At a recent housewarming party, I overheard a table of women casually complaining about the frequency with which their household pets have destroyed their sex toys. The tone was disturbingly nonchalant. “This can’t be really happening,” I thought. How wrong I was. Dogs and cats are eating our sex toys every day, around the clock. Just ask the internet.
On Twitter, search terms such as “dog ate vibrator,” “cat ate dildo,” and “dog ate butt plug” yield literally thousands of results. “Holy shit, the dog ate my roommate’s vibrator,” reads a Twitter post attached to a photo of orange silicone chunks next to a destroyed sex toy. Another features a picture of a positively wrecked Lelo toy with a pleading post, “So, uhm, a dog ate my vibrator. @lelo_official I’m so sad because I just bought it just shy of a month ago and really loved it. The warranty won’t cover this?” Another user lamented,“NOOO one of my cats got into my closet and chewed up my favorite #vixskin dildo!! I need a new mustang or I’ll die.”
On Reddit, there’s the post about the gnawed $300 WeVibe, the story about the swallowed c*ck ring and this good boy looking very guilty. Of course there’s Yahoo! Answers threads, various “ask a vet” forums and odd news items about pets finding and playing with adult toys while out in nature.
In two days, twenty-two people reached out to regale me with tales of bygone sex toys, annihilated by their animals. “My dog J chewed and ate two (TWO!) rabbits! Those things are like $80-$100,” actor and comedian Nicole Pasquale, wrote. Twitter user @TerriblyBland recalled that while away on a three-day work trip, their cat turned on their Hitachi Magic Wand, knocked it to the carpet, and almost set their apartment on fire. “It was hot to the touch.” After returning, “She’d run around the place in a panic any time I turned it on.” Twitter user @AmberWaysOfPain attempted to “puppy proof” her house, but “missed the box of toys” she keeps next to her bed. After waking up from a nap, she discovered “a butt plug in pieces on the floor,” as well as the puppy, “happily gnawing on a rubber dildo.”
One person who requested anonymity wrote me, “We came home to find bits and pieces of anal beads strewn about the apartment,” with relief that their dog “didn’t touch the $300 moose hide flogger.” Another anonymous person e-mailed, “My cat has left teeth marks in a leather slapper paddle, riding crop, canes, the handles of my play bags, and he always thinks when I’m tying rope it’s for him to claw.”
Toronto area veterinarian Dr. Elizabeth Myers, who has worked and taught in pet hospitals and ERs, estimates that 25% of cases she’s treated since 2003 are “in the sex toy area.” She’s performed intestinal surgeries to remove jelly silicone pieces from dogs’ abdomens, tested cats for toxicity exposure from chewing cheaper toys, removed used condoms from a ferret’s belly and treated puppies with electrocution burn marks on their lips caused by plugged in vibrators.
According to Myers, these issues are made worse by owners who aren’t forthcoming. (“I’m not the sex police, I don’t care,” she said.) But when vets have to prod bashful owners about what their fur babies consumed, it wastes valuable time saving a pet’s life. Dr. Myers brought up sugar-free edible underwear as an example of something she’s seen in the ER. (Yes, that’s a thing.) When animals consume sugar-free panties, it can drop their blood pressure so low that seizures and death can occur.
Even in the vet community, Elizabeth remarked that teaching about sex toy consumption is a “dark corner” of her industry. “We’re all pretty much up for crazy stories, but sex and drugs seem to be the cut off.” Another veterinarian I spoke to for this article, who wished not to be named, commented, “My employers and affiliations might not find it a professional discussion.”
I spoke with Katy Zolverin, the PR rep for sex toy purveyor Adam & Eve. Though she hadn’t personally fielded pet-related complaints, Zolverin suggested customers keep their toys in the site’s patented “storage bags.” Stu Nugent, a PR Rep from Lelo, also offered a satin bag product. But they’re not foolproof. Nugent said Lelo gets “a couple emails per week” from pet owners and suspects the “texture is really satisfying for cats to sharpen their claws on.” Nugent himself recalled an incident in which he chased his dog “around a car park for ten minutes trying not to call too much attention to the situation” after the dog ran off with a sex toy.
Veterinarian Ben Golas takes it a step further by recommending “child locks.” He also urges owners to avoid inadvertently training pets to destroy things that resemble adult toys. “If we let dogs play with long rubber bones and chew them up, we might expect that they would do the same for long rubber boners.”
Why is this happening and what can be done? While Dr. Myers acknowledges the similarities between pet toys and adult toys in shape and texture, she assured me that the number one reason is our smell. They love us, and love our smell, and as gross as it is, our sex toys really smell like us. Cleaning our toys and putting them away in harder to reach places is obviously recommended. But remembering to do both of those things, especially in the heat of the moment is harder.
There is also, of course, the non-scientific anecdotal revenge theory. In a few responses sent to me, many people felt that dildo destruction was an act of vengeance — on the toy’s loud noises, or on the owner. One person wrote in to tell me that their “$200 set of bondage rope” was urinated on by their miniature dachshund after she was kicked out of their kink space for being too noisy. “She always had a dramatic way of showing her displeasure.”
Speaking of jealousy, Dr. Myers recounted the tale of a puppy who was brought in to her ER for vomiting by a husband and wife. After surgery, Myers presented the couple with the foreign body: a pair of thong underwear. “The wife was like, ‘that’s not mine,’ and stormed out leaving the husband to pay the surgery bill.”
The moral of all this? Put your sex toys away after use…and also maybe don’t cheat on your wife.