My Dog Ate a Cotton Ball, What Should I Do?


What did you say? Your dog ate a cotton ball? Do you have any idea how much quantity he has already ingested? No? Wondering what should you do? Can dogs eat cotton balls?

Well, agreed, this problem is being faced by many pet parents. Where they don’t have any clue, in their absence their dogs are eating what, and how much quantity they have ingested. Eventually, land up suffering severe health issues.

Dog Ate a Cotton Ball

For now, you don’t have to worry because we have the answer to this question, “My dog ate a cotton ball, What should I do”?

So, without wasting more time or creating confusion, we are here to help you out. And straight away we have an answer for you, which will not only clear all your doubts. But also give you useful tips, which will help you to handle the situation wisely.

Happy reading! And Safe your dog’s life!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate A Cotton Ball?

If you found that your dog is eating cotton balls, then to prevent him give him commands of “stop eating”, “no”, “bad habit”, etc.

Dog Had Cotton Ball

But if already your dog ate a cotton ball, and damage is already been done. As Stated PetMdIf you know your dog swallowed an object, call your veterinarian immediately and take your dog to the vet’s office as soon as possible. The doctor may be able to induce vomiting or retrieve the object from the stomach before serious problems set in.” For that, we have jotted down a few points, which will help you to handle the situation wisely.

Immediate Action

If your dog has already eaten cotton balls, and you are not sure how much quantity he has ingested. In such a case, first, determine the quantity by checking your stock and getting a rough estimation. Then look for whether he has eaten polyester cotton or natural one. So that when you take him to the vet, you know, how much and which quality he has eaten.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Well, from your dog’s health and behavior, you will get a hint of whether he is fine or not. If your dog ate a cotton ball, his body will show you the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration
  • Non-stop barking
  • Lack of appetite
  • Discomfort

If you notice any such symptoms, and you know your dog has eaten cotton balls. Then, without wasting time, take him to the vet clinic.

Consult the Vet

Well, taking him to the vet is the best decision because in this case, you cannot apply any home remedy. Especially, if your dog has eaten cotton balls in large quantities.

Consult the Vet

If you bring him to the clinic soon after he eats the cotton balls, it will be easier for the vet to get it out of his body by making him throw up. Or prescribing medicine, which will help to pass it through his poop.

But if it’s been a long time and your dog ate cotton in bulk, then it will be a little tricky for the vet. As they have to examine his full body, there is a high chance that the cotton ball might have stuck in his stomach. So, to get over from this issue, they might take him under surgery. Where they will give him anesthesia, and open his stomach to remove the cotton balls from his body.

Why Do Dogs Eat a Cotton Ball?

Well, it has been observed that dogs eat inedible items including cotton balls out of curiosity or pica disorder. Allow me to explain you in a better way.

Dog Having Cotton Balls

Dogs are curious by nature, and they do get attracted by texture and smell. So, maybe they like to nibble cotton balls because of their fragrance, and different texture. If he founds it on the floor or corner of the house, he will try to grab it and chew it. According to irishwolfhoundsthe cotton works its way through the digestive tract it will find all the glass pieces and wrap itself around them. Even the teeniest shards of glass will be caught and wrapped in the cotton fibers and the cotton will protect the intestines from damage by the glass.

The next reason could be that he is suffering from pica disorder. If your dog is suffering from pica issues, he will be attracted to eating inedible items. Even after knowing no taste is there, still he craves it. Such as cotton balls, stone, rubber, etc.

Symptoms of Pica disorder:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Eating non-food items
  • Vomiting
  • Strange behavior

If you notice any such symptoms in your dog, then take him to the vet. They will examine his body, and prescribe him medicine, which will help to prevent this disorder.

What Happens if Your Dog Eats Cotton Balls?

Eating one or two small natural cotton balls will not harm your dog’s health. But it will be safe if you don’t allow him to nibble a small cotton ball or any other foreign objects. It’s not a good thing that your dog should try it.[1]

If your dog swallowed cotton balls in large quantities or polyester cotton balls, then it will lead to stomach issues such as gastrointestinal blockage.

Dog Playing with Cotton Balls

Well, gastrointestinal blockage arises when an inedible item such as cotton balls gets logged in the stomach. And your dog’s digestive tract is not able to break down the food for further digestion procedure.

