Dogs have been man’s best friend since antiquity. As pets, these lovely animals cannot take care of themselves the way they ought to.
This means that they can eat just about anything that smells nice, and this can cause serious health problems.
As a dog owner, you have to take good care of your pet by paying close attention to his/her behavior since your dog can easily ingest something toxic when you are not around.
For dogs, danger is always lurking because our homes are filled with items that can potentially poison our pets.
Dryer sheets, in particular, have given many pet parents a cause for concern because some are not sure whether these accessories are toxic for their dogs or not.
To worsen the situation, many people, especially those who own pets use dryer sheets for several reasons.
Dryer sheets are known to prevent static build-up, so most people use them on their sofas and other fixtures to help prevent pet hairs from sticking to the fabric, while others use them when depositing scents to their laundry.
With that said, there is a high probability that every home with pets has a few dryer sheets lying around on the floor, laundry basket, trash can, etc.
So, can dryer sheets poison your dogs? First, let’s answer the question that will form the basis for our discussion.
Are Dryer Sheets Toxic for Dogs?
Dryer sheets contain cationic detergents and other chemicals that can be toxic for dogs when ingested or chewed. Compounds such as cetrimonium bromide, benzyl acetate, chloroform, benzalkonium chloride, camphor just to mention but a few can damage the stomach lining and may also cause severe irritation.
Aside from the chemicals, dryer sheets can block the digestive tract, hence causing gastrointestinal discomfort to your pet.
Besides, the materials from which dryer sheets are made cannot be processed by the stomach, so the entire GI system will be under pressure, thereby preventing food from passing.
The bad thing with such complications is that they have to be dealt with surgically, but the only problem is that most dogs don’t do very well after surgery because they tend to lick their wounds, thus slowing down the healing process.
Some of the chemicals have acidic properties, meaning that they can cause sores on the walls of the stomach and the intestines.
This will, in turn, cause internal bleeding and bacterial infection in the gut, thus resulting in general weakness and loss of motility
In worst-case scenarios, these chemicals can cause kidney failure and may also interfere with the normal functions of major organs in the body.
Dogs that are poisoned by these chemicals are also at a higher risk of getting diseases like systemic edema, a condition, which occurs when blood vessels leak fluid to the adjacent tissues.
How will I know if my dog has ingested toxic substances such as dryer sheets?
If you suspect that your dog has ingested a dryer sheet, there are common symptoms that you should look out for.
However, the symptoms may vary from one animal to another. In addition to this, the type of toxin consumed will also determine how the dog will be affected.
Most dogs tend to lose their appetite, especially if the toxin in question has a direct effect on the digestive system. Additionally, some pets may vomit, drool excessively, experience seizures, etc.
If you see any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to the nearest veterinarian before the toxins cause further damage to the dog’s body.
You should not in any way induce vomiting because the toxins may affect the esophagus, mouth, or nose.
Can my dog get poisoned from sniffing dryer sheets?
The chemicals in dryer sheets can only be activated when they are exposed to heat, so they may not be as harmful to your pet when sniffed.
Still, try as much as you can to keep your dog and other pets away from dryer sheets since this will reduce the chances of them ingesting the toxins.
As such, ensure that the dryer sheets are stored properly for the safety of your dogs. This applies to both used and new dryer sheets because the used pieces still contain trace amounts of toxins that can harm your dog.
Plus, you should keep count of the dryer sheets, so that you can easily know when a piece is missing from the stack. Alternatively, you can consider locking all the dryer sheets in a drawer or cabinet.
The same should be done when storing fabric softeners because they contain some of the chemicals that are in dryer sheets.
Is good to use dryer sheets on dogs?
When the air temperature drops and the humidity is low, the hair on your dog may become static, and since dryer sheets can mitigate this effect, some pet parents rub them on their dog’s fur to prevent the hair from clinging onto clothes and furniture.
In as much as this may help in removing the loose hairs, it can expose your dog to some of the chemicals that we listed above.
This can occur if the toxins come into direct contact with the skin or if the dog licks his/her fur.
To keep your dog safe, you can consider using a soft brush when cleaning the loose hairs from the pet. You can do the same when cleaning your sofa or any other item that may have pet hair.
Our goal is not to discourage you from using dryer sheets, but to inform you that they can harm your dogs if they are not used or stored correctly.
As such, you should ensure that all the dryer sheets in your house are kept under lock and key at all times.
The used pieces should also be disposed of properly so that pets such as dogs cannot gain access to them.
If you do everything correctly, you won’t have to worry about anything when using dryer sheets even when pets are around.