how they look now, call your vet. If they’re closed, call your next open veterinarian clinic, which may be an emergency facility.

They will ask you the questions outlined above so that they can give the best possible treatment for your dog. A tiny amount of clean toilet paper or kitchen roll may not necessitate your presence. However, if your dog ate a significant amount of paper towel, ate any amount of paper towel that contained a hazardous material, or is otherwise unwell, vomiting, or experiencing diarrhea, your veterinarian will likely want to see your dog right away.

Our advice is not to try to make your pet ill at home. Reasons for this include:

The intestines may become obstructed if they eat too much paper towel

If they’ve ingested a paper towel containing a dangerous material, vomiting it back up could cause harm.

Some of them may have already vomited.

Because of their exhaustion, they may not be able to vomit.

5. Follow your vet’s instructions

Your dog will not want to eat anything once they’ve devoured the paper towel. A blockage produced by the paper towel may cause vomiting, and if your veterinarian thinks your dog needs an anesthesia for an X-ray or surgery, it is better that they have not eaten beforehand.

We also advise against attempting to make your pet ill at home unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so. For the following reasons:

They could become stuck on their way up if they’ve consumed a lot of paper towel.

As a result of vomiting, individuals may be infected with hazardous substances through eating paper towels contaminated with them.

They could be throwing up right now.

They may be extremely drowsy and unable to vomit due to exhaustion.

They could get sicker if they breathe in the vomit they’ve inhaled.

If your dog does not vomit as a result of the chemicals you used, they may be harmful to your dog.

Attend the clinic as soon as your veterinarian has requested that you do so. Don’t forget to bring the bottle or package to the vet if your dog ate paper towels containing a cleaning product, nail polish remover, or other chemicals. In order to get the best treatment for your dog, your veterinarian may call a poison unit that may provide advice on how to deal with different toxins.

can dogs digest paper towels

What Happens if a Dog Eats a Paper Towel?

Several options may be suggested by your veterinarian, depending on the circumstances. There are a few things your veterinarian may wish to do:

1. Giving your dog an injection to make them sick

If your dog ate the paper towel within the last two to three hours, your veterinarian can administer an injection to make them sick. To induce vomiting in a dog at home can be dangerous, but this injection is much more effective, safer, and your vet will be on site at all times to ensure the process is as safe as possible.

2. Putting your dog under a general anesthetic to remove the paper with an endoscope

Vets can use an endoscope, a long, flexible tube, to remove things from your dog’s stomach. Not all veterinarians have access to this equipment, some dogs are too large or little, and some paper is too fragile to be pulled out in this manner. None of these things are always achievable. Using this method is also limited to situations where the object has been in the stomach for less than a few hours, as the scope can’t get there.

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3. Admitting your dog to hospitalize and monitor them

It is possible that your veterinarian will recommend that your dog be hospitalized so that they can monitor their symptoms and respond quickly if the paper towel becomes an issue.

4. Taking a blood test to check organ function and hydration

Your veterinarian may want to check your dog’s blood for evidence of an illness if cleaning agents were found on the paper or if your dog is already showing symptoms. As the name implies, a little sample of blood is drawn from the arm or neck and then processed by a machine. Measurements of enzyme and chemical levels in the blood are made by the equipment.

You should talk to your veterinarian about fish oils, and if you’re still unsure, check out our list of the 10 Best Fish Oils for Dogs.

5. Putting your dog on a drip if they are dehydrated or if toxins need to be flushed out

Veterinarians may consider putting your dog on an IV drip if they have already vomited or if they have eaten something harmful. Fluids are given to them by a needle that is inserted into one of their veins. This is especially critical for vomiting dogs, who may not be able to keep water down.

6. Sedating or giving your dog a general anesthetic to take an x-ray image of their stomach and intestines to check for a blockage

The location of the paper towel in your dog’s intestines and whether it appears to be trapped are two things your veterinarian will want to know if your dog ate it and is displaying symptoms. X-rays can be helpful. In contrast to paper towels, X-rays will reveal any gas buildup behind an obstruction. However, your doctor may propose hospitalizing your dog and repeating the x-rays after a few hours to see whether or not the gas is still flowing.

7. Performing surgery to remove the paper towel

In the event that your dog develops a blockage, the sole treatment option is surgical removal of the obstruction. There is no other way to get a dog to go over a barrier. Because the paper is often so firmly adhered, the intestines are stretched to their breaking point, causing blood flow to become impeded and the gut wall to die or rip. Your veterinarian can open the intestines and remove the obstruction, but he or she may also have to remove some of the damaged intestines.

