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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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Our boykin spaniel ate about eight cotton, three were thrown

Customer Question

Our boykin spaniel ate about eight cotton balls, three were thrown up in this morning's vomit and sheis lethargic 2 year old help this chocolate brown jug of joy
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Good evening - I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I want to let you know that I'm locked on to your question and working on a response. There will be a delay of 5-15 minutes while I type. Thanks for your patience :)

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there :) It sure sounds like you might have a trouble maker on your hands!!

While cotton balls aren't particularly exciting on the grand scheme of foreign body ingestions, we sometimes can have concern for what else may have been ingested at the same time or what the cotton balls may have contained (like nail polish remover, makeup remover, etc.) It'd be very unlikely for a handful of cotton balls to cause a GI obstruction, but not impossible. Often times if I have to do surgery on a dog with a history like that who is now obstructed, I usually find that the dog ALSO ate something else that was contributing to the obstruction. So by themselves, cotton balls aren't all that likely to cause a major issue.

With dogs who are vomiting, I generally begin with the same guidelines:

As long as their breathing is not labored, there is no abdominal distention, and their gums are pink and moist, I usually recommend holding off on giving any food or water for at least 6-8 hours. If they are continuing to vomit though this time, it's time to see the vet. If they stop vomiting, then I start by offering a small portion of water. If they keep that down for more than 2 hours, I offer another small amount of water and a small taste of food (1-2tsp). As long as they continue to tolerate small meals, you can gradually increase the amount of food at each sitting and increase the time in between meals. If they aren't eating at all for >24 hours, this also merits a trip to the vet.

Foreign body obstructions typically cause intractable vomiting - they are absolutely unable to keep anything down or they refuse to eat anything at all. I suspect that your pup will likely recover if the cotton balls were the only thing she ate that she wasn't supposed to eat ;) Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you :)

~Dr. Sara


My goal is to provide you with the most complete and accurate answer. If my answer isn’t what you were expecting, it’s incomplete, or you have more questions PLEASE REPLY to let me know what information you are looking for BEFORE giving me a negative rating! Thank you so much :)