Why Do Dogs Like Q-Tips? (Is It Harmful?)

Why Do Dogs Like Q-Tips

Q-tips are one of the more bizarre things dogs can ingest in the home.

Most animals in the wild have been known to consume the small item confusing it for food.

So your dog doing the same should not be strange but it is still not okay when it happens so you should be vigilant.


Why Do Dogs Eat Q-tips?

dog showing its tongue


1. It is believed used q-tips (for ear cleaning purposes) have your scent on it so it attracts your dogs.

This is one reason and only covers used q-tips, but the consensus is they eat them out of boredom, anxiety, or hunger.

Dogs that are heavy eaters and would munch on anything if they are not getting enough food.

And dogs with dietary indiscretion who ingest anything they see would go for q-tips.

Also, it does not help if they are easily accessible.


2. In the case of used q-tips, it is best to dispose of them properly; no, that does not mean flushing it down the toilet, it is bad for the environment.

You dispose of it properly by securing it in a bin or trash bag so your dog can not get to it.

The same goes for if you used the q-tip with any liquids for cleaning or any other purpose.

Some chemicals or liquids can be poisonous to dogs, so it is very important to dispose of used q-tips properly.


3. In the case of new q-tips, you would have to keep it out of their reach still, in high cabinets or firmly closed drawers.

Other methods of control are training your dog to avoid q-tips by rewarding good behaviour by not eating or interacting with the q-tips.

Using dog repellent around the cabinet where the q-tip and other things dangerous to dogs are kept.

The worst case is a dog learning from a bad experience to avoid q-tips, but we do not pray for that to happen.



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What If They Ingest A Q-tip?

purple q-tips

If they do ingest q-tips, inducing vomiting is not the way to go.

The good news is q-tips can be passed safely in 2–3 days if it does not cause any internal damage to your pet.

q-tips with bonded paper applicators and the cotton heads can be digested to an extent in the stomach since they are organic.


To help your dog pass it you can do three things:


1. Feed your dog a Vaseline sandwich to soothe their insides and help ease the q-tip out.

The Vaseline can be spread on bread and fed to your dog bits at a time for less of a mess.

The Vaseline will coat the digestive tract making it easier for the q-tip to move through and hopefully limit any internal damage.


2. Feed your pet some heavy fibre foods to encourage digestive movement and speed up the passing.

This will help your dog along, and you, the faster it gets out of the system the less you have to worry.


3. Feed your dog white rice and food that can build up and encase the q-tip.

So it moves through the intestine and out the anus without injury.


It is best to observe your pet for any changes, vomiting, diarrhoea, or pain; if you do, you will need to contact your veterinarian for help.


What Kind Of Q-tip Was It?

If the applicator is plastic, it can get worse as it will not be digested in your pet’s stomach.

It can puncture internal digestive organs on the way out or even cause an obstruction.

It can be passed but you would need to monitor your dog’s poop for blood.

If there is, a veterinarian is needed.


Less is known about more eco-friendly q-tip options of bamboo or reusable silicone.

Bamboo q-tips are still pointy wood and can cause the same damage as plastic applicators.

Silicone q-tips are silicone all through with no natural or organic components that can be digested.

But it can cause obstructions and a veterinarian would be needed for advice on what to do.


These measures are for q-tips of the regular 3-inch length.

if your dog consumed anything longer, it is more dangerous.

And you would need to call the veterinarian as soon as possible.


What Kind Of Dog Do You Have?

The size of the dog does matter as well because the size of their digestive tract is directly proportional to their size.

For a bigger breed dog, the chances of them passing it successfully are higher than a smaller breed dog that will need to be monitored closely.

Having a dog proof trash can helps if your critter loves going through your trash.

Almost anything can be made dog proof and it is for their own good as well as yours.


We know these things happen sometimes, so it would help if you keep a much safer q-tip in your home: bonded paper over plastic and keep it down to the normal 3-inches.



Final Thoughts

It pays to keep an eye on your possessions, your pet, and your veterinarian on speed dial. Stay calm.

If dogs have survived swallowing plastic bags and coat hangers, a q-tip should not keep your dog down.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.