Dog Ate Silicone Balls

When you purchase items like shoes, medicine, or electronics, you may notice little silica gel pods in the packaging, inviting your dog to make a snack out of them.

Consuming the amount of silica typically found in a small (1-2-inch packet) probably won’t do your canine much harm besides possibly causing minor digestive upset. If you have a small dog or your pup has consumed a large amount of the stuff, consult your veterinarian.

You may be wondering what happens when your dog swallows a packet of silica gel or consumes the iron or charcoal granules commonly found in many pre-packaged items.

If your dog ingests silica bead packets, monitor him for signs of intestinal obstruction. These include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and loss of appetite. Consult your veterinarian if any of these symptoms occur after ingestion.

Q: Why is it labeled “do not eat”? A: Silica gel is not intended for consumption and therefor receives the label “do not eat”. The dust from the processing and creation of silica is irritating to the skin, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. In people who are chronically exposed to/inhaling silica, such as a employee in a mine or factory, a progressive debilitating disease called silicosis can develop. Fortunately, silica dust is rarely encountered by our furry friends. Some silica products are mixed with a moisture indicator, these indicators may be toxic in large doses. If a dye is present, the silica gel will no longer be a clear to white but instead bright orange, blue, pink or green.

Q: Why is it labeled “do not eat”? A: Elemental iron can cause severe poisoning, even in the small amounts contained in one oxygen absorber packet.2 It is very irritating to the GI tract and has direct corrosive effects. After ingestion, vomiting (with or without blood) is one of the first signs of poisoning. In fact, vomiting is such a common finding that if a dog does not vomit, it’s probable that a toxic dose was not ingested. If the dose is large enough to cause poisoning, severe metabolic acidosis, shock and hepatic toxicity can develop 1 -5 days after the exposure. At Pet Poison Helpline, the most severe cases of iron poisoning from oxygen absorbers have occurred in small dogs (<15 pounds). Unless a large dog ingested several oxygen absorbers or ingested unusually large ones, poisoning is much less likely.

Most owners will call to report that their dog ingested the packet inside of a container. First ask how much was ingested and if there is any left. If there is, see if the packet is labeled, what color the contents are and if the contents can be picked up with a magnet. If it was ingested whole the owner should be asked if there is another package in the home so a duplicate of the product can be evaluated.

Q: What is it? A: A specific type of prepared charcoal (similar to activated charcoal used in veterinary hospitals) is found in white plastic cylinders inside bags of prepared foodstuffs like dog treats, chews and jerky. If broken open the small black granules are visible. These granules are not magnetic (as compared to iron).

Q: Why is it labeled “do not eat”? A: The charcoal is not intended to be consumed and therefor labeled “do not eat”.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Silica Gel?

  • First, stop them from eating anymore! Remove any remaining silica gel packets and put them away in a secure location. You may need to remove your dog from the area so that you can return and clean up the mess!
  • Do not try to make your dog sick. It is never advisable to make your pet sick at home without talking to your veterinarian first as this may not be necessary and in some circumstances may even be detrimental to your pet.
  • Contact your veterinarian. be sure to inform your veterinarian of how much silica gel has been eaten, you may need to estimate this if you are unsure. Other important details that your veterinarian will need include your dog’s age, breed, and weight. It is important to contact your veterinarian even if your pet looks OK now as they may become poorly later on if left untreated.
  • Is Silica Gel Toxic To Dogs?

    Whilst the silica gel itself is not toxic to dogs, ingestion of significant quantities may result in an upset stomach. If your dog eats large quantities of silica gel this may result in a blockage within the gut. It is also important to consider whether your dog has ingested additional items, such as the item that contained the silica gel packet, since this may lead to additional varied symptoms. It is best to contact your veterinarian for advice when your dog has eaten something that they shouldn’t have or if you are uncertain about the safety of the ingested item. Symptoms you might notice after your dog eats silica gel include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Inappetence
  • Lethargy
  • FAQ

    Are silicone balls poisonous to dogs?

    Q: Is it a threat to dogs? A: No true toxicity risk exists from exposure to silica gel packets. The beads do not enlarge in the stomach and the exterior packaging is usually soft and presents little risk of injury of obstruction.

    Are silicone balls toxic?

    Is Silica Gel Toxic? Silica gel is non-toxic but it is a choking hazard for young children. However, in some rare instances, manufacturers coat silica gel in cobalt chloride, a toxic compound. Eating cobalt chloride-coated silica gel will likely cause nausea and vomiting.

    Is silica gel harmful to pets?

    Silica gel is not thought to be toxic, but it can cause an obstruction if ingested by a small dog.

    What happens if you eat a silicon ball?

    Also, a few varieties of silica gel come coated with cobalt chloride, which is considered toxic. Swallowing a large amount at once is not too dangerous, but it may cause nausea and vomiting. For that reason, experts recommend calling a poison control center if you swallow a “do not eat” packet, just to be safe.