My Dog Ate Part of a Towel! [From Startle to Survival]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

I have a small dog and she’s really sweet, but she used to have this nasty habit of eating everything. A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to do some cleaning when I saw her finish swallowing what looked like part of a towel.

Indeed, it had torn one of our terry cloth towels apart and ingested a part of it. Panic starts to eat and all the doomsday scenario starts forming in my mind.

However, this is not the time to panic. Rather, you should assess what happened in order to make the right decision on what to do next.

Find out more about how you can handle this situation if it happened to you.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

What should you do if your dog eats a towel?

What should you do if your dog eats a towel?

While our immediate response is usually one of shock, we need to get over it right away and assess the actual damage done.

Figuring out the size of the towel that was swallowed should be the first thing you do.

In many cases, a small piece of towel is pretty harmless and will be passed out by your dog in a couple of days.

It might even vomit the offending object out right away.

The real problem is if the cloth swallowed is big in size. I mean, there is no universally accepted dimension for “big”, so you need to judge it yourself.

Think about the size of the cloth versus the size of your dog, and what would happen if you were the one who swallowed something like that.

Would it cause you any trouble or damage?

What should you do if your dog eats a towel?

Observe how your dog behaves in the next few hours to the next two days (if you are waiting).

Is it eating normally? Is it pooping normally?

Keep an eye on when it passes motion and see if the cloth comes out along with its poop.

If you notice your dog behaving abnormally, such as choking, vomiting, diarrhea, or it stopped eating, it may need to be evaluated by a veterinarian right away.

Your vet will assess your dog’s condition and determine whether they need to be hospitalized, and will likely want to perform some tests on your pet, including a blood test and possibly an X-ray or ultrasound scan, depending on what symptoms present themselves.

If the object consumed was poisonous (or if it appears to be), then your veterinarian may also need to administer an antidote or perform emergency surgery on your pet.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

Doggy says, read this next: Dog Ate Bologna Casing or String? [What To Do]

What problems can happen if your dog ate a piece of towel?

If your dog eats a piece of cloth, it can potentially cause blockage in its intestinal tract.

A blockage is when the intestines get clogged by something that shouldn’t be there. This causes problems like:

  • obstruction (which means some part of your dog’s intestines are blocked)
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea (which happens when food passes through the intestines too quickly and causes irritation)
  • constipation (when food moves too slowly through the intestines)
  • dehydration (when your dog doesn’t drink enough fluids)
  • bloating/gas symptoms(when gas builds up in his stomach)

Doggy says, you might like this too: Dog Can’t Open Eyes After Grooming [What To Do Now?]

How long does it take for a dog to pass fabric?

It’s hard to predict how long it will take for your dog to pass the fabric in its system because each case is different, but we do have some general guidelines.

In most cases, if the object being digested by your pet is less than 2 inches wide, it should pass through their system within 48 hours. If the object is larger than 2 inches wide or longer than 10 inches, it may take up to two days for them to digest completely.

During this time, you need to pay attention to its poop for signs of the cloth being passed out.

If there is still nothing after 2 days, I highly recommend that you bring your dog to the vet for a check.

Nothing says trouble like a dog holding its pee and poop for a long time.

Can a dog still poop with a blockage?

Can a dog still poop with a blockage?

While your dog doesn’t need to poop, the act of eating a towel can still cause blockages.

When your dog swallows a piece of fabric, it gets stuck in its digestive tract and forms a “plug.”

This plug can cause pain, vomiting, bloating, and constipation.

If left untreated for too long—or if your dog eats other cellophane-wrapped items like toilet paper or plastic wrap—your pup could even die from the blockage (which is why you should never leave any kind of trash within their reach).

Dogs aren’t always able to pass these plugs naturally on their own. If you suspect that your furry friend has consumed some foreign material like towels or carpets (they’re big fans of chewing them up), bring him over to the vet right away so he can get checked out.

A vet will be able to remove the offending item with surgery or endoscopy—a procedure where they insert small cameras into his throat so they can see what’s going on inside him!

Doggy says, consider reading this too: What if My Dog Ate A Toilet Paper Roll?

What to give a dog to help them pass an object?

If your dog ate a piece of towel and you want to help it pass the item out, you might want to try these methods:

  • Give them a liquid laxative or stool softener. A liquid laxative can be found at any pet store and is easy to administer. A stool softener is a type of laxative called an emollient laxative. Whichever one you choose to use, you will need to consult a vet first
  • Feed them something high in fiber. Make sure your pup gets enough fiber in his diet (fiber helps keep things moving through the digestive tract). Try adding pumpkin puree into his food; this will provide lots of fiber and moisture that will help it in passing motion
  • Consider massaging your dog’s stomach. In some cases, it can be very helpful to move the bowels, but be sure to do it very gently and not cause any distress

What about if your dog ate makeup wipes?

How much does it cost to remove an object from a dog’s stomach?

The cost of removing an object from your dog’s stomach depends on a few factors: the type of object, the size of the object, and any associated symptoms.

On average, you can expect to pay at least $300 for a non-surgery option to over $5000 for more complicated procedures. The good news is that most pet insurance covers this cost.

If your pet is suffering from vomiting or diarrhea because he ate a sock or piece of fabric (like a towel), there might not be any need for surgery at all.

Your vet may give him some medication to stop symptoms temporarily and encourage him to pass it naturally.

If this doesn’t work within 24 hours, however, they may recommend surgery so that they can remove the foreign body themselves rather than waiting for nature to take its course—which could take weeks or even months!

And remember—the earlier you seek treatment after ingestion occurs (whether by accident or on purpose), the better off everyone will be overall.

Can dogs poop out paper towels?

While it is not common for dogs to eat paper towels, it is possible. Dogs can poop out bits of paper towels if they swallow some.

It’s important to keep your dog’s environment clean and free from dangerous items like soiled paper towels because they can cause injury or death if your dog ingests them.

If your dog eats something hazardous, he could get sick and die.

Does paper dissolve in a dog’s stomach?

The answer is yes, but it depends on the type of paper.

Some types of paper are more digestible than others.

Generally, if the paper contains dye, it won’t be easily digested by your pet.

Some types of ink also contain metals and other substances that can be toxic to dogs.

Most of the time, paper will pass through your dog’s system without fuss, but that doesn’t mean it is ok.

A few things can help prevent your dog from eating paper:

Block access to the garbage. Keep trash bins well out of reach of dogs and other pets in the house.

Make sure there are no used tissues lying around where pets might chew them up or eat them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What will happen if my dog ate paper towel with bacon grease?

If your dog ate a paper towel with bacon grease, monitor them closely for signs of digestive upset or blockage. Grease can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or pancreatitis, while paper may cause obstruction. Consult a veterinarian if you notice distress, lethargy, or persistent symptoms.

In conclusion: My Dog Ate Part of a Towel!

If you want to avoid dealing with this situation in the future, it is best to make sure not to leave them lying around where your dog can get them easily.

If he does ingest any part of a towel, keep an eye on him for any signs that may indicate trouble passing through its digestive system.

Positive reinforcement training can be a very effective way to teach it not to eat or chew objects it is not supposed to.

You should consider implementing such training for your dog to live a meaningful and fun-filled life.

Browse around for more dog care tips such as what to do if your dog ate a metal zipper, how to stop Doberman dandruff, what to do if your dog’s stitches are not dissolving, and many more.

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

no more bad dog breaths banner