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Help! My Dog Ate a Balloon

Jack Russell Terrier chasing red balloon

Dogs are not exactly known for being overly concerned about what they put in their mouths. They are like fur-covered toddlers – seriously. Pick any random, inanimate object and guaranteed, some dog, somewhere, has thought it was a great idea to eat it (and terrified his owners in the process). Take balloons, for example, more dogs than you could count have made a Scooby Snack of these fun and apparently irresistible decorations. Luckily, for you, and the pup, eating a balloon is usually not too serious. It will more than likely make its way through the digestive tract and safely out the other. Keep calm and read on for exactly what to do when your precious friend eats a balloon.

However, it is always recommended to get a professional opinion from your veterinarian in case your dog eats a balloon.

My Dog Ate a Popped Balloon – What Do I Do?

Enlist him in canine clown college? Just kidding. If he is not ready to go pro – no panic necessary. Typically, a balloon or pieces of it will easily pass through the digestive tract with little to no issues. The most important thing to do at the moment is to keep your eye on your four-legged friend. Although most do not have issues, it is possible.

But you must know why your dog has eaten a balloon in the first place. Sometimes it happens that your dog swallows’ random things which are withing his each. However, if this behavior is repeated frequently, then it might be the symptom of an issue known as Pica.

Pica In Dogs

Dog sitting at base of stairs chewing shoes

Pica is a condition where your dog could not resist themselves from eating non-food things. It is a dangerous condition as it pushes your dog towards more life-threatening issues. Pica in dogs can be caused because of both psychological and physical problems.

Are Balloons Dangerous for Dogs?

Pomeranian sitting outside with bunch of balloons

While not inherently dangerous, chowing down on pieces of balloons (or even the entire thing) can sometimes pose a risk. A latex allergy, choking, or a bowel blockage are all real, albeit fairly rare, possibilities. A latex allergy is pretty self-explanatory, as is choking. Bowel blockages and/or obstructions are not overly common when it comes to doggy balloon eating but they can happen. This is where the object becomes lodged in the intestinal tract causing a partial or full block. This usually requires surgery and, unfortunately, can, in some cases, be fatal, especially if left untreated.

Will My Dog Poop Out a Balloon?

Chocolate Labrador outdoors trying to poop

So, will your dog poop that balloon out? Eventually, yes. However, it could take several days, or even up to a week – but, as they say, this too shall pass. As long as your dog is not showing any signs of illness or discomfort, feel free to attempt to wait him out (and enjoy your upcoming doggy poo treasure hunt!).

Helping Him at Home

If you’re planning on caring for your dog at home (so long as there are no negative symptoms), monitoring him is not an easy job as it may seem. When you call your veterinarian, which you should do regardless, as soon as the ingestion happens, they may want you to induce vomiting. This is done by giving the dog 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. This is typically only effective if done within two hours of the pup eating the object – in this case, balloon.

When It is Time for A Veterinary Visit

Dog on exam table with Vet in background

If the balloon does not seem to be passing on its own, or if your dog starts exhibiting signs of sickness, particularly vomiting, malaise, abdominal tenderness, or stops eating/drinking, it’s time to see the veterinarian. Once admitted, the doctor will be able to assess and run tests like radiographs to rule out a bowel blockage or obstruction.

Possible Signs of Blockage/Obstruction

Golden retriever with head laying on floor with food bowl next to it.
  • Vomiting
  • Straining to Defecate
  • Malaise (overall not feeling so great)
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite/ Not wanting to drink
  • Abdominal pain / Tender to the touch

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you need to get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

So, there you have it – take a deep, relaxing breath – I promise, everything is going to be okay. Dogs are always getting themselves into trouble, they just love getting into things that they are not supposed to be. This probably will not be the last time he gives his favorite Hooman a near heart attack! Best case scenario he passes the balloon, and all is well again. Worst case scenario, the pup will need surgery, however, it is a commonly performed procedure and he will likely end up being just fine.

He will probably think twice about chomping stuff that he should not be next time, though! Being a pet parent, and a canine parent, in particular, comes with its own set of challenges. Not to worry, you (both) have totally got this (you might want to keep the balloons out of his reach from now on)!

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