Sponges are not among the most common items a dog may find yummy, but it might happen that your pooch swallows one of the sponges lying around your house.
If your dog ate a sponge, it’s important to know what kind of sponge and how much of it they’ve eaten, on top of the size of your dog. Eating sponges isn’t usually something to worry about, but in some cases, you may need to call your veterinarian.
What should you do if your dog ate a sponge?
If your dog swallowed a sponge, start by doing some considerations. As in most cases, the size of your dog can make the difference between a dangerous situation and nothing to worry about.
If your dog was biting the sponge for entertainment, it’s unlikely they will end up eating it whole, unless we’re in the presence of a condition called pica, which means your dog felt the compelling need to actually feed on the sponge.
Ingesting a small piece of sponge shouldn’t do much damage. If your dog doesn’t show any symptoms and the stools are normal for over 48 hours, it should be fine.
However, if you have a small dog or a puppy, even a small piece could represent a health risk, so it would be better to alert your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Give your dog bulky food
In these cases, it would be useful to help the sponge pass through quickly by bulking up the stools.
You can feed your dog bulky food such as fiber bread, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, or bran muffins, to name a few.
These should wrap around the sponge and push it through the intestines. Remember to check the stools regularly the following days.
Risks of eating sponges in dogs.
The main risk when a dog swallows a sponge is that sponges tend to inflate with liquids and if this happens inside your dog’s stomach or intestines it can cause a blockage that will prevent them from eating and expelling feces correctly.
In that case, a medical examination will be fundamental to understand if surgery is needed to remove the object.
Are sponges toxic for dogs?
Although sponges are not inherently toxic to dogs and you won’t see immediate consequences if your pet swallows a piece of sponge, it’s necessary to differentiate between different types of sponges.
Usually, what is actually dangerous for your dog are the remnants stuck on the surface of the sponge, and not the sponge in itself.
The sponges used to wash dishes or clean the surfaces can be dangerous for more than one reason.
For starters, there might still be soap or detergent on the surface of the sponge, which can be poisonous or even deadly if ingested.
It would be wise to thoroughly wash the sponge from all the detergent after using it, or better make sure your dog doesn’t have access to this kind of sponge.
Another risk related to the kitchen sponge is the materials it’s made of. Most kitchen sponges have an abrasive side that it’s made from polyurethane.
It can be twice as dangerous because, on one hand, the abrasive side of the sponge might cause inflammation or even wounds inside the digestive system and on the other, polyurethane can be toxic to dogs.
Beauty blenders are often made from foam and although eating a foam sponge doesn’t present different risks than a normal one, in this case, it’s the makeup that makes a great difference.
Some beauty products contain components that can be very toxic to dogs. Some of them are toxic even to humans and we often aren’t even aware of it!
If your dog ate a makeup sponge, you need to call the Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian. It would be good to identify the product that the blender was used for and keep the box nearby, in case you need to check the components.
If there was something poisonous in the makeup, identifying the component will be fundamental to save your dog’s life.
Symptoms to look out for if your dog swallowed a sponge.
When your dog eats a non-edible item, there are always certain signs of discomfort that must not be overlooked.
If you notice any of these symptoms, even days after the ingestion, you should contact your local emergency clinic or veterinarian immediately. Every foreign object ingestion is different and sometimes symptoms can appear up to a week later.
Vomiting usually occurs when there is a blockage or something that hasn’t been properly digested.
If your dog vomits soon after ingesting the sponge, they might be trying to cough it back up. It can be dangerous because while coming back up the sponge might get stuck in the esophagus and cause suffocation, depending on the size of the piece ingested.
If vomit appears after a few days, your dog should be seen as soon as possible because the sponge is probably causing a blockage in the gastrointestinal apparatus.
When there is a blockage in the stomach or intestines, diarrhea and constipation are common alarm bells.
When the blockage is partial, you might notice liquid stools because that’s probably the only thing your dog manages to push out. When there’s a complete blockage, your dog won’t be able to pass anything.
Checking the stools will be fundamental to understand the current state of the intestines. Even if you find pieces of the sponge, don’t lower your guard and keep an eye on the bowel movements for a few days.
A lethargic dog is a dog that has low energy, weakness, or even anemia. Lethargy can be a consequence of a lack of appetite or inability to eat because of a blockage.
A dog that is more or less lethargic will be slower to answer physical stimulation or even not react at all; they will be uninterested in normal activities they used to enjoy like playing or the daily walks; they might have a fever or sore muscles; they will act out of character or present abnormal behavior in general.
Abdominal pain is a major warning sign and if this symptom follows the accidental ingestion, you should not waste time and bring your dog in for a medical examination.
Pain in the lower abdomen can be a sign of blockage, constipation, or inflammation. The latter is particularly worrying because many foreign objects may cause peritonitis and if not treated in time this disease can be deadly.
A dog who experiences abdominal pain will be vocal about it, they will experience discomfort or pain when touched on their belly and they will lie down in strange positions.
Can dogs eat sponges?
Dogs cannot eat sponges because the outcome of the ingestion is hard to predict and it could potentially be dangerous.
Sponges, like many other non-edible things, could pass through with no problems, but could also cause blockages and inflammations, which may require expensive and painful treatments such as medical surgery.
Sponges are among the items that should be absolutely kept away from your dog’s reach because you never know what kind of residuals are left on the surface that could harm your dog if ingested.
If your dog likes to chew on spongy items, there’s a great variety of dog toys and chews that are specifically designed for your pet and safe to play with.