My Dog Ate an Aluminum Can – What Should I Do?

Our pets always continue to surprise us with the types of objects that they try to chew and eat. Dogs, for example, are always trying to put something in their mouths out of boredom or stress. The stimulus of this behavior could be their instinct and impulse to discover everything around them, or it could even be due to malnutrition or hunger. 

If you ever see your dog trying to chew on various foreign objects, you might want to get to know the origin of this behavior. In such cases, dogs may try to swallow the craziest things that can harm their health. This includes the urge to eat yarn, foam balls, or even aluminum cans!

All these materials can cause serious pathological effects on your dog’s gastrointestinal system and your dog’s general health status. There are several approaches that one could take to prevent this kind of behavior or even try to take action when these accidents happen. So if you ever realized that your dog has swallowed any parts or bits of an aluminum can, keep reading to find out the risks of this behavior and how to deal with it. 

What Happens if A Dog Eats an Aluminum Can?

Metal objects are generally the most dangerous to enter your dog’s digestive system. Bits of aluminum cans can cause irreversible, highly threatening consequences on your dog’s health. So if you ever notice some pieces of metal next to your dog’s mouth, contact your veterinarian immediately. 

Generally, if your dog swallowed an aluminum can, it is most probable that he chewed it first. This means that the aluminum is firstly shredded before entering the digestive tract. This is both more threatening and relieving at the same time. That’s because, on the one hand, your dog didn’t swallow the whole can that might choke him. Still, on the other hand, he ate sharp metal material that would pass into his gastrointestinal tract.  

After your dog has swallowed the shredded aluminum parts, the first issue your dog will probably face is some scratches and wounds on his oral mucosa. Secondly, these parts will likely also damage his pharynx and esophagus. This imposes the highest possible risk on your dog’s health as these aluminum parts can be contaminated with some harmful bacterial pathogens that will have direct access to the dog’s blood flow. 

What Are Some of The Risks?

Your dog swallowing aluminum can have several dangerous consequences on your dog’s life. One of the most prominent risks of consuming aluminum pieces is the possibility of gastric or intestinal perforation. This event will cause internal bleeding and allow the absorption of all types of pathogens and toxins into the dog’s blood flow. 

Additionally, there is one more critical risk that the aluminum parts will impose on your dog’s health. That is the risk of getting infected with Clostridium perfringens, which is a very malicious bacteria found on some surfaces and mostly on metal objects. The swallowing of aluminum metal is basically a one-way ticket for this bacteria into your dog’s body. 

Therefore, apart from the mechanical damages that the aluminum can impose on your dog’s intestinal tract, it also causes infectious risks, which might eventually lead to death. Basically, clostridium perfringens can secrete some deadly toxins that can pass into the circulation system through open wounds and cause complete paralysis of your dog’s nervous system. For this reason, aluminum pieces can be really harmful to your dog’s health, and their effects cannot be easily eliminated and may cause damage in the long term if not treated properly. 

Can Dogs Digest an Aluminum Can?

Generally, your dog’s digestive tract cannot digest any foreign object, especially bits and pieces of metals. This is basically because it lacks the specific enzymes that can break down these materials. For this reason, if your dog swallows any metal objects, it might either be successfully excreted out with the feces or cause an intestinal obstruction, leading to further complications. 

So, in general, it is practically impossible for your dog to digest the pieces of aluminum that he swallowed. Still, he might be able to get rid of them through excretion. So if you would like to aid your dog with getting rid of this foreign material, you can add some specific kinds of food into his diet to help with the elimination process. These foods include things like vegetables, fruits, or any dog foods that contain high fiber, facilitating the passage of this material. 

So if you ever noticed that your dog swallowed bits of aluminum can be sure that his digestive system won’t be able to handle it. And luckily enough, the digestive system won’t be able to absorb toxins from this foreign material either, which provides us with an advantage. Overall your dog’s gastrointestinal tract won’t digest this metal, but it might be able to eventually eliminate it. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Can?

The moment you realize that your dog has swallowed any bits of aluminum or any other kind of metal, get him to an immediate medical facility. As this kind of object can easily impose danger on your dog’s life, you might want to get him to a veterinarian straight away. If immediate medical aid cannot be reached, you can perform a primary emergency approach by yourself. 

The first thing that you would want to check is the signs of any choking or abnormal breathing. Your dog might have pieces of metal stuck in his pharynx, or he even might have inhaled some bits into his lungs. So if you visualize any choking, try to eliminate any pieces of aluminum from his throat as an emergency course of action. If there are no signs of choking, the metal parts might have directly passed into the intestinal tract, and you probably should contact a vet immediately. 

Another thing you might want to do is remove any metal, plastic, or foam objects away from your dog’s reach, as he might also want to chew on them as well. These objects might include bottle caps, yarn, or even a cork. So just be careful about the presence of any dangerous objects in front of your dog that might impose a risk on his life. 


After all, this behavior that your dog might have can be really frustrating and hard to control, especially if your dog tries to eat anything that comes in his way. Unfortunately, it might lead to severe injuries and pathogenic effects on your dog’s life, and in some extreme cases, it might eventually lead to your dog’s death. For this reason, you can try to find the original cause of this behavior and try to deal with that first before trying to remove every harmful object away from your pet’s sight. So if your dog by any chance swallowed an aluminum can, try to figure out the original cause of this action and work on fixing it so that you wouldn’t have to deal with the terrible effects of this behavior.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!