Close-up photo of a mischievous dog's guilty face, toy stuffing scattered around, capturing the moment of curiosity turned destruction, reminding us to dog-proof our homes.

Seeing stuffing and fabric pieces from a beloved stuffed animal in your dog’s mouth can be alarming. You may worry about intestinal blockages, toxicity from stuffing ingredients, or other health issues.

The good news is that small ingestions of stuffed animal parts are often harmless, though larger pieces can potentially cause problems.

If your dog ate only a little bit of fabric or stuffing, watch for signs of trouble like vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain over the next day. Usually these minor ingestions pass through fine. But for larger ingestions, or if you notice concerning symptoms, call your vet right away.

Determine How Much Was Eaten

Look Around For Missing Parts

If you notice stuffing or pieces of fabric on the floor, check if they match the stuffed animal in question. Collect all the pieces you can find and try to reconstruct the shape to get an idea of what and how much is missing. You’ll want to act fast before your dog eats the evidence!

Also closely inspect the remaining stuffed toy. Look for tooth punctures, missing appendages, or holes where filling is leaking out. Note the locations and sizes of any damage. This will help you determine which internal organs the stuffing may have entered, and how much needs to pass through your dog’s system.

Check Your Dog’s Stool

For the next 2-3 days, or however long the vet advises, collect and inspect all of your dog’s poop. Look for pieces of fabric, stuffing, plastic eyes or nose, or squeakers. Set the suspicious poops aside and bring them with you to the vet appointment.

This helps the vet understand how much of the stuffed animal was ingested and how quickly it is moving through the digestive tract.

If possible, walk your dog on concrete or another hard surface you can easily wash and disinfect. This makes spotting the stuffing in the stool easier. And remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling any questionable fecal matter!

Watch For Signs Of Blockage Or Trouble

Lack Of Appetite Or Energy

If your dog ate stuffing or another part of a stuffed animal that could cause an intestinal blockage, it’s important to monitor them for signs of trouble. One key thing to watch for is a lack of appetite or energy.

A dog that normally is excited for meals but suddenly loses interest in food could have a blockage starting to form. Lethargy, less interest in play or just generally acting quieter can also be red flags.

According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, appetite issues often emerge 12-24 hours after a dog consumes a problematic foreign object.


Another warning sign is frequent vomiting or throwing up undigested stuffed animal parts. This can indicate an obstruction forming in the intestines that makes it impossible for food to properly pass through.

Per the AKC, acute vomiting within the first four hours after eating something unusual, like stuffed animal stuffing, merits an urgent vet visit. Watch to see if your dog throws up foam, fluid or bits of fabric.


Along with vomiting, sudden bouts of diarrhea or very loose stools containing fabric pieces or stuffing could confirm your dog’s body is struggling after their snack. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, small intestinal obstructions like from stuffing can stimulate hypermotility in bowel contractions trying to push material through, resulting in runny stool with the foreign material visible.

Straining To Defecate

Excessive straining or pain when trying to poop is another troubling sign. Per the PetMD resource, dogs may cry, whine or anxiously circle when attempting to pass stool if a gastrointestinal blockage is present.

Difficulty defecating or small amounts of loose stool with mucus or blood also warrant rapid vet evaluation, according to BluePearl veterinary experts. This indicates the intestinal walls are impacted.

Symptom Development Time After Ingestion
Loss of appetite 12-24 hours
Vomiting 2-4 hours
Diarrhea 12-48 hours
Straining/pain when defecating 12+ hours
In most cases, signs of trouble will emerge within 12-48 hours if your dog managed to ingest part of a stuffed animal or stuffing and develop an intestinal obstruction from it. But issues like appetite changes can also take longer to manifest, so keep watch beyond 48 hours if possible.

Call Your Vet With Concerns

Describe What Was Eaten

If you discover your canine companion has nibbled, torn, or fully consumed portions of a stuffed toy, contact your veterinarian right away to discuss the situation. Provide details on exactly what types of materials were ingested, as this insight allows the vet to better evaluate any risks.

