With Covid19 ravaging every global corner, it is no wonder face masks are also a common sight. They could be just about everywhere in your home or office and highly accessible to your canine to chew. It is not unusual as dogs have a funny but dangerous habit of gobbling up anything they see. Although most times they would remain okay with no complications after ingesting a foreign object, a clothing face mask could be an exception, especially in smaller breeds. Experts say the tinier your dog breed, the likelihood of them having intestinal blockage caused by the face mask ingestion.
Why Would Your Dog Eat a Face Mask in the First Place?
Several explanations can unearth the real motivation behind the behavior. For example, a face mask is a new phenomenon, not just for you but also for your pup. Their curiosity could be beyond anything imaginable, and it is the reason they would sniff, play with it, and even try to chew. They could then accidentally ingest it. Then, if you are using a disposable paper mask, they mostly smell like food, and your dog would want to gobble it up.
Another reason could be the usual behavioral issues that some dog breeds develop over time. Say your dog is usually locked up most of the time. They feel lonely and want to release all pent-up energy. A new thing, light and colorful enough, would draw their attention, and they would go full throttle into chewing it. Finally, a medical disorder often referred to as pica could push your dog to eat any nonfood items they come across.
How Intestinal Blockage Can Occur Due to Face Mask Ingestion
Most of the time, intestinal blockage can affect your smaller type of dog than it would a larger one. Once the face mask finds its way into the intestinal tract, the expectation is that it will smoothly pass via the stool. But sometimes, it may not happen, and the fabric remains within your pup’s stomach, causing a blockage. The implications are that all food and water are unable to enter your pup’s stomach. The same food cannot also reach the intestinal tract. Since the material is not moving, your dog can begin to have sepsis, which is life-threatening. It is an emergency that only a vet can handle. It is usually the reason to call your vet urgently once you suspect your dog has eaten a face mask.
Some of the Key Signs of Intestinal Blockage
These signs are prevalent in most of the nonfood ingestion by dogs. For example, the dog may begin to vomit, diarrhea, lose appetite, and have lethargy. They can experience pain and general distress. Once you see these symptoms, you should not take chances. Instead, contact your vet immediately. Mostly the prognosis is almost good once you rush your dog for diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes your dog may require life saving surgery if the face mask has been in there for days.
Preventive Measures Are Key to Curbing Face Mask Ingestion
Face masks are now everywhere, meaning that your dog can easily pick. But now, most animal rescue organizations are urging people to take necessary precautions in handling them around pets. The first is to discard them after each use properly. They also advise you to dispose of them in a well-sealed trash can, ensuring that your dog never comes into contact with them. Then you can avoid the disposable paper masks and only go for reusable ones. It means you can only own a few, and be careful to keep them out of reach of your dog every time you are home.
Frankly, face masks should be off-limits to your dog. Although it may poop it out after ingestion, you can never tell when things go wrong. Again, with the food smell that some face masks produce, you may not dash in time to prevent your pup from eating it. But the consequences can leave you reeling. Besides the usual stomach upset, your dog could suffer from an intestinal blockage. The typical face mask also has a metal nose wire. Upon swallowing it, it could cause additional health issues such as an esophageal tear.