Table of Contents
- Don't let it come to the surgery.
- Dog's need to chew toys and exercise to keep them happy.
- Reasons why dogs might eat plastic or non-edible objects
- Dangerous symptoms to watch out for in your dog after eating plastic
- How can you stop your dog from eating plastic again?
- Plastic Is An Environmental Nightmare
- Common Questions for When Your Dog Ate Plastic
- What Happens If My Dog Eats Plastic?
- Can Eating Plastic Kill a Dog?
- How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Pass Plastic?
- How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has a Blockage?
- Will Plastic Dissolve in a Dog's Stomach?
- How Long Can a Dog Survive with an Intestinal Blockage?
- How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Bowel Obstruction in a Dog?
If you saw your dog eat plastic or you are worried that he could have, it's not OK to casually hope that everything will be all right.
It would help if you did something quickly. Dogs can't or should not digest plastic. If you noticed your dog eating a big piece of plastic, you could expect big problems.
When it's small pieces, you might be fortunate that the small pieces pass through the digestive system without much harm to your dog.
Don't let it come to the surgery.
If you know the size of plastic the dog ate, maybe the vet might be able to get the dog to regurgitate it.
Unfortunately, surgery might occur if you don't know the size of the plastic the dog swallowed; almost certain if it was a big piece, that will be the next option.
You or anybody else mustn't try all kinds of methods to get your dog to vomit – this is something the vet must do.
If you or anybody else doesn't have the expertise, you could cause even more damage to your dog's health and further complications.
People are always asking the question of whether all plastics are dangerous for dogs. Dogs can't digest any plastic, period. They should never eat it.
Sometimes though, dogs might chew something they are not supposed to or pick up something you didn't see them pick up.
You might be unaware that the dog has eaten plastic – if it was small, you might only observe this in his stool later.
But if you notice he can't eat properly or is throwing up, something more serious is occurring, such as an intestinal blockage.
Only try and induce the dog to regurgitate the plastic if your vet has told you it is OK to do it and if it is small and soft.
But if you don't know what to do, it can be hazardous for a dog to throw up if you have not induced the regurgitation properly according to the vet's instructions.
Further, if the object is big, rush your dog to the vet.
Dog's need to chew toys and exercise to keep them happy.
Dogs love chewing on toys provided to them, so they need to get plenty of the proper chew toys to keep them happy – that and exercise.
Dogs cooped up in the house get bored and look for anything to chew on or play with to amuse themselves.
Unfortunately, many household items are within a dog's reach, from furniture to ornaments, to paper, all sorts of things – some dogs are big enough to take off items from the countertops as well, and heaps of them are made from plastic.
Reasons why dogs might eat plastic or non-edible objects
- The Humane Society of the United States says that some dogs, even cats, can eat non-edible things because they aren't getting certain nutrients in their diet – like a horse will eat wood or even feces when it gets fed, for instance, old winter grass, which is lacking in certain nutrients.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual states that some dogs develop obsessive behaviors to cope with stress, such as separation-induced anxiety. Sometimes weaned puppies and kittens will suck on soft materials or blankets to release “feel-good” endorphins that the soft blanket offers them and which were released when their mother nursed them.
- Many people notice that their dogs need toys to chew when they are teething. If a puppy is not given a proper chew toy, he will look for things to chew on, and plastic can kill him. Sometimes it is essential to put a pup in a crate just for a while when he is teething and when you cannot keep an eye on him all the time.
- Some dogs seem to have endless appetites, looking for food everywhere. If you leave plastic bottles and food containers that are empty on table-tops, etc., a hungry dog will help himself to it.
It's not a laughing matter to watch a dog eating and ingesting foreign objects like plastic. Just think of all the plastic stuff laying around that a dog can chew on:
- Milk jugs, children's toys, water bottles, baby bottles, dog food bowls, bottle caps, candy/food wrappers, food containers, tampon applicators, plastic balls – and the list of plastic stuff around the house goes on and on.