This issue becomes more serious/lethal for your pooch when the cotton balls get stuck in the intestine. Then your dog needs to be operated on to remove the cotton balls from his stomach.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Pale gums
  • Non-stop barking
  • Stomach ache
  • Swelling
  • Whining
  • Discomfort

If your dog ate cotton balls and suffering from such discomfort. It is advisable to take him to the vet for speedy treatment.[2]

How to Keep Your Dog Away From Cotton Balls?

As we read earlier, ingesting a few natural cotton balls won’t harm your dog’s health. But it would be better if you prevent them from eating even a bit of it. This is because they can’t differentiate between natural cotton balls and polyester cotton balls. So it’s your responsibility to look after that he is not ingesting any type of cotton balls.

Keeping Dog Away From Cotton Balls

Here, we have useful tips for you, which will help to prevent your dog from eating cotton balls.

  • Whenever you are using cotton balls, make sure that after your usage you dumb the used balls in the bin. And do not leave it in any corner of the house.
  • Keep your floor, and carpet area clean. Make sure no cotton balls packet or other foreign objects are scattered on the floor. If your pooch finds it, he will try to grab and eat it.
  • At the time, of dumping cotton balls or other foreign objects in the bin, make sure that it’s wrapped properly.
  • Dogs try to eat foreign objects when there is a lack of nutrients in their body. Take him for a body check-up and feed him meals enrich with nutrients, which will stop his habit of eating anything.
  • Retrain him and keep commanding him whenever he tried to eat cotton balls or any non-edible items.

Try out these tips on your pooch. It might take time, but you will get a positive outcome.


Can dog stomach acid dissolve cotton?

Dogs’ stomach utilize hydrochloric acid to break down rough food. If your dog has eaten natural cotton in small quantities, then it can pass out through poop. But if he ingested polyester cotton balls in bulk quantity. Then it will create gastrointestinal blockage issue, and leads to other stomach-related issues.

Can eating cotton hurt a dog?

The thing is that when dogs eat cotton, it’s not broken down properly, which leads to blockage issues. Sometimes, they vomit it back, or else it takes time to pass it through their poop.

How long does it take to know if a dog has a blockage?

Well, it takes around 24 hours to display the symptoms of intestinal blockage after swallowing an inedible item. However, the duration also depends upon the object your dog has swollen. Plus, it also depends on, which body system the item is being logged.

How do vets clear a blockage?

Firstly, a vet will try to remove the blockage by giving medicine so that the object can easily pass away from your pooch’s stool. But, if that didn’t work and the object is large enough or your dog has eaten in a bulk. Then the operation is the only chance to remove the intestinal blockage. They will operate on your dog to give him anesthesia, and do the abdominal surgery where they will open the abdomen and remove the object.

Well, It’s a Wrap!

Dogs eat inedible items out of curiosity or might be suffering from pica disorder. If your dog is one of them who’s interested in having inedible items such as cotton balls, rubber, or stone. Then in such cases, it’s your responsibility to look after and give extra attention so to prevent him from ingesting such items.

If your dog has already eaten a cotton ball, and the damage has been done. In such a situation, you cannot waste time guiding him, your next step is to take him to the vet. Your furry pal will show up with symptoms like vomiting, excessive drooling, lethargy, lack of appetite, etc. Let the vet do their work, and you can help them by giving information like how much he has ingested. Your information will help in speedy treatment.

Here’s a suggestion for you, keep cotton balls away from your dog, and do not dump them in any corner of the house. Be extra careful when your dog is around so that he does not eat inedible items.

Dogs are curious by nature, so it would be safe if you keep an eye on him and prevent him from ingesting any inedible items like cotton balls.


  1. Wormald, D., Lawrence, A. J., Carter, G., & Fisher, A. D. (2017). Reduced heart rate variability in pet dogs affected by anxiety-related behaviour problems. Physiology & behavior168, 122-127.
  2. Lascelles, B. D. X., Henderson, R. A., Seguin, B., Liptak, J. M., & Withrow, S. J. (2004). Bilateral rostral maxillectomy and nasal planectomy for large rostral maxillofacial neoplasms in six dogs and one cat. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association40(2), 137-146.