Underwear, Birth Control & Rectal Cream: What Your Dog Is Eating Might Shock You

By Ryan Tronier
Dog who eats garbage bag
credit: Tomasz_Wozniak/iStock/GettyImages

Dogs will eat just about anything they can find. They delight in rummaging through garbage cans; dirty laundry intoxicates them; and purses ... well, don't get us started. Dogs love nothing more than to empty an unattended purse and nosh on its exciting contents.

We now have a more complete picture of what dogs are eating but shouldn't. A study compiled by JustAnswer, a massive online question-and-answer platform, has released data showing the questions pet owners are asking. It turns out, the most-frequently searched for queries have to do with what dogs ate.

"Every third question asked in the Pet category is about dogs eating something harmful," researchers noted. "Some of the more peculiar items included questions about dogs eating contact lenses, spiders, birth control, and diet pills. There was even a case of a dog managing to eat a tube of rectal cream."

Overwhelmingly, owners are searching the most for information about dogs eating human medication. This doesn't necessarily mean that dogs are eating medication more; rather, pet parents may be most concerned when their dogs do. But the finding is startling none the less. Especially considering that pills commonly found in human households, like acetaminophen and NSAIDs, can be lethal to dogs. The study notes that even veterinarian medication can be lethal for dogs if not administered properly.

Pet parents should immediately take their pets to a veterinarian if their dogs consume medications like acetaminophen, antidepressants, ADD/ADHD drugs, benzodiazepines, and sleep aids.

Second only to medication, are search queries for dogs who have eaten bones and dead animals. Chocolate, onions, grapes, and raisins combined accounted for 18 percent of what owners were worried their dogs ate.

Some states had unique trends, according to JustAnswers' study.

"California, New York, and Illinois had the most questions about dogs eating marijuana. Texas and California, unsurprisingly, led the list of states in which dogs ate avocados. Finally, dogs in Texas, California, and New York seem to have a palate for the unmentionables—they seem to enjoy eating underwear."

Golden Retriever doing laundry
credit: fotoedu/iStock/GettyImages

There is some evidence that medical CBD marijuana can help alleviate the pain of suffering pets, but the industry is not regulated and many veterinarians would advise against this type of treatment. Besides, dogs are most likely sneaking bites of human marijuana which often contains high levels of THC which is harmful to dogs.

Whether or not this study paints an accurate portrait of what dogs are eating or if we're merely looking at a list of the most-searched keywords, one thing is for certain: Dogs will eat things they shouldn't, and responsible dog parents need to keep harmful items out of reach.

The study's authors have tips to help owners when their dogs accidentally eat things they shouldn't.

Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Scroll through this article that asks if dog DNA tests are useful or just fun? Also, like us on Facebook to get the latest health and behavior research.