The Short Answer is:
Your dog should be assessed immediately if it shows any abnormal signs of health after swallowing a sponge piece. If your dog shows any of these symptoms you should take it to the vet. It is important to keep sponges away from dogs since they can be harmful to them.
The purpose of this research is to explain “Help! My Dog Ate A Sponge“.
- My dog ate a sponge- what should I do? Five Factors
- Not all sponges are created equally
- Three symptoms to look out for if your dog has eaten a sponge
- Two reasons why dogs like eating sponges?
- Help! My Dog Ate A Sponge (Watch Video)
From the sponge balls designed to keep our young children safe to the makeup sponges used to create a near-flawless finish to the myriad of sponges used for cleaning whether it be in the kitchen or the shower sponges come in all shapes and sizes.
It is hard to imagine our modern lives without sponges but what happens if our dogs eat them?
This is the question I have attempted to answer in this article.
Because I did not realize that biodegradable sponges were a big seller as I was writing it I got carried away.
I wondered whether these sponges could be digested by dogs!
That one is still up for debate in my opinion!
To end my prattling lets see what you should do if your dog eats a sponge!
My dog ate a sponge- what should I do? Five Factors
Despite my “latest” research on cellulose sponges there are many factors that will influence your course of action.
- The type of plastic sponge the dog ate
- what it was eaten with
- and whether or not it contained contaminants
- contaminants and how big the dog was
- compared to sea sponges
Lets examine each one individually.
I mentioned briefly above that these sponges are not digestible by dogs no matter how powerful their stomach acids are.
It is fortunate that foam made only of polyester is by its very nature very soft which is a bonus as it makes its way through your dogs system as it is not likely to irritate the lining of the organs in your dogs body.
If a sponge were treated with a more abrasive scrub layer it might be a different proposition. The polyurethane layer which is tougher than polyester may graze or cut the lining.
Given how wet it will be I think this is unlikely to happen.
After looking at plastic sponges I now want to examine how the sponge was eaten.
How the sponge was eaten
It may sound as if I am conjuring up a picture of a dog eating a sponge with a side of fries but perhaps I have phrased it poorly.
The question is whether your dog swallowed the sponge whole or chewed it up into smaller pieces.
No matter how poorly I phrase this idea it is a very important factor in determining whether or not your dog should see a vet.
Chewing up a sponge into tiny pieces is probably much safer than swallowing it whole or tearing it up into two pieces and swallowing those.
Your dog will probably be able to pass these tiny pieces through his body without any issues.
Its not a comfortable experience for your dog to poop for a few days…
Small sponge pieces are much less likely to clog your dogs system than larger ones.
Your dog could have a blockage in its throat or intestine caused by these large pieces.
Whether the sponge had any contaminants on it
We have so far discussed your dog eating a sponge from the perspective of the sponge being clean.
In other words it does not “contain” any other substances or chemicals.
However it is unlikely to happen since that isnot how sponges are used at home.
The use of a sponsor is usually in conjunction with another process.
The sponges used in the kitchen can be washed with dish soap or bleach the makeup sponges might have makeup on them and the loafer we use to clean our backs in the shower will probably have remnants of shower gel on it.
If you think about it the safest option for you would be for your dog to chew on a sponge tennis ball that may have a bit of mud on it.
My list of contaminants includes a number of serious concerns.
Although I do not think dish soap shower gel or makeup will be dangerous for your dog they are something else to consider after your dog ate a sponge.
Attempting to absorb these “alien” substances may cause your dog to vomit or have a touch of diarrhea.
If your dog ingested bleach on a sponge I thought it might be a risk but it does not seem to be.
The majority of household bleaches will be irritating but no longer.
Ultra-concentrated or color-safe bleaches are an emergency for veterinarians since they are corrosive and can result in significant internal and external burns.
The size of the dog
A key consideration when a dog eats something that it should not is the size of the dog compared to the amount of “the thing.”.
Larger dogs on average are able to tolerate eating more of something than smaller dogs.
You should also consider the age of your dog when making this decision.
Due to their young and immature bodies puppies are much less able to handle eating non-food items than a more mature dogs.
Earlier we discussed making sponges from cellulose instead of plastic an emerging trend.
Everything goes full circle as they say.
The sponges we know and use today have been around for thousands of years.
The Romans and Ancient Egyptians used sponges according to reliable records.
Now they werenot using foam sponges but sea sponges which are simple animals that live in the sea.
As a matter of fact you can still buy sea sponges today to help you clean yourself while taking a bath.
The point I am making is that sea sponges are even more natural than cellulose sponges (because they are not processed as much) and that if your dog eats a sea sponge there is a good chance that it will be digested.
Not all sponges are created equally
If you are anything like me you might know that sponges are made of foam which is a form of plastic.
Although some sponges are larger and some smaller they are all basically foam and some have an abrasive layer on top.
Taking a pretty standard kitchen sponge which is mostly yellow but has a thin layer of green on top the main yellow body is made from polyester which is a form of plastic.
Polyurethane is used for the top layer of scrub which has a longer lifespan.
The fact that plastic does not decompose or break down makes it harmful to the environment as well as to dogs who eat plastic bags.
You have to hope that a plastic sponge will pass safely through the dogs stomach and end up in their stool since it would not break down.
My research has revealed that more and more sponges are made of cellulose which is essentially wood pulp.
The best-selling scrub sponge on Amazon today is a cellulose sponge which is one of the top brands.
It is not clear how well these cellulose sponges biodegrade. Several websites confirm this.
Its not clear to me how quickly they degrade- particularly when they’re in a dogs stomach.
There was one very interesting forum thread that discussed a dog who ate a cellulose sponge.
However nowhere does it explicitly state that since the sponge is made of cellulose it will not harm a dog.
Three symptoms to look out for if your dog has eaten a sponge
You should be on the lookout for three symptoms.
In case your dog displays any of these symptoms you should contact your veterinarian.
You might need to bring your dog in to see a vet or observe it at home for a while.
Do you know how I knew I would mention vomiting in this list?
Your dog might vomit immediately after eating sponge supper or they might vomit hours or days later.
Sponge vomit is good news because this is a natural reaction and hopefully most of the sponge will reappear.
The more delayed the vomiting the more likely your dog is to have sponge pieces stuck somewhere in his system.
Partially digested food might also be thrown up by your dog.
Also this suggests that there might be a blockage.
You should call your veterinarian and provide as much detail as possible.
If your dog eats the sponge he should experience some short-term diarrhea within a day or two.
My definition of short-term is that your dogs stools have returned to normal within 24 hours of the onset of diarrhea.
Diarrhea that persists for more than 24 hours should be reported to your veterinarian since it implies either that a sponge piece is stuck or one of the organs has been damaged.
If your dog fails to poop within 24 hours of an incident and they would normally poop within that time frame you should contact your veterinarian.
The symptoms indicate that there is an internal blockage somewhere.
Two reasons why dogs like eating sponges?
First of all some dogs will eat anything regardless of whether it is food or not.
A medical condition known as Pica affects dogs that consistently eat non-food items such as underwear rocks and their beds.
Nobody knows why a dog would eat items that are meant for eating on a regular basis.
Veterinary professionals believe that it is because the food that a dog is eating is not nourishing enough while others believe it might be because he has severe separation anxiety.
As mentioned previously sponges most of the time have an interesting smell because of a chemical or substance that was used to clean them.
Besides having an irresistible odor because of a chemical sponges are also appealing to dogs because they might smell like food germs dirt or grime!
If you want to read more about dog health tips read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.