Dangerous symptoms to watch out for in your dog after eating plastic
If your dog has eaten plastic and starts to choke and show abdominal pain, even throwing up, this is the time to rush him to your vet and to consider it a medical emergency.
It is a medical emergency even if your dog shows these symptoms only after eating something small like a plastic wrapper or a bottle top. If the plastic object is sharp, it can damage his insides and his digestive system as it moves along.
Some objects, if they are big enough and sharp enough, can even puncture your dog's lungs or any of his other organs. All of these can result in your dog needing surgical intervention.
You can't say, “I didn't see my dog eating any plastic,” and believe he will get better.
The fact of the matter is, if he is unable to keep his water and food down and his condition deteriorates rapidly, you have to rush him to the vet immediately.
He will need urgent evaluation and x-rays to determine what is causing those symptoms and how big the objects are.
The vet might even use a barium swallow so that the dog can pass the pieces of plastic via defecating.
However, if the plastic does not move down or out and the dog starts vomiting, the vet will be on hand to take him to surgery immediately.
Timing is everything when it comes to a pet ingesting a foreign object such as plastic.
This is because a blockage in the gut can cut off the blood supply to specific organs within a matter of hours.
Once you know exactly what your dog has swallowed, and your vet decides that it is safe, you can induce vomiting.
Fortunately, if you don't know what the dog swallowed, x-rays or an endoscope might help the vet find out what the object is.
Once the dog has undergone surgery or the vet has removed the plastic, he might prescribe antibiotics for the dog to help prevent any infection from developing.
The vet will probably also recommend that your dog is kept quiet and calm for a few days afterward – this will allow his body to rest and recuperate.
Maybe it might even be necessary to adjust how you give your dog water and food for a few days or weeks, particularly if the dog has suffered damage to his intestines.
Time for action
If your dog ingested a plastic object and doesn't appear yet to be distressed, then it is recommended that you take these actions for a couple of days because it could take that long for the object to pass through his system –
- Immediately you are aware that your dog swallowed plastic, call the vet so that he is aware of the situation. He might even recommend a treatment plan for you.
- If you are worried that your dog might have constipation, you can give him a bit of plain yogurt or some pureed pumpkin to soften his stools.
- Ensure that your dog is still eating and drinking normally because if they become lethargic, it could be that they are in pain.
So watch out for any signs of your dog having digestive upsets or unusual bathroom habits – by his refusing to eat or drink or he is suffering from diarrhea or constipation are signs that a trip is necessary to the vet.
How can you stop your dog from eating plastic again?
You might have had the traumatic experience already of your dog swallowing a plastic object before and him having to undergo surgery to remove the thing.
You might have noticed plastic wrappers etc., in your dog's poo – how do you prevent this from occurring again?
Get him chew-toys
Buy your dog some of his chew toys – a powerful chewer needs these – make sure you get indestructible dog toys. If your dog does manage to chew up even these, replace them immediately, they start falling apart.
This will prevent the dog from swallowing the small pieces that get torn off. Use more giant toys that the dog can cope with and that he can't destroy.
Regardless of what your dog's reason is for chewing on plastic and other foreign objects, you can train your dog that picking up non-food things that aren't his toys is a “no-no.”
Plastic Is An Environmental Nightmare
It isn't easy to make broad generalizations about plastic. This is because it takes so many different forms, but most plastic is indigestible.
Save yourself stress, anxiety, money by ensuring at all times that plastic never becomes part of his diet!
‘Do something drastic for your dog – cut the plastic!'
Common Questions for When Your Dog Ate Plastic
Still, have some questions about your dog's unfortunate plastic consumption? Or maybe you prefer the Q&A format to absorb the above information.
The following information will help you know what is going on with your dog's digestive tract, so you know what to do.
What Happens If My Dog Eats Plastic?
