If you have a dog that eats anything and everything, you might find yourself in a terrifying situation when he actually does eat that term paper that you've left laying out on your desk. If you catch your dog in the act of eating the paper, you may be able to tell him to "drop it" and make sure he spits out whatever pieces he has eaten. However, if you've just walked in and see your paper shredded all over the floor, then your initial shock and anger may turn to fear. Fortunately, you don't really have to be overly worried if your dog eats the paper, as long as he doesn't eat the staple that was holding it together. Still, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure that he isn't harmed in any way:
First of all, if you can see that your dog has only consumed a small quantity of paper, don't panic. More than likely, he has only eaten a small piece, and it will pass through his digestive tract without a problem. In the event that he has consumed a large amount, you should calmly place a call to your local vet's office and explain what happened. He or she will then be able to determine whether the dog will be okay, or if he needs to be seen right away.
Watch for Symptoms of Intestinal Distress
Watch your dog throughout the day to see how his behavior progresses. If he seems perfectly happy and energetic, then chances are that he wasn't really affected by that paper in the first place. However, you should schedule an immediate appointment with your veterinarian if you observe any of the following symptoms in your dog:
- Refusal to eat or drink
- Irritability or other mood changes
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
All of these symptoms can be signs of intestinal distress and pain, and they should be taken very seriously, as they could mean that the paper your dog ate is jamming up his GI tract.
Consider All of Your Options
If you do end up going to the vet's office when the dog eats paper, then you need to discuss all of the options for removing the blockage from your dog's body. In most cases, some sort of a surgery will be required to get the paper out of his GI tract. Talk with your veterinarian about all possible options, including which ones are the most affordable and offer the quickest recovery time, and then pick the option that will work best for your dog.
Educate Others in Your Home
After you and your dog return from the vet's office, you should work to educate the members of your family about what measures they should take to prevent this from happening again. This means that you will constantly need to make sure people are storing their napkins and other paper products in places where the dog cannot jump or climb, and it also means that you will need to be more careful about leaving the dog alone.
Believe it or not, dogs really will eat your homework when given the opportunity. While in most cases they will be okay, consuming large quantities of paper can have detrimental effects on their health. The best way to keep your dog safe is to keep any products he could chew on out of his reach if possible. If you do suspect that your dog has eaten paper, contact a vet, such as Grove Center Veterinary Hospital, right away to be sure that everything is fine.