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Help! My Dog Ate Plastic

Random items made from plastic and aluminum spread over half of a green background

Dogs want to learn about everything that is around them. In an attempt to do so, things can go a little out of control sometimes. For instance, eating a harmful foreign object (like plastic) can cause serious health implications to your canine friend. For this reason, dog owners need to stay alert at all times.

Why Do Dogs Eat Plastic?

In addition to the curious nature, there are some other factors that might instigate your dog to eat plastic. The most common among them are discussed below.

Pica Syndrome

If your dog is not getting a balanced diet, nutritional deficiencies can make him/her consume inedible things. This condition is medically known as the Pica Syndrome. In this case, the best possible solution is to feed your canine a healthy diet.

Teething Puppies

Puppy sitting in chewed box

Teething is probably the most common cause of inappropriate eating. These dogs need anything to chew on because it relaxes the irritation of their gums. If a teething puppy is NOT given chew toys, any plastic object can become his/her prey.

If your dog eats plastic, you should always call your vet or the pet poison control line at: (888) 426-4435

Abnormal Hunger

Some dogs have an abnormal hunger and hence, they are always looking for food. Consequently, leaving any plastic container in the open can invite them for an unplanned meal. Whether empty or full, a hungry dog will pounce on the container and can eat plastic in the process. Similarly, a stressed dog can also ingest inedible objects.   

Why Ingesting Plastic is Dangerous for Dogs?

Dog with empty plastic water bottle in mouth

There are several ways in which an ingested piece of plastic can harm your dog. Ranging from choking to damaging stomach tissues, all of them can prove fatal for your pet. Some of the most common dangers of plastic ingestion (for dogs) are listed below.

  • Hard plastic pieces can damage the teeth of dogs.
  • Plastic can cause choking if it gets stuck in the mouth or throat of the canine.
  • Sharp plastic pieces can injure the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines, or rectum of your pet.
  • Plastic bags or wrappers can cause intestinal blockage in dogs.
  • If the ingested plastic is contaminated with a toxic substance (such as chocolate), the canine can become seriously ill.

My Dog Ate Hard Plastic

puppy chewing hard plastic toy

Although plastic is hazardous for canines, you can save your dog from suffering serious injury by reacting quickly. Keep your calm and follow these instructions to help your companion.  

Ensure that Your Dog is Breathing Normally

Start the first aid process by making sure that the dog is not choking on ingested plastic. The most common symptoms of choking include:

  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual body postures
  • Panicked behavior

If you notice any of these signs, you should rush your dog to the nearest veterinary facility.

Make Your Dog Plastic-free

woman checking dogs mouth

Irrespective of the quantity of plastic your dog has consumed so far, you shouldn’t let him eat anymore. Inspect your pet’s mouth and carefully remove the remaining pieces of plastic. If you are worried that your canine companion may bite, use rubber gloves for this exercise. Make sure that your dog is completely plastic-free by the time you are done.  

A lot of people might look to induce vomiting in order to remove the plastic from their dog’s system. It’s NOT a recommended plan of action because hard plastic can damage the esophagus, stomach, or intestines of your dog.

Determine the Extent of Damage

Once your dog is comfortable and breathing normally, you need to figure out the quantity of plastic consumed. Simultaneously, you need to determine what kind of plastic was ingested by your canine friend.

For doing that, you will need to search your home like an investigator and retrieve as much evidence as possible. Once you have the remains of the eaten plastic, examine them to figure out the severity of the situation. If there’s another substance on that plastic, try to identify the additional threats that this ingredient may pose.

Visit Your Vet

woman sitting with dog on lap talking to vet

Now that you have prepared a nice case, it’s time to seek professional help. Explain all the relevant factors to the vet so that he/she could recommend the most suitable mode of treatment. After analyzing all the information, your vet will decide whether there is any need for further medical assistance or not. In most cases, the owner is asked to observe their dog for the next few days.  

My Dog Ate a Plastic Bag/Wrap

close up end view of a roll of plastic wrap on a wooden surface

If your dog has ingested a large quantity of plastic bags, he/she can develop serious complications in the digestive system. The following signs may indicate that there is something wrong with your dog.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Blood in stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy

As soon as you realize that your dog has eaten plastic, you should provide him/her with first aid to prevent serious complications. Some of the effective methods to counter ingested plastic wraps are explained below.

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin is an excellent ingredient to handle digestive problems. Whether your dog is suffering from diarrhea or constipation, you can rely on pumpkin puree to ease the abdominal discomfort. Having said that, pumpkin pie is NOT a safe option for dogs.

Alternatively, you can also use yogurt for healing the digestive system of your pet. The calcium and proteins in the yogurt are good for your ill dog.

Induce Vomiting

If you are confident that your dog ate soft plastic bags, inducing the canine to vomit might improve the symptoms. However, this process should NEVER be attempted without the approval of your vet. You should discuss the incident with him/her and induce vomiting only after getting the green signal.

After that, professional supervision is also necessary to ensure that the recovery is progressing in the right direction. If you don’t have the knowledge or proper supplies, you should seek the help of your vet for inducing vomiting.  

My Dog Ate Broken Plastic

broken plastic eating utensils on a red background

If your dog ingests broken plastic, its sharp edges can cause severe damage to your canine’s digestive tract. In such a case, you should immediately take your pet to a vet to avoid any unwanted consequence.

Plastic Spoon

If your dog ate some pieces of a plastic spoon, you need to minimize the damage by feeding soft diets. Bread and wet dog food are ideal examples of such foods that will coat the plastic with a safer layer. Similarly, you should give your canine extra fiber (pumpkin puree not pie mix) to keep things moving in his/her gut.

It is quite possible that you observe a small amount of blood in the dog’s stool. This is the result of the irritation in the intestines. It shouldn’t be an extremely concerning issue if the blood resolves within a day or two.

On the other hand, if your canine vomits blood or has bright-red blood in poop, there could be an emergency. In these unfortunate situations, veterinary care is paramount.

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