What Do I Do If My Dog Ate a Dryer Sheet? (Explained)

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate a Dryer Sheet? Phot of a dog looking sick with dryer sheets by its side.

Every pet parent will confirm dogs eat all sorts of things that they shouldn’t because they smell good. Did your dog eat a dryer sheet? Here’s what you’ll want to know!

If your dog has eaten a dryer sheet, you’ll need to start watching for signs of complications. Symptoms could be mild to severe and even life-threatening, depending on what you used and how many of them your dog ate. Complications from eating a dryer sheet can include skin and mouth irritations, a blockage, poisoning, and severe dehydration.

You’ll need to know what to watch for and when to take action to ensure that your dog stays safe!

Are dryer sheets toxic to dogs?

While dryer sheets are not a guarantee of being toxic, they can be toxic to dogs. They can be toxic for several reasons (more on that below), which also heightens the chances that your dog will have a serious and potentially fatal reaction.

A dog that eats a dryer sheet is more at-risk than a lot of well-intentioned pet parents may realize, so be careful to take this seriously!

Why do dogs like dryer sheets?

They’re just fabric-like pieces of paper, right? So, why do dogs like them so much? To your dog, they’re exciting.

Firstly, they smell amazing, regardless of the scent you get, or even the unscented ones. They smell fascinating to your dog. Part of how they smell is to lick and bite and chew. Dogs eat all sorts of strange things because they smell good, and dryer sheets certainly fall into that category.

The other thing to focus on is that dryer sheets are interesting in their texture. Since dogs explore textures with their mouths, they often will chew and possibly swallow something just because it feels interesting. 

Can a dog get sick after eating a dryer sheet?

Yes, it’s very easy for a dog to get sick after eating a dryer sheet because there are numerous ways to get sick, and there are also numerous types of sicknesses and complications possible from dryer sheets. introduced above already, the main complications possible are:

  • Skin/external irritation
  • Poisoning
  • Digestive and stomach issues
  • Blockages

Skin/external irritation

Because they are laden with chemicals for use in the dryer and not intended for eating, it’s very common for them to cause skin irritations, sores, and burns. To begin with, dogs have sensitive skin, and they also have a low tolerance for chemicals.

Irritations on their skin and in their mouth and throat are considered mild but still worrisome complications. Natural dryer sheers are no safer, as they still have some sort of chemical agents in them.

Poisoning

The same chemical make-up also causes poisoning in your dog. Since they are sensitive to topical chemicals, they will also be sensitive in how their body reacts to them internally!

Since they are laden with chemicals, it’s very common to see poisoning if your dog has eaten a dryer sheet. There is a list of symptoms below to watch for.

Digestive and stomach issues

A dog’s stomach is a complex thing but also very sensitive. The dryer sheet can cause indigestion since they can’ break it down. It also will absorb a lot of your dog’s natural liquids, making dehydration — severe dehydration — a common consequence.

In dogs, dehydration is a serious complication and can be fatal. This, combined with diarrhea from indigestion, can mean fast-acting dehydration in your dog.

Blockages

Then there’s the sheet itself. Since your dog can’t break it down, it will pass through the twisty, turny digestive tract as it is. This easily will snag in a corner and can cause a blockage. This will mean surgery and other interventions to save your dog’s life, as things will back up very quickly. This is as serious as the other complications mentioned.

Can dryer sheets kill dogs?

Unfortunately, yes, dryer sheets can easily kill dogs. To protect your dog, you’ll need to learn about possible compilations and how to spot their symptoms. Early intervention is essential to protecting your dog’s health. Recognizing a problem before it’s too late is a crucial must-know for dog parents.

Symptoms to look for after my dog ate dryer sheet

Regardless of the possible complication listed above, you’ll be happy to know that the symptoms are the same. Why? Because if you see any of these symptoms (or a combination of them), a trip to the vet as soon as possible is going to be your best course of action.

The type of sickness doesn’t matter the same way because your vet will be the person to intervene. They have in-depth education and experience to know how to help save your dog. Symptoms include:

  • No appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritations (redness, burning, etc.)
  • Drooling
  • Pain indicators
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures

These symptoms show that your dog is having some sort of complication from the dryer sheet. It could be as “simple” as indigestion or as severe as poisoning. Regardless, a vet will need to have a look sooner rather than later.

