Most dogs find things to chew on, but some things, like baby wipes, should be kept away from their mouths. Baby wipes have tons of uses around the house, so it is not uncommon for people to have them – even if they don’t have a baby. Some use baby wipes to clean their dog after bringing it inside, but sometimes a dog may grab the wipe before you can correct them. Given all the chemicals used to make wipes, it’s important to know what precautions to take if your dog eats a baby wipe.
If your dog eats a baby wipe, it is crucial to monitor your dog. Ingesting a baby wipe can cause gastrointestinal issues in smaller dogs and dogs with pre-existing stomach issues. In many cases, your dog will be okay, but you should always be cautious.
There are many factors that play into what actions should be taken following your dog eating a baby wipe. Though your dog could pass it just fine, that is never a guarantee, so it’s better to be vigilant and not count on that.
Steps to Take If Your Dog Eats a Baby Wipe
The severity of this situation varies with each dog. In one scenario, the dog could pass the wipe the next day, and that is the last of the baby wipe debacle. With another dog, the toxins could cause the dog’s stomach issues to flare up. In cases like that, the dog needs to get immediate medical attention.
In all cases where your dog swallows a baby wipe, calling your vet is definitely a viable option. They can ask you questions like “Are the baby wipes fragrance-free?” or “How big is your dog?” which could help them determine what is best for you to do.
They may tell you based on the information you’ve given that you should keep an eye on your dog even though it will most likely be okay. If the information you provided them alarms them, they will tell you to bring it to see them.
Two factors that can tell the vet that the dog should be seen is if it is a small dog and/or it has pre-existing stomach issues. There are also a few things that you could do without bringing your dog to see the vet. Those things include:
- Check for any signs of choking.
- Try removing the wipe from the back of the dog’s throat if possible.
- The previous link for the Heimlich Maneuver will also tell you how to remove the wipe from the back of the dog’s throat.
- Check the ingredients of the baby wipe for any harmful ingredients.
As a pet owner, you are obviously going to want to do the best thing for your dog in situations like this. It is important not to panic so you can be in the right mind while dealing with the situation. Just make sure you are informed on what to do so you can concentrate on making sure your dog is safe.
Are Baby Wipes Toxic to Dogs?
Many people might think baby wipes are not toxic to dogs since babies tend to chew on them. It is actually much more complicated than that though. The pH level in baby wipes is made for the pH of humans. That isn’t the case with dogs.
Since dogs are different from humans, they can be sensitive to some things that don’t bother humans. While the fragrance in baby wipes doesn’t bother a baby when it chews in the baby wipe, it can upset a dog’s stomach.
There isn’t a simple yes or no answer to this question. Still, a helpful explanation can further help you determine your situation. First, you need to check the ingredients of the baby wipes and see if you can spot anything mentioned below:
Let’s start with what most companies do not want you to know about fragrances. Most fragrances or perfumes are made from petrochemicals that come from petroleum and natural gas byproducts.
Certain fragrances have always been irritating to some people, which is why many people prefer no fragrance in anything like makeup, skincare, body wash, etc. The same goes for your furry friends. No one wants to expose their animals to toxic chemicals, which are commonly used to make fragrances.
You may wonder what is actually in the baby wipes when “fragrance” is listed in the ingredient list. The truth is you may not want to know what that might mean for the baby wipe you are using on your dog. Since they are not made for consumption, no company is obligated to tell customers what is in their product when there is “fragrance” listed as an ingredient on their packaging.
Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit organization made to help and protect consumers, released an article in 2010 stating that 3,613 ingredients hide behind the word fragrance. A lot of those ingredients had a “high hazard” score when their toxicity was rated.
That means anything with “fragrance” could potentially be toxic. While not all of them are going to be harmful, it’s better to not take that chance with your dog. Imagine all of the toxic chemicals your dog could be ingesting. It is important to stay aware because you never know what could be hiding behind that word.
Below are a few ingredients that could be hiding in baby wipes:
- Benzyl Alcohol
Propylene Glycol (PG) is technically safe for pets, as the FDA recognizes it as a “GRAS” – generally recognized as safe. Many things labeled as safe by the FDA are safe in the typically small amounts that you would get them. You should always be mindful and keep an eye on anything that you are unsure of, especially if consumed in large quantities.
It is generally seen as safe compared to a more toxic yet similarly sounding, ethylene glycol (EG). This is used mainly for things like anti-freeze products and in the manufacturing of polyester fibers. While EG is considered toxic, PG is frequently used in medicines, cosmetics, dog food, and human food to help maintain moisture.
Recently propylene glycol has been taken out of many cat foods as they are finding cats are more sensitive to it. Both cats and dogs can be poisoned if they consume excessive amounts of PG. Therefore, you must be careful if your dog ingests a baby wipe with propylene glycol listed as an ingredient. You won’t be sure if it put enough in their system to be toxic to them or not.
Moisturizing ingredients used for humans are often toxic to your pet. For example, your lotion sitting on your nightstand may not be safe to use on your dog. You should use a lotion meant to moisturize pets. Dogs could lick their body and ingest some of that lotion left, causing them to have an upset stomach.
Baby wipes sometimes include the same moisturizing ingredients because they typically aren’t made with your furry friend in mind. They generally include common moisturizing ingredients used for human skin.
Are Baby Wipes Safe for Exterior Use of Your Dog?
While some baby wipes are safe for your dog’s skin, there are still some things to consider. Besides the chemicals previously listed, there are still other ingredients not safe for ingestion by dogs. Even if you are only using the baby wipe to clean your dog’s coat or skin, there is still some risk.
As with the lotion mentioned above, your dog could lick the toxic ingredients off of their body before it dries. Though it is most likely a minuscule amount compared to what they would get if the dog swallowed the wipe, it would be well worth your time making sure your pup is unable to lick themselves until the moisture from the baby wipe dries completely. It shouldn’t take long, depending on the temperature and humidity where you reside.
Lucky for you, there are multiple alternatives to the ordinary baby wipe brands. Some manufacturers make baby wipes with no fragrance or other harmful ingredients. While these are typically seen as safer for humans or people with reactions to certain fragrances, they are still not made for use on dogs in mind.
There are a few manufacturers, however, that make wipes specifically meant for dogs. Meaning you won’t find any of the harmful ingredients that you may find in everyday baby wipes. While fragrance-free wipes are a better choice than regular ones, here are some listed below that are made with your furry little friend in mind!
Dogs are a part of the family, and no one would want their dog to swallow the number of toxins that could be hiding in a single baby wipe. However, it is vital to take appropriate steps to keep your dog safe if that does happen. Your dog is at a higher risk of this being a major issue if it is a smaller breed or has pre-existing stomach issues. You should still be cautious regardless and look into buying pet wipes with no fragrance.