Can Dogs Eat Leather?
Your dog may like to pass the time by chewing on leather or rawhide toys and may ingest some of these toys by mistake. Or maybe you are reading this article because your dog has eaten pieces of your leather accessories, like shoes or a belt. If your dog is eating something inedible like leather, it can certainly be a cause for concern.
So, can dogs eat leather?
Dogs should not eat leather, as it can cause many issues in the body.
Even if your dog has eaten a bit of leather by mistake, this could be potentially dangerous– you should always monitor your dog afterwards and also contact your vet. More details on why this is a concern are below.
What Is Leather?
For those who do not know, leather is a material that can be used for a wide variety of applications, from accessories to clothing to furniture. It is a durable and flexible material that is made from animal skins. During the process of turning the skins into leather, chemicals and dyes are often used to change the colors of the hides for more variety, as well as to treat the skins and prevent any sort of decay or deterioration. This process is called tanning.
Can Dogs Eat Leather?
Dogs should not be eating leather, whether this is leather that was used for a pair of shoes or the leather that makes up a rawhide bone toy. Even if it is marketed to dogs, it does not necessarily mean that it is edible! There are many things that can happen if your dog does eat leather, from reactions like vomiting to blockages in the gastrointestinal tract. These kinds of blockages may even prove to be fatal if not treated properly and could require surgery if your dog is unable to pass the leather successfully.
Risks of Your Dog Eating Leather
One of the big risks of your dog eating leather is that it could create a blockage in your dog’s system. This could either end up being a partial blockage, where some liquid and foods can pass, in small amounts or a complete blockage. With a complete blockage, no food or drink is able to pass by at all. This blockage is usually caused because leather is not something that your dog’s body is able to digest and therefore get rid of.
Leather is not necessarily toxic to your dog, like some other things can be, but it can still induce vomiting if your dog consumes it. This is partially due to the body trying to expel the foreign object, but can also be attributed to the chemicals that leather is treated with. They may induce a reaction in your dog.
What to Do If My Dog Eats Leather
What should be done if your dog does eat leather? First, as with any potential medical emergency, you should contact your vet to let them know what has happened. They may want you to bring your dog in for an X-ray or an examination. Even if they do not, they will be able to advise you on what to do and how to move forward.
Depending on how much leather was consumed, there are some different ways that you can deal with the issue. If your dog only ate a very small piece of leather, it will likely be able to pass it on its own. You should still monitor your dog and make sure that it is still able to drink, eat, and go to the bathroom normally. Any changes in this should be relayed to your vet. If your dog has eaten a larger piece of leather, you may need to have your vet perform surgery, as your dog may not be able to pass this on its own.
You can also try to induce vomiting to see if your dog will expunge the piece of leather on its own. Alternatively, you could try to help your pet along by feeding it spongy foods that may help it pass the leather instead. Some recommended foods would be mashed potatoes or cottage cheese, for instance. However, you should not simply take this upon yourself, because it may end up doing more harm than good. Your first course of action should always be to call your vet, and they can give you instructions on how to help your pet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs chew on leather toys?
Leather toys are also often referred to as rawhide toys. Yes, your dog can chew on these, and it is believed that these sorts of toys are good for your dog’s teeth– they will make them stronger and healthier.
Is leather safe for dogs to chew on?
Leather, and leather toys, are unique because they are much tougher than lots of toy options. They are able to stand up to the chewing of most breeds of dogs, and the animal texture of leather also creates a sensation on your dog’s teeth and gums that appeals to their hunter’s instinct.
Why do dogs like to chew leather?
Leather is something that appeals to the instincts of your dog, as it is essentially an animal skin– or at least a replica of it, if it is not authentic leather. If you are dealing with a puppy that is chewing on leather, your pet is likely teething, and this helps it to relieve the discomfort that comes along with teething.
How can I help my dog pass leather?
While your dog can chew leather, it is not supposed to eat it! This can cause a blockage in the gastrointestinal tract, which can be very dangerous. You can either try to get your dog to throw it back up, or you can give your pet spongy food– like cottage cheese, pasta, or mashed potatoes– to help him pass it through. The best course of action and your first step should be to contact your vet, though, and explain what has happened. They will have a plan for how best to go forward after the leather has been ingested.