You’ve just discovered remnants of shredded receipt paper strewn across the floor—the chaotic calling card of your mischievous canine!
Upon further inspection, you find key sections missing.
Your mind races with distressing questions as you try recalling when you last saw that important receipt.
Could your curious dog have actually eaten it?
What if it makes them sick?
By following the guidance in this article, you can take the appropriate actions to ensure your dog’s safety.
I’ll cover what to look for after ingestion, if (and when) to call the vet, and—importantly—how to dog-proof your home to prevent repeat receipt-eating episodes.
Let’s delve in.
Are Receipts Toxic To Dogs?
Ingesting small amounts of receipt paper is unlikely to be toxic for dogs. However, some chemicals used in thermal paper receipts can cause harm if consumed in larger quantities.
Receipt paper often contains bisphenol A (BPA) and phenol, chemicals applied in a coating to allow printing.
Exposure to modest amounts, such as a single receipt, will not typically result in toxicity.
The liver processes and eliminates small doses without issue.
Problems potentially arise if copious pieces of receipt paper are swallowed.
The gastrointestinal system may struggle to properly absorb or expel massive quantities.
Indigestible paper fibers can also obstruct or perforate the intestinal tract when accumulated in large volume.
Possible symptoms of BPA or phenol poisoning include reduced appetite, gastrointestinal upset, neurological issues, and liver or kidney damage.
What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Receipt?
If your dog ate a receipt, remain calm, check for choking, monitor for symptoms like vomiting or discomfort, and consult a veterinarian if concerned or if symptoms persist.
Remain vigilant but rational.
In most cases, some shredded receipt nibbling does no major damage. Monitor closely, but don’t panic.
Your levelheaded response helps ensure the best outcome…
Try To Stay Calm
Finding out your dog has eaten a receipt can be alarming, but try to keep a level head to assess the situation properly.
Succumbing to panic helps no one.
Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind before determining the appropriate response.
Check Your Dogs Mouth
First, gently open your dog’s mouth to inspect for any remnants of the receipt lodged inside.
Use a calm, soothing tone and touch to avoid spooking them.
If you spot bits of paper or detect an immediate choking hazard, carefully attempt removal.
Otherwise, let the mouth be.
Next, scout the surrounding area for shreds or scraps of the wayward receipt.
Were substantial sections consumed or merely torn up?
The amount missing can indicate how much actually went down the hatch versus just being chomped.
Dogs sometimes simply mouth and shred.
Monitor Closely for Symptoms
Continue observing your canine companion closely over the next several hours.
While rare, some mild stomach upset could occur, like vomiting or diarrhea.
Loss of appetite or lethargy also merit attention. Know the usual signs of discomfort or distress for your individual dog.
Encourage Your Dog To Drink Water
Providing fresh, clean drinking water encourages passing of the paper.
Stay hydrated, pup!
Just be wary of overdoing it—too much too fast can also cause issues.
Avoid Inducing Vomiting
Resist the urge to induce vomiting without consulting your vet.
While it may seem like the quickest solution, it can actually do more harm than good if not warranted.
When to Contact A Vet
Look for Signs of Choking or Breathing Issues
If you notice coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing or other signs of obstruction, seek emergency veterinary care right away.
Blocked airways rapidly become life-threatening and require professional assistance.
Watch for Repeated Vomiting or Diarrhea
Recurring instances of vomiting or diarrhea, particularly if severe, could indicate irritation, toxicity or other issues needing diagnosis and treatment.
More than an isolated episode implies an underlying problem.
Note Any Loss of Appetite
An extended lack of appetite for over 24 hours merits a call to the vet, as refusing food hints that something may be wrong.
The vet can check for potential problems requiring intervention.
Observe for Unusual Behavior Changes
Odd behavioral shifts like lethargy, indifference to activity, or unresponsiveness might signal discomfort or distress worth examining promptly.
The vet can determine if these relate to ingesting the receipt.
Look for Visible Signs of Pain
Unexplained vocalizations, obsessive licking or drooling are reasons to seek prompt veterinary guidance.
The vet will check for causes of pain needing treatment.
Watch for Lack of Bowel Movements
No bowel movements for several days could signify a potential intestinal blockage requiring veterinary assessment.
Tests can confirm obstruction, and treatment can resolve it before complications occur.
Check for Any Presence of Blood
The appearance of blood in vomit, urine or stool necessitates rapid veterinary care to identify the source of bleeding and take appropriate action.
Customized diagnosis is required.
Feel for Abdominal Changes
If your dog’s belly seems distended, painful or firm, it might indicate intestinal issues needing urgent vet attention to prevent worsening.
Call if Something Seems “Off”
When uncertain, contact your vet, as they prefer owners exercise caution.
Follow your instincts – if something feels wrong, don’t hesitate to call.
Your vet can guide the wisest course.
Tips to Keep Your Dog From Eating Receipts In The Future
- Use closed bins or drawers to store receipts out of your dog’s reach. Never leave receipts lying around low-lying areas.
- Secure any trash cans containing receipts with lids or locks. Use heavy, sturdy models that your dog cannot knock over.
- Provide plenty of enticing chew toys to satisfy your dog’s natural chewing urge. Rotate new toys frequently to maintain interest.
- Engage your dog’s mind with regular training and puzzle toys to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. A mentally stimulated dog is less likely to eat non-food items.
- Maintain a predictable routine for your dog to minimize anxiety that can lead to undesirable behaviors like chewing receipts. Consistency is calming.
- Ensure your dog gets adequate daily physical activity through walks, play, or engaging exercise. A tired dog is less inclined to chew up receipts.
- Use bitter deterrent sprays designed for dogs on any receipts you must leave out briefly. Many dogs dislike the unpleasant taste.
- Closely supervise your dog until you’re confident they won’t eat random objects like receipts when unwatched. Limit their access if necessary.
- Train your dog to drop or leave items on cue. This can prevent or stop them from swallowing receipts. Reinforce these commands regularly.
- Have your vet rule out any nutritional deficiencies during annual exams that could cause your dog to eat non-food items like paper.
- Advise house guests to keep purses, bags or coats containing receipts safely out of your dog’s reach.
While the thought of your dog swallowing a receipt can be disconcerting, try not to catastrophize.
With vigilance and prompt response, most dogs recover just fine.
Stick to the tips outlined, but avoid panicking.
Focus on sensible prevention moving forward.
With some simple dog-proofing adjustments, you can curb repeat paper feasts.
Remember: make time for regular training and exercise too.
A stimulated dog, both mentally and physically, is less inclined to find mischief.
Should symptoms arise after ingestion, stay alert but rational
Consult your trusted veterinarian for tailored guidance – if and only necessary.
Thankfully, with prompt response, most situations resolve smoothly.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.