Help! My Dog Ate Wax Paper

Photo by Neil Conway on Flickr

Did your “nearest and dearest” buy you a home security camera for Christmas?

He bought it for your peace of mind.

It is not the spate of petty thefts in your neighbourhood that you are worried about.

You use your camera to remotely monitor your family dog, who turns into an opportunist thief as soon as your back is turned.

And then you catch him, swiping a block of cheese that was left on the kitchen counter.

You’re not really worried about the cheese- after all there wasn’t much left.

But the cheese was wrapped in wax paper and Fido has eaten that as well. 

So, how worried should you be if your dog eats some wax paper?

What is wax paper?

Wax paper is paper that is coated with a wax.

Yes, you never would have guessed that, would you?

Treated this way, the paper becomes waterproof but breathable which makes it ideal to be used in a variety of ways with food in the kitchen.  

Best used on counter tops when there are pie crusts to be rolled or bread to be kneaded.

It is also great for lining a tray which you will then make fudge in or to wrap food in and keep it fresh whilst you store it.

It has a wide range of uses but one thing that you should never use it for is for cooking or baking.

For that you need parchment paper. 

And what is the difference? 

Wax paper is covered in wax, whereas parchment paper is covered by silicone, which is heat resistant. 

But here’s the thing. You can’t use wax paper in your oven but you can use it in a microwave. 

Because the wax isn’t affected by the heat produced by microwaves.. 

What common household products are made out of wax paper? 

Other common uses for wax paper around the kitchen include wrapping cheese in it, placing it on top of ice cream in its container or using it to line our fridges. 

But let’s get our focus back on our dogs. What should we do if our dog eats some? 

Can my dog digest wax paper? 

Traditionally wax paper was created by coating paper with a wax derived from paraffin. 

Nowadays, there are more wholesome alternatives including paper that is coated with a wax derived from a soybean.  

A dog’s stomach, although it is capable of producing an acid which is as strong as “battery acid”, won’t be able to digest either type of wax paper. 

Soybean wax is made from soybeans which a dog would ordinarily be able to digest.

But the process of making soybean wax involves heating soybean oil at a very high temperature and mixing it with nickel

And it is the addition of nickel which would make it impossible for a dog’s stomach to digest. 

Although it is fairly obvious that if you use wax paper using soy bean wax, it will be “gentler” on your dog’s body than paraffin wax.

I mean, paraffin wax paper must have all kinds of toxins in it which might be released into your dog’s body as it travels through the digestive system. 

So if the likelihood of it being digested is small, then your next best hope is that your dog has ripped it into small enough shreds to make its passage as easy as possible.

Because it won’t be digested, if it is too large, there is a possibility that it might get stuck somewhere.

One of the first places that this might happen is the back of the throat and so your dog might cough or gag enough to bring it back up.

Pros and cons of wax paper

This might seem like a strange section to include in this article.

What are the possible advantages of my dog eating some wax paper, for crying out loud?

Well, if your dog has eaten a sheet of wax paper, it is slightly more palatable than the forty odd socks that this Great Dane ate.

It is paper and so it is very thin and soft and the wax will make it slippery, easing its journey through your dog’s body. 

Possible disadvantages of wax paper are the chemicals that are contained in the wax. 

I don’t think that the amount of chemicals will be enough to poison your dog- they just make the paper almost impossible to digest. 

Is the size of the dog important? 

The size of the dog is a very important factor in this situation.

Smaller dogs have smaller organs and “pipes” for the wax paper to pass through. 

Although the amount of wax paper that was eaten is important, I think what is as important or more so, is the size of the “shreds” of paper that your dog ate.

Bigger chunks of wax paper are at greater risk of getting stuck or will take longer to pass through your dog’s digestive system than smaller pieces of wax paper.

So the elephant in the room so to speak is how quickly or aggressively does your dog chew objects.

Will he sit with a piece of wax paper (that reeks of the stilton cheese that it once covered) and rip it to shreds before gobbling it up.

Or will he get too excited and try to consume the sheet of wax paper in one piece? 

In the same manner that Wolf ate The Little Pigs?!

What are the alternatives to using wax paper?

I have racked my brain, trying to come up with some more dog friendly alternatives.

And the alternatives that I come up with seem worse.

For instance, if you are using wax paper to wrap up cheese or perhaps a sandwich or two, realistically other products that you can use are with saran wrap [link]  or aluminum foil.

Would you want your dog to eat wax paper, saran wrap or aluminum foil. 

Now…let me think!

You might consider using parchment paper but because this is the most popular paper used in baking, it is covered with a silicone compound to make it heat resistant. 

And so that rules parchment paper out.

Perhaps you could use plastic or Tupperware containers instead but shredded plastic is far more dangerous than wax paper. 

How to stop your dog from eating wax paper?

Use wax paper coated with soybean wax.

Use a safer alternative

My dog ate wax paper. What should I do?

Like most things from that list of “things that your dog has eaten but shouldn’t have”, the thing to do with wax paper is to watch and wait.

And I think that there could be at least four possible outcomes, which I describe here starting with the least serious. 

[1] Scot free

The most likely result will be that your dog suffers no ill effects. 

He gets away with it. A close shave. 

In this sense, you might say that they have used up one of their cat’s lives!

[2] A quick vomit

The next best result is that your dog scoffs a bit of wax paper and it gets stuck in the back of their throat.

After a few seconds of retching, hey presto, the shreds of wax paper reappear with lots of saliva.

Your dog skips off, lesson learned. Although I suspect not!

[3] Pooping wax paper

I think the next best result is when the wax paper has clearly been eaten by your dog, but apart from a slightly guilty look on their face as you approach the working top from which it was snatched, there are no ill effects.

Your dog seems 100% until a few days later bits of wax paper slide out as he poops!

[4] Blocked intestine

The possible outcome is the most serious and it will involve a visit to see your vet. 

And this is when by eating wax paper, your dog has ended up with a blocked intestine. 

If my humour seems to have disappeared, it is because of the severity of the situation. 

This could be because a large piece of wax paper has got stuck or a collection of smaller shreds of wax paper have “balled together” and caused an obstruction.

No matter how it happens, there are no home remedies to cure this.

It needs to be left to the professionals and it is time to suck up the expense because it will be expensive, unfortunately.