Your dog may pass plastic, but that is not always the case. You may also find yourself cleaning up dog vomit with plastic in it shortly.
The problem is that dog owners cannot tell how dangerous their pup's plastic consumption will be.
It is always up in the air as to whether your dog will have a foreign body obstruction.
If you suspect that this is the case, take him to a veterinarian immediately. You never want to leave intestinal obstruction untreated.
Can Eating Plastic Kill a Dog?
Yes, eating plastic can kill a dog, even a healthy dog. Luckily, you have ample opportunity to prevent this from happening.
The critical thing to remember is that your dog's digestive system cannot process plastic. If your dog swallows any plastic objects, he has to excrete them.
Depending on the size of the plastic, this may not be possible. If your dog eats larger plastic, take him to the vet immediately. Larger pieces are more likely to cause blockages.
You also should not assume that your dog is okay if he ate plastic and seems normal. If the plastic causes a blockage, your dog will need surgery.
Without surgery to correct a blockage, he will die. Importantly, eating plastic items may not kill your dog immediately.
A blockage can take months before it causes serious issues. You may have no idea what is happening in the digestive tract without professional advice from your vet.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Pass Plastic?
If your dog swallowed a plastic object, it would be in his intestines within about two hours. At this point, you can't get your dog to vomit the plastic back up.
The good news is that after a dog eating plastic, it will pass without a problem most of the time.
However, for this to be the case, it has to be in small pieces and without sharp edges. If your dog's teeth broke the plastic into tiny pieces before he ate it, then this is good news.
It will be easier for your dog to pass the plastic through his digestive tract and out with his feces.
Whether your dog can pass the plastic depends on how much plastic he ate as well as the size of the plastic items.
Most food passes through your dog's digestive system within about ten hours. So after this point, you can start to wonder what the remaining plastic in his body is doing. You will want to take him to the vet.
How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has a Blockage?
As mentioned, the most significant risk with a bored dog that eats plastic is bowel obstruction or blockage.
Because of this, you need to be alert for the symptoms of a blockage. That way, you know what to look for in case your dog eats plastic.
Repetitive vomiting is a sign of blockage. Others include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, weakness, whining, and hunching.
Your dog may also not be able to hold any water down, which leads to dehydration.
If you notice any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet and tell him that your puppy ate soft plastic.
He will check your dog's stomach and may run tests for a foreign object in the digestive system.
Remember that if your dog has a blockage, he will likely need surgery.
Will Plastic Dissolve in a Dog's Stomach?
You probably know your dog has a strong stomach, but that doesn't mean he can digest plastic. Your dog's stomach acid will not dissolve plastic, not even soft plastic.
If your pup eats a plastic spoon, plastic bag, or another item, it will have to leave his body.
He will have to vomit it up very soon after eating it. After two hours, he will have to eliminate it with his feces.
Because your dog cannot digest it, he may need surgery. This is if he eats plastic but doesn't pass it with his feces. Otherwise, it will sit in his intestines and cause a perforation or blockage.
How Long Can a Dog Survive with an Intestinal Blockage?
If your dog has an intestinal blockage from a sandwich bag or something else, you need to take care of it immediately.
Left untreated, the complete obstruction will typically kill your dog in just three or four days.
If the blockage is partial, then your dog might live up to three or four weeks without treatment. The symptoms are also more intermittent and less severe for partial blockages.
The deadliness of a blockage is why it is so vital that you pay attention to what goes into your dog's throat.
If you suspect a blockage based on your dog's symptoms, visit the vet immediately. He will provide veterinary advice to minimize the amount your dog suffers and treat him.
How Much Does It Cost to Remove a Bowel Obstruction in a Dog?
The cost to remove your dog's bowel obstruction depends on the situation. Expect to pay at least $800.
You may pay $7,000 or more for more complicated situations or in high cost-of-living areas.
Those costs should include all exams and the surgery, including the anesthesia hospitalization and operating room use.
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