Need any more proof dogs are smart? Yes, they figured out muffins are yummy and they’re on the lookout when they get a whiff of the delicious smell coming from the kitchen.
Turn your back for one minute and your otherwise well-behaved companion will steal the goodies. One thing dogs haven’t figured out yet are the wrappers and this causes their owners a lot of worry.
If you’re scared your pet ate a muffin wrapper, don’t rush to the vet yet! It’s a wait-and-see situation and in most cases your dog will pass the wrapper without a problem.
However, you need to watch him closely for the next few days and examine his poop. But you’re used to it by now, aren’t you?
What is the muffin wrapper made of?
The first thing you need to consider is what was the wrapper made of. Now, most people use paper wrappers, but silicone ones are becoming increasingly popular since they’re reusable. Yet other people use aluminum foil to line the muffin tray.
If your dog ate one or several paper wrappers, chances are he’s going to be OK. Little bits of paper can easily pass through a dog’s digestive system. Plain paper is not toxic and it will be partially digested in the stomach.
If your dog ate a silicone wrapper, the big question is whether or not he chewed on it. When a dog chews a silicone wrapper into little pieces, they will transit the GI tract without causing any inconvenience.
Food-grade silicone products are generally chemical-free so they’re not toxic to you or your dog. However, if your dog managed to swallow a silicone wrapper whole this could cause an intestinal blockage, which will require medical attention. (More on this later.)
Aluminum foil wrappers are not toxic either so you shouldn’t be worried about your dog being poisoned, but you should worry about the damage it might do to his digestive system, cutting or grazing the delicate intestine lining.
The acids in your pet’s stomach might be able to digest at least part of the aluminum foil.
What is the size of the dog?
Big or small, dogs will eat any food they can get their paws on. Obviously, smaller dogs are at a greater risk for either choking on an object or developing an intestinal blockage.
A dog’s throat is built to expand so as to swallow large pieces of food, bones (or objects), but a toy dog or a puppy can choke even on items such as muffin wrappers. If your pet seems otherwise fine, except for the guilty look on its face, it’s obvious both muffin and wrapper are in his stomach already, so you can eliminate the risk of choking. Still, to be on the safe side every dog owner should know the basic Heimlich maneuver for dogs.
A large dog will have even less problems swallowing something like a muffin wrapper. The real problem is that a foreign object that is easily swallowed might become lodged in the stomach, unable to fit through the opening that connects it to the small intestine. This can happen to both small or large breeds so you’ll want to keep an eye on your dog no matter his size.
When to be alarmed after your dog has eaten a muffin wrapper
If you’ve just discovered your pet has been eating your muffins complete with the colorful wrappers you should watch out for signs of GI problems.
When a foreign object, like a piece of balled up aluminum foil, is stuck in your dog’s stomach, the first symptom you might notice is vomiting. Your dog will be vomiting or at least trying to several times a day. This can be very dangerous as, besides the object sitting in his stomach, your dog might also become dehydrated.
Aluminum foil can cut and graze the intestine and the most obvious sign will be blood in the dog’s stool. Little traces of blood are not immediately dangerous, as small cuts can repair themselves. However, if there’s a lot of blood in the stool, that is a cause for alarm.
When a wrapper or pieces of it become lodged in the intestines this will result in a blockage. If the intestine is not totally blocked, some food could still pass and your dog might still poop so you won’t even know he has a problem.
Intestinal blockage can cause various symptoms, such as:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Low or no appetite
- Tenderness anywhere in the abdominal area
- Straining to poop
- Whining in pain
If your dog exhibits any of these signs and you were not able to find the wrapper in his stool, you should take him to the vet pronto.
How can you help a dog who has eaten a muffin wrapper?
When your dog eats some muffins with wrappers too you should feed him a slice of bread, preferably whole grain, to help cushion the rough edges, especially if it was an aluminum one. With any luck, the pieces of foil or silicone will make it safely to the other end in 6 to 8 hours.
If nothing happens on the other end, it might be an intestinal blockage in which case you could use a mild laxative to help the dog poop and hopefully pass the wrapper pieces. The best remedy for constipation in dogs is psyllium, also sold under the name Metamucil, using the directions on the box.
You can also try adding a tablespoon of plain canned pumpkinto your pet’s regular food. Dogs seem to like pumpkin, although not as much as muffins. Make sure your dog drinks plenty of water to get things moving.
Unfortunately, such remedies might take a day or two to work and they might not be of much help if the dog has an intestinal blockage. If your dog’s condition seems to deteriorate do not wait to see the effects of the laxative and head straight to the vet.
How will a vet help a dog with an intestinal blockage
Your vet will probably do some X-rays to locate the obstruction and decide if there’s still a chance the dog might pass the foreign object. In many cases, the vet will also prescribe laxatives and wait for nature to take its course, rather than recommend surgery right away.
If the wrapper is lodged in the stomach and it is not very big, the doctor might try to remove it using nonsurgical endoscopy, that is by inserting a scope though the dog’s throat down to the stomach.
When the obstruction seems too large, the vet will have to perform surgery, opening the dog’s stomach or intestines to manually remove the obstruction. In case of intestinal blockage, the obstructing body might cut off blood supply to the area, so that part of the intestine will basically die. During the surgery, the vet will have to remove the wrapper as well as the necrotic part of the intestine.
The good news is that most dogs recover quickly after this type of surgery. Your pet will be his old self again, although nausea and lack of appetite might persist for a few more days.
How to stop your dog eating a muffin wrapper
All dogs are interested in food, but some more than others, especially pups who’d chew on anything that looks even remotely edible, or even some that don’t. To keep your dog from eating muffin wrappers, next time you bake some make sure not to leave them anywhere your dog might reach. This includes tables or countertops that might appear high enough. Dogs can get very creative when they really want a treat. Best close the doors and put some distance between your pet and those tasty muffins.
This applies to any sort of food actually. Don’t leave anything wrapped in aluminum foil within nose range. A muffin wrapper is thankfully small, but leftover roast might need a lot more foil to cover it and that could really be dangerous to your dog.
You also need to consider the food you leave unattended might be more dangerous than the wrapping. Chocolate for instance is dangerous for dogs but since he’s learned that things wrapped in foil are good he might want to try that.
When you dispose of muffin or candy wrappers, or the foil you used to cover the leftover Thanksgiving turkey make sure to throw them in a trash can with a secure lid.
Your dog eating a muffin wrapper is not an immediate cause for alarm. In most cases, wrappers will pass through the dog’s digestive system without causing any problems.
Paper wrappers are the least dangerous, as they will be mostly dissolved by your dog’s stomach acids. Neither silicone, nor aluminum foil are toxic so you don’t have to worry about that.
Silicone or foil wrappers swallowed whole can, in some cases, cause an intestinal blockage. Watch your pet for a couple of days and if you notice any symptoms of GI issues, see a vet as soon as possible.