My Dog Ate Dryer Sheets – Should I Be Worried?

If your dog ate dryer sheets, the first thing you should do is read the ingredients label. Some dryer sheets are non-toxic and all-natural. In that case, you likely have nothing to worry about. However, if the sheets contain Dipalmitoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, give the vet a call. 

Dogs, especially if they are bored or unsupervised, are prone to running around the house and chewing on anything they can find. Unfortunately, many of these objects can be harmful to their health.

The laundry room is full of items with harmful chemicals, so it can cause a great deal of panic when you find your dog chewing on or eating items from the laundry room.

Since laundry cleaning products are never in contact with items you eat, they contain more toxic chemicals than other household cleaning products. This means the typical laundry cleaning product is dangerous for dogs to consume.

Unfortunately, many dogs are attracted to the scent of dryer sheets. Whether you drop a used one when taking a load out of the dryer or your dog got to the box, dryer sheets are easy for dogs to eat.

So if your dog has eaten dryer sheets, what do you do?

Will Dryer Sheets Harm Your Dog?

Dryer sheets are made up of polyester and soaked in fabric softener. They are put in the dryer with your wet clothes and make your clothes softer. They also help reduce static.

To know if dryer sheets are harmful, we need to look at some of the common ingredients and see what effect they can have on your dog.

Ingredients

Because dryer sheets are not designed to be consumed or be stored near food, dryer sheet manufacturers are not required to disclose all ingredients. This means there are likely many ingredients included that we will never know about.

However, some ingredients are common in almost all dryer sheets.

The three main ingredients in the leading brand of dryer sheets are:

Dipalmitoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate

This is considered to be mildly toxic upon consumption. It is included to make your clothes have less static after being in the dryer.

It can cause endocrine or developmental effects in humans, but there have not been enough studies to evaluate its impact on dogs.

This ingredient is also linked to respiratory issues. Overall, this is not a great thing for your dog to consume, even if there are no proven effects on dogs.

Fragrance

Fragrance is always something to look out for. Dryer sheets do not include the source of the fragrance besides stating that there is a scent. Fragrance can be sourced from many places, some of which can be toxic to dogs.

Essential oils, for example, are highly toxic to dogs in undiluted quantities. Other types of scents can cause digestive issues in your dog.

Many scents can cause skin irritation or damage, can be mildly toxic to your dog, and cause respiratory issues.

Cationic Softeners

Similar to fragrance, cationic softeners are a very vague ingredient that is not properly sourced. The softening agents in your dryer sheets may cause toxicity to your dog, especially if consumed. There is also a risk of respiratory harm, as well as the possibility of other internal issues.

Evaluate the Severity

There are different levels of danger depending on the type of dryer sheets, the ingredients, and the amount that your dog consumes.

Read the Ingredients

First, you want to read the ingredients. If the product is not labeled as non-toxic or natural, there’s a good chance it contains harmful chemicals that should not be consumed.

Some things are more toxic than others. Keep an eye out for ingredients that can cause poisoning or will hurt your dog, especially harsh or unsourced chemicals.

Call poison control or the manufacturer if you are not sure of the ingredients. It is important to know what exactly your dog has eaten to get the proper treatment.

How Many Did Your Pup Eat?

Because dogs are prone to picking up and chewing on anything, they may have just spat it out after deciding it was not tasty.

If your dog only ate a corner of a dryer sheet, chances are they will be fine. Your dog may have only chewed on it and then spat it out without swallowing. This minimizes the risk of damage.

If your dog got into the laundry room when you were not looking, try to figure out where they got the dryer sheets from and how many are missing. It is better to assume that they ate more than you think.

If they swallowed multiple sheets, get to the emergency veterinarian right away.

Used Dryer Sheet

There is a smaller chance of adverse effects if your dog has gotten their teeth on a dryer sheet that has already been used.

This means that most of the chemicals have already been used in the dryer. At that point, there are trace amounts of chemicals that likely will not do too much harm.

However, used dryer sheets can still cause an obstruction in your dog’s digestive system. If your dog has regular bowel movements, it should be fine. If you notice irregular bowel movements or constipation, it could mean they have an obstruction.

Unused Dryer Sheet

Unused dryer sheets contain more chemicals because they have yet to be used. It is important to keep a close eye on your dog if dryer sheets or chemicals are within reach.

Unused sheets might cause an internal chemical burn. Like used dryer sheets, unused sheets can also cause an obstruction in the digestive tract.

If your dog has just consumed a dryer sheet within the last hour, you can try to induce vomiting to prevent the digestion of the chemicals. This might prevent your dog from any long-term harm.

We highly recommend calling the vet before inducing vomiting.

What to Look Out For

Even if your dog seems to be completely fine, monitor your dog for the next few hours. It is crucial to not leave your dog unattended to eat more dryer sheets or anything else toxic.

If your dog has digestive issues for the next few days, you may have to put them on a bland diet.

If your dog presents any of these symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as you can.

Lethargy

If your dog has very poor energy levels, there’s a chance they are having a reaction from the chemicals in the dryer sheet. If your dog also refuses to eat or drink, that is another big sign of something being wrong.

Digestive Issues

Your pup might vomit or suffer from diarrhea. This points to something being wrong internally.

Odd Behaviors

Finally, keep an eye out for anything that is out of the ordinary. Is your dog seizing or twitching? If so, it is important to call the vet right away.

Purchase Different Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets are unlikely to be fatal to your dog, but they are not suitable for dogs to consume. Make sure to always keep chemicals out of reach of your dog. It’s also a good idea to use natural, unscented, pet-friendly products when you can. There are dryer sheets on the market that are less toxic than the leading brands.

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