Can Your Puppy Get Sick From Wood Pellet Litter?

by Susan Paretts Google
Keep Fido out of Fluffy's litter box.

Keep Fido out of Fluffy's litter box.

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While most pups enjoy chowing down on delicious doggie treats, some might try to ingest unusual items that aren't even food. A curious puppy may mistake your kitty's wood pellet litter for yummy kibble and decide to eat it. Wood litter isn't meant to be eaten and could make your puppy very sick, depending on how much he ingests.

Wood Pellet Litter

Wood pellet litter is made from wood that is ground into sawdust, dried and compressed into small pellets around 1 1/2 inches in size, according to the Corinth Wood Pellets website. Because much of the wood's natural moisture is removed, the resulting pellets are highly absorbent and will expand in size when they come into contact with liquids, making them effective for use as cat litter. Unfortunately, if a puppy eats the litter pellets, they could expand inside his intestines and cause a dangerous blockage. Because puppies are so small, it doesn't take much litter to create a blockage, so it's best to get Fido to the vet immediately if he's been snacking on wood pellet litter.

Dangers of Wood Pellet Litter

Besides possibly causing an intestinal blockage, wood pellet litter may break into sharp pieces that could damage your pup's intestines, causing serious infections as they pass through them, warns WebMD. Wood pellet litter also may contain toxins. The lumber used to make wood pellet litter may have been treated with chemicals to prevent insect infestations and the growth of mold and other microorganisms, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Such chemicals include chromated copper arsenate, which contains chromium, copper and arsenic, all of which are poisonous to dogs and humans. While the amount of these chemicals is likely small, it's best to keep them out of your pup's tummy.

Litter Box Snacking

Because wood pellet litter is usually found in your cat's litter box, if Fido snacks on it, he could be ingesting litter contaminated with your kitty's waste. Eating from the litter box is not uncommon with dogs, especially curious young pups, according to the Cat Behavior Associates website. Cat feces could contain the eggs of intestinal parasites, which might infect your puppy if he eats litter contaminated with it. Puppies are much more susceptible to intestinal parasites than adult dogs and those parasites can make him very sick, so it's best to keep him away from your kitty's litter box by placing it in a room he can't access.

Puppy Pica Problems

If young Fido is eating nonfood items such as wood pellet litter, he just may be curious or bored but this condition, known as pica, also could indicate a health problem. Pups suffering from pica may eat things like wood because of a nutritional deficiency or an illness, advises the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Get your pup to the vet to rule out these issues. During your pup's exam, your vet will test Fido for health issues and possibly remove any remaining wood pellets from his tummy. Once he gets a clean bill of health, keep wood pellet litter out of the reach of Fido's paws.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

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