The Dangers Of Dogs Eating Paper Towels

In the last paragraph, we discussed the dangers of a dog eating paper towels. Paper towels themselves aren’t very harmful, but what happens to them in the gastrointestinal tract is what causes them to be so harmful.

There are a number of reasons why paper towels can get swollen, such as when they are used to mop up significant amounts of liquid.

Paper towels can nearly transform into a thick sludge when exposed to high amounts of moisture, and this can happen in the GI system.

can dogs digest paper towels

You’ll be amazed at what happens when you soak a large amount of toilet paper in water. If you use a lot of toilet paper, it could cause difficulties in your digestive system.

If you eat a lot of paper towels, you run the risk of clogging your digestive tract and preventing other food from passing through.

Depending on the severity of the problem, this can range from a life-threatening obstruction that must be surgically removed to a mass of paper towels that makes it difficult for a dog to pass stool.

In addition to causing intestinal obstruction in dogs, paper towel consumption can also induce severe inflammation in the GI tract.

When the body tries to digest it, this substance can rub and cling to the intestines, producing discomfort. This might cause vomiting and diarrhea in a dog, which can be extremely distressing for them.

Does It Matter How Many Paper Towels They Ate?

Dogs who ingest large amounts of paper towels are more likely to suffer from health issues than those who eat a small amount.

An individual ply of paper towel may be passed by a dog without difficulty, however passing a complete roll of paper towels can be life-threatening.

Even if the severity of the crisis depends on how many paper towels they consumed, this incident must be taken seriously regardless.

While there is no way of knowing in advance how much paper a dog can pass on his own, it is always preferable to call the vet in the event that this does occur.

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Symptoms Of A Dog Sick From Eating Paper Towels

There are a few signs to look for if your dog has eaten paper towels and is having health issues as a result.

The symptoms of these problems are generally a result of a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.

If you ate a paper towel and got sick, you can experience the following symptoms:

  • There is a lot of vomiting, and it’s usually excessive
  • Drooling too much
  • Anorexia
  • Inability to eat or drink without difficulty
  • Lethargy
  • Discomfort or tenderness in the abdomen
  • More frequent and severe farts
  • Due to pain in the abdomen, a hunched appearance is common.
  • Inability or unwillingness to sleep or rest, or an appearance of restlessness when attempting to do so
  • Diarrhea
  • squeezing and straining to expel feces
  • Bloating in the abdomen

If your dog begins to exhibit any of the symptoms listed above, it’s advisable to get advice from your veterinarian. These canine symptoms not only signal to an obstruction of the intestines, but they might also point to additional problems.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Paper Towels?

can dogs digest paper towels

It’s common for people to question what to do when they see their dog chewing on paper towels.

Here are the actions you should follow to give your dog the best chance of healing.

The first step is to collect as much information as possible. Reassessing the roll’s contents to gain an indication of how much paper towels the animals consumed, as well as checking for signs that they were simply shredding the paper towels rather than eating them, is part of this process (such as household cleaners, fruit pits, food grease, etc.).

Once you’ve established a timeline, it’s time to look at the facts. If you caught them eating the paper towels just as you walked in, your veterinarian will be able to treat them more quickly. A possible time frame for when you found the shredded paper towel mess should be given to your veterinarian.

Reach contact to your veterinarian as soon as you have a clear picture of what occurred. The veterinarian will most likely tell you what to do next, or recommend that you bring your dog into their office to be examined by them.


Can dogs digest paper towels? NO!

Fortunately, surgery to remove a paper towel from a dog’s stomach is extremely rare. There is nothing worse than having to deal with the aftermath of your pet eating something that they shouldn’t have. As soon as you notice that your dog has eaten paper towel, keep cool and call your veterinarian right away so that your dog may get the proper treatment and get back to being a nuisance as quickly as possible.


Eating toilet paper can lead to serious digestive issues. At the very least, your pup may experience an upset stomach as the toilet paper passes through their system. This could cause vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and lethargy.
Are Paper Products Dangerous for Dogs? Many dogs don’t eat the paper they play with—the joy is in the ripping up—but if pups do ingest napkins or tissues, there could be serious health consequences. “Small amounts of paper will just pass through a dog’s digestive tract,” says Dr.
It’s not just the texture of the paper that taps into a dog’s instincts. The very act of holding down a tissue box or toilet roll—and shredding it to mulch—echoes the behavior of a dog in the wild as it picks apart its meal. Used paper goods also hold onto a range of scents and flavors that attract dogs.
These industrial strength paper towels are essentially cloth, which can get stuck in the intestines and cause an obstruction, because they don’t “break down” in water (or stomach fluids) like weaker paper products.

Princy Hoang
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