What should I do if my dog ate a dryer sheet?

If you’ve discovered that your dog has eaten a dryer sheet, there are some simple but effective steps that you can follow to keep your dog’s health and comfort front of mind:

  • Figure out how many he ate
  • Have your brand information ready (including brand name, the line of sheets, and a complete list of ingredients)
  • Give him access to clean water
  • Don’t induce vomiting
  • Watch for symptoms for 25-72 hours
  • Take him to the vet even after passing the sheets

You might want to call your vet just in case to let them know what happened. Since they will know your dog’s history, they might recommend bringing him in just in case. Or give you some more information on complications to watch for. At the very least, they’ll know to keep an emergency spot open so that you can bring your dog in just in case.

If your dog has no symptoms and passes the dryer sheet with no complications, you’ve gotten off fortunate. Even if this is the case, going to the vet for a check-up is a good idea. After all, there could be remnants, and poisoning can have very mild symptoms. Having a vet’s professional opinion is a good idea.

Should I take my dog to the vet after eating a dryer sheet?

If you’re asking yourself this question, then the answer is most likely “yes.” Either your dog is showing some sort of symptom, or you’ve got a gut feeling that something just isn’t right. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have a professional look at your dog to ensure that everything is okay.

My dog ate a dryer sheet and is throwing up

As listed above, this is a sign that your dog has a complication from the sheet. Even if it’s just discomfort and they’re throwing up to try to get the dryer sheet out of their throat. The process of doing so can further stress their body and possibly get the wadded-up sheet stuck in their throat. If it’s after-hours, don’t wait until morning. Call an emergency vet and bring your dog in.

How to help my dog recover from dryer sheet poisoning

If your dog has eaten the sheet and reacted to the poison in the chemicals. In that case, the recovery process will be challenging but essential to help him recover fully. 

Firstly, don’t assume it’s poison. Get a vet check-up to confirm that it was poison and what kind of poison it was. They may recommend a bland diet with lots of water. They also may recommend particular medications to counteract the poison as it works its way out of their system. Follow your vet’s advice exactly as they recommend it and ask for clarification if unsure. 

Poisoning is serious and has plenty of room to worsen. Follow the advice that your vet gave you to strengthen your dog’s body as much as possible as it works the toxins out of their system!

Photo of a dog sick in bed.

Fresh vs. Used dryer sheets

Sometimes dogs will help themselves to your unfolded dry laundry. This can include used dryer sheets. Are they just as dangerous? Is there a difference?

Fresh dryer sheets are considered to pose the most risk for your dog. They are saturated with chemicals and still have their moisture absorption properties. They are the most likely to cause a bad reaction.

However, used dryer sheets can still be dangerous. While they are “used up” in their chemicals and dehydrating properties, they can still wad up and cause a blockage. You’ll still need to watch for symptoms of an adverse reaction. Don’t assume that you’re off the hook!

Other laundry products toxic to dogs

It turns out that dryer sheets have a lot of good company regarding their potential danger to dogs. Laundry products are all risky for dogs, it turns out, including:

  • Detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Stain remover
  • Bleach
  • Washing machine cleaners

All of these are laden with chemicals and products that will cause a lot of harm to your dog if they’re eaten. The safest thing for your dog to eat is dryer lint. This is the most likely to pass through your dog’s system without harm. However, this is not an excuse to deliberately feed or allow your dog to eat dryer lint!

All in all

Complications are very common if a dog eats a dryer sheet. These can include mild irritation to the skin, poisoning from the chemicals, severe dehydration from the sheet’s properties, and a choking hazard or intestinal blockage. These can be fatal if any symptoms are left untreated! Know the symptoms to look for and when to call your vet.

Dog and dryer sheets don’t mix well, and understanding the possible complications and how to avoid them will help keep laundry day as safe as possible for you and your dog.

Know someone concerned about dog safety in the laundry room? Please share this with them to help them know how to protect their furry friend!

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Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.