Puppies explore their world by mouthing, tasting, and chewing and as a result, they swallow foreign objects that can potentially make them sick. Puppies may gulp some things accidentally when a piece of a toy breaks off or something falls onto the ground without the owners knowledge. Other dangerous objects prove too tempting—used tampons, and even grease-smeared foil proves irresistible to puppies who troll the wastebaskets for scraps. Foreign body obstruction in puppies can be a medical emergency that can cost you money and your puppys life if not immediate attention is received.
What happens if a dog eats a toy?
There is a two-hour window
In the midnight call to the vet, I learned you have a two-hour window in which to have the dog examined and to hopefully safely extract the foreign object that he swallowed before the item makes its way into his intestines. This is critical, and can potentially make the difference between swift removal of the object or surgery.
When your dog swallows something she should not, do not wait around deciding whether to go to the vet. If you do not know what she swallowed, go immediately to the vet and have an X-ray taken. If you do know what she ingested, determine if it has something hard or sharp in it that might get stuck somewhere in your dog’s GI system. Think about the size of the object. Will the unwanted item make it through the intestines?
If your dog has swallowed a foreign object and it is not sharp or metal, most likely vomiting can be induced in the critical two-hour window before the item reaches the intestines. It is advisable to coat your dog’s stomach with food. In my case, I had just fed my dog cottage cheese, which turned out to be the perfect conductor for coating the esophagus and stomach. If the object is sharp, you do not want to induce vomiting because the item could tear your dog’s esophagus. For this reason, it is important to do the X-rays to determine if the object can make its way back up the esophagus.
First Aid for Swallowed Objects: Within Two Hours
If they swallowed the item within two hours, it’s probably still in the stomach. If the object isn’t sharp, feed your pet a small meal first, and then induce vomiting. The food helps cushion the object and protect the tummy. Also, pets vomit more easily if the stomach is full. If he doesn’t vomit, you’ll need to see a veterinarian.
For sharp objects go to the vet immediately. It could cause as much damage coming back up if the puppy vomits.
After two hours, the object will have passed into the intestines and vomiting won’t help. Most objects small enough to move through the digestive system pass with the feces and cause no problems. Feed a bulky meal of dry food to cushion stones or other heavy objects and help them move on out. Food also turns on the digestive juices, which can help soften wads of rawhide treats, so they pass more readily. As long as it is small enough, objects pass harmlessly through the body and end up on the lawn. Monitor your puppy’s productivity. Use a disposable popsicle stick or plastic knife to chop up and search through the puppy droppings for the object.
The exception to allowing small objects to pass are swallowed metal objects like coins or batteries. DON’T WAIT, get your puppy seen immediately. Stomach acids interact with these metal objects and cause zinc or lead poisoning. String is another dangerous object that frequently affects cats and kittens, and when swallowed it requires you to seek professional help.
If you’ve seen the pet swallow something he shouldn’t but it doesn’t pass, or the puppy begins vomiting, retching without result, won’t eat, looks or behaves distressed, or repeatedly coughs, seek help immediately. Any object, even tiny ones, potentially may lodge in and block the intestinal tract.
Diagnosis can be based on seeing the pet swallow something or based on symptoms. It’s confirmed by X-rays or other diagnostics like an endoscope to determine the exact location and size of the blockage, and sometimes to identify the object itself. Specific signs depend on where the blockage is located and the type of object.
An object caught in the stomach or intestines causes vomiting, which may come and go for days or weeks if the blockage is not complete and food can pass around it.
A complete blockage is a medical emergency that results in a bloated, painful stomach with sudden, constant vomiting. The dog refuses food and immediately throws up anything she drinks.
Signs of zinc toxicity (from coins) include pale gums, bloody urine, jaundice—a yellow tinge to the whites of the eyes or inside the ears—along with vomiting, diarrhea, and refusal to eat.
Lead poisoning from batteries can also cause teeth grinding, seizures and hyperactivity, loss of appetite and vomiting.
Copper poisoning has similar signs plus a swollen tummy.
String-type articles often catch between the teeth or wrap around the base of the tongue in the mouth, with the rest swallowed.
Is It Bad For Dogs To Eat Toys?
Absolutely! Small amounts of fluff can usually pass unhindered through your dog’s system, but it’s best to avoid the potential for ingestion altogether. Keep an eagle eye on your dog when they’ve got plush in their clutches, and discard it when stuffing first appears or they’re ripping pieces off. The same goes for rubber or nylon toys if your dog is gouging out bite-sized chunks.
These symptoms indicate that your pup may have swallowed a part of a toy or has a blockage:
Pain in the abdomen (they may not want to be touched in that area)
Hunching/arching their back
Loss of appetite
Get them to the vet as soon as possible to discuss treatment options if you think your dog has swallowed any foreign objects.
How long does it take for a dog to poop out a toy?
When something is ingested by your dog, it usually takes between 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract.
What do you do if your dog eats a stuffed toy?
Rather than waiting to see if it will “pass,” or attempting to induce vomiting on your own, contact your vet immediately. If it’s after-hours and your vet can’t be reached, call an emergency vet clinic. You have about a 2-hour window before the object makes its way into the intestines.
Can a dog pass a small stuffed animal?
“A very small amount of stuffing likely will pass. It may not be as serious as a piece of ribbon or rope or string,” Dr. Lyon told The Dodo. However, your dog’s prognosis depends on the amount of stuffing swallowed, and the size of your dog.
Will dog poop out toy?
Many objects small enough to pass through the digestive system may be eliminated with the feces and cause no problems (however do not risk this with coins or batteries).