What To Do If Your Pet Swallows String

Lurking in every house there is something that is dangerous and perhaps even deadly for pet dogs and cats. This innocuous material is string. It can take the form of dental floss, thread, yarn, or even a rubber band or piece of elastic. The following can help you understand the danger, as well as providing information on what to do if your pet ingests string.

The danger

There are two dangers posed by string, but both begin when an animal eats string. Cats are more likely to do this, since they may enjoy playing with the string. Dogs usually only eat string if it smells like food, such as is the case for some dental floss varieties.

The main danger is that the string does not pass through in one piece. The owner then notices string hanging from their pet's anus. If the string is pulled on, it can cut through sensitive digestive tissue or cause parts of the intestine to bind and become blocked. This can be deadly.

The other danger is posed by string that becomes looped or by rubber bands, and it mainly only affects cats. The bulk of the string is swallowed except for a loop that gets wrapped around the tongue. This can can cause a major injury to your cat.


First and foremost, if you notice string hanging from your pet's anus, do not pull on it. If your pet doesn't seem to be in any distress, you can cut off the string near the rectum and wait to see if they pass it out the next time they relieve themselves. If your pet shows any signs of distress, such as loss of appetite, straining when trying to relieve themselves, or the appearance of pain, visit an emergency vet at a location like Metzger Animal Hospital immediately. Also, if you notice that your pet has passed some string, monitor their droppings for a few days to ensure there is no blood, since this can indicate that the string caused an injury.

As for string beneath the tongue, it is necessary to visit the vet for removal as soon as possible. They can clip the string without injuring your cat, and then monitor that the remaining string passes through their system safely. In some cases they may encourage your cat to vomit up the string. In other instances, your cat may require stitches if the string has cut into sensitive mouth tissue.

The best course of action is to keep all string-like materials out of your pet's reach so an emergency doesn't occur.