For example, describe what the stuffing was made from, such as polyester fiberfill, foam, beads, or pellets. Also note specifics on other portions eaten, like plastic eyes, faux fur, or squeaker devices. Don’t forget to mention approximately how much of the stuffed animal was consumed.

Note Any Symptoms

When you call the vet, clearly explain if your dog is showing concerning symptoms that started after eating the stuffed toy. Important signs to report include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, abnormal swelling, coughing, choking, or difficulty breathing.

Providing details upfront on symptoms (or lack thereof) allows your vet to better gauge whether emergency intervention is needed. For example, a dog experiencing obstructed breathing or bloating requires immediate care, versus one acting normally that can likely wait for a standard exam.

Discuss Removal Options

An insightful veterinarian understands when it’s wise to take a “watch and wait” approach after a dog eats fabric or stuffing. Oftentimes, these materials will naturally pass through the digestive system without issue.

Your vet can counsel on safe at-home monitoring to potentially avoid unnecessary procedures.

However, in situations where consumed materials could cause internal injury or blockage, the vet may recommend endoscopy or surgery for removal. Don’t try removing objects on your own, as this poses dangerous risks.

Instead, have an open conversation with your vet regarding the pros and cons of various extraction approaches.

According to the American Kennel Club, over 80% of dogs recover well when receiving timely veterinary care after eating stuffed toys. So, don’t panic, but do contact your vet promptly whenever such an incident occurs.

Describing specifics and noting symptoms allows them to provide tailored guidance to get your pup back to feeling their best.

Try Preventing Future Incidents

Keep Stuffed Toys Up High

One of the best ways to prevent your dog from chewing up stuffed toys again is to keep them out of reach when you’re not around to supervise. Find a high shelf, closet, or cupboard to store the stuffed animals so they are not within your dog’s grasp (according to the ASPCA, unattended stuffed toys are very tempting chew items for dogs).

You can say to your furry friend in a silly high-pitched voice when putting the toys away, “No more stuffed animals for you today, Fluffy! They’re going night-night up high so you don’t make another fluffy mess!” 😊 Giving them a place to “sleep” separates toy time from unaided chewing time.

Redirect Chewing

Dogs, especially young ones, may chew stuffed toys simply because they are bored or anxious. Having appropriate chew toys available can help redirect your dog’s chewing instinct in a positive way. Rotate different chew toys daily to keep your dog engaged and entertained.

Offer praise and treats when your dog chews the right toys instead of stuffed animals.

Additionally, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and playtime with you. A tired dog is less likely to seek unwanted “fun” with a stuffed toy! Take them on an extra walk, play a game of fetch, or do a short training session to help redirect pent up energy.

Provide Other Chew Toys

While adorable, plush stuffed animals are unfortunately not ideal chew toys for dogs. Instead, give your dog chew toys made specifically to stand up to canine chewing, like:

  • Nylon or rubber chew bones
  • Tough rubber toys
  • Rope toys
  • Durable plastic chew discs

Rotate these tougher toys daily to keep things interesting. Having 3-4 available at a time gives your dog options to choose from. Should they happen to chew up part of a stuffed toy again, immediately replace it with an appropriate chew toy instead to avoid triggering additional unwanted chewing of plush toys.

Praise them when chewing the right toys!

Benefits of Proper Chew Toys Risks of Stuffed Toys
  • Satisfies natural chewing instinct
  • Relieves boredom and anxiety
  • Cleans teeth and massages gums
  • Redirects negative behavior
  • Choking hazard from stuffing
  • Intestinal blockage or injury
  • Reinforces bad behavior
  • Destruction of property

Following these tips diligently can help prevent your dog from seeing stuffed animals as an exciting target for chomping down on. Be patient, offer lots of praise and alternatives, and keep soft toys securely out of reach!

Should your dog consume parts of a stuffed toy again, call your veterinarian in case pieces were swallowed.


While any ingestion of stuffing or fabric can be worrying, small amounts usually pass through a dog’s system without issue. Carefully examine your dog’s stools over the next days to see if all parts have passed. Call your vet promptly about any symptoms of blockage or toxicity.

And going forward, keep stuffed toys out of reach to avoid repeat cases of your dog treating their plush playmate like a chew toy.

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