Help! My Dog Ate Paper Towel!

Dog Ate Paper Towel

Dogs are playful, and when you're out and about, they find ways to entertain themselves! You come from work, and you see all this mess on the kitchen floor. It's your dog, and they went through the cleaning supplies cabinet!

Everything's a mess. You see torn up paper towels everywhere, cleaning products in disarray. Oh no, your dog most likely ate paper towels while playing with them! What do you do? Will they be okay? Read more to find out!


What Happens When Your Dog Eats Paper Towel

White Dog Ate Paper

Oftentimes, the paper towel that your dog ate may pass through without a hitch, especially if they managed to tear it up into pieces before lapping it all up. But what happens if they eat more than their tummy could handle? Here are some dangers to your dog eating paper towels:

1. Bowel Obstruction

What if my dog didn't vomit the paper towel up?

Small bits and pieces of paper towel can pass along your dog's digestive tract without issues. It's when they ate a lot you have to watch out.

Paper towels have cloth-like fibers that take a lot of work to digest. Some could even end up being only partly digested! These undigested paper towels then travel along the intestine and could create a blockage. The next time your dog scarfs down their food, it gets backed up behind a paper towel wall. Yikes!

When left unchecked, symptoms start to show. Some of these are loss of appetite, bloating, abdominal pain, and vomiting.

2. Malnutrition

So, you waited for the signs, waited for the vomiting, waited for the paper towel in their poop, and nothing. Phew! Is it a close call? Following the weeks, you notice that your dog is getting thinner, what's happening?

The paper towel could still be in your dog's stomach and is taking up space. This leads to your dog consuming less than it should, and thus would not be getting the nutrients it needs. Consult your vet for your concerns so that they could schedule an x-ray or ultrasound for your dog.

3. Poisoning

Poisoning is possible if the paper towel that your dog ate has been wiped with cleaning products. The harsh detergents used in cleaning will react with your dog's stomach acid. Your dog's stomach then reacts and would try to expel the offending chemical through vomiting or diarrhea.

But what if they ate paper towels soaked in cleaning products?

Toxic amounts of cleaning products (i.e., detergents) are life-threatening to your dog. They would start drooling, show signs of discomfort, no appetite, and even shivers.

What Do You Do When Your Dog Eats Paper Towel?

Black Dog Ate Paper

The first thing you can do is wait.

This is because while the paper towel can pass through your dog, there is also the risk that it won't. So what you do is take note of how many hours it has been since your dog ate paper towels. They should be ready to poop it out within the day or the following one. Always remember that waiting is in the 24-hour time frame.

Here's what can happen and what to do:

They vomited!

It's usually a good sign if they vomit. (Especially if they vomit out the paper towel!) But if they keep vomiting and it's all just watery, this could lead to dehydration.

So since it's a good sign, should I make my dog vomit?

You should not induce vomiting without calling your veterinarian first. An example of when not to induce vomit is if the paper towel has a leaning product. The chemicals in the cleaning product can burn your dog's esophagus when they gulped it down. And it can burn again as the chemical goes back up. Dr. Justin Lee made an informative video on when and not to induce vomiting. Click here to check it out.

My dog's not eating!

Loss of appetite could mean a lot of things. Their stomach could be just struggling to digest the paper towels, thus the unease. Or it could be something more serious like a blockage in the intestines, poisoning, undigested paper towel in the stomach.

This is when you take your dog the the vet because poisoning and intestinal blockage are both life-threatening. It's better to bring them as soon as possible before it could get any worse. Your dog may need immediate attention for poisoning and surgery for the blockage.

How about their pooping habits?

Dogs have regular pooping times. Now since they ate paper towels, do they now have difficulty in pooping? Like they get into position, and nothing comes out? They may be constipated as an effect due to the paper towel somewhere in your dog's digestive tract.

And how about if they did poop, is the paper towel there? This may sound gross, but look at the pieces visible in their poop and compare it to the amount consumed. Is it the same? If it's not, there could be some leftover paper towel inside their bodies. We may wait for another round of food cycle for this, but as long as your dog is okay, it's worth it.

The only thing you can do as the owner is to stay vigilant in those 24 hours because any of the signs can be potentially life-threatening. Now you know what these questions could mean to your dog, you can now assess your dog's condition. Ready the number of your veterinarian in case

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will eating a paper towel hurt my dog?

It probably won't while they're eating it, but it may hurt them in the long run as it can cause their stomach to be upset or have a bowel obstruction. But if it's only a small piece relative to your dog's size, it may safely pass through your dog's digestive system. Watch out for vomiting and paper towels in feces!

2. Can a dog die from eating a paper towel?

If it's just a piece, they probably won't. But if they ate, let's say, a whole roll or even only of it, they can die from complications like obstructed bowel.

3. Can paper towels be digested?

Yes, paper towels can be digested. Tiny pieces can go through the stomach and digestive tract just fine. But paper towels are designed to be more durable and more absorbent than your average toilet paper.

If your dog eats paper towels more than their digestive tract could handle, the cloth-like fibers can be left partially undigested and create a blockage in the intestine.

4. How long does it take for an object to pass through a dog?

It usually takes around 10-24 hours for anything to move through your dog's digestive tract. Some objects are too large or complex for your dog's stomach to break down, so sometimes it takes longer. It's also possible for it to be only partially digested. It can also obstruct the intestines. So be aware of your dog's pooping habits!


When your dog eats paper towels, it can be pretty stressful for you and your fur baby. Possible effects range from having an upset stomach to life-threatening complications. Generally, though, your dog can take it!

Remember to keep those pesky paper towels safe and try to place cleaners, laundry supplies, and medications on high shelves. And there are child-proof products that can also be used to keep your dog safe like this one here.

Leave your pet doggos toys too so that they won't scour around for things to do around the house!

I hope this article gave you information that you needed when your dog ate paper towels, and what to do to prevent it the next time!


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