My Dog Ate Clay – What Should I Do?

Dogs are famous for snacking on all the wrong things. From chewing pens to munching on poop, dogs can eat the weirdest things. An example of an inedible object that dogs sometimes get in their mouths is clay. 

We often find ourselves imagining the worst when our canine companions eat something unusual and for good reason too. A lot could go wrong if your pooch gets the wrong items in its body, and it’s hard to know what can poison your little one. Your companion could get sick, have diarrhea and develop different complexities just from eating the wrong thing. However, you need to keep your mind calm in such cases because you need a clear mind to make the right decisions.

In this write-up, we are going to discuss what happens when your dog eats clay and what you should do in such situations. Be it modeling clay, polymer clay, or air-dry clay; we’ve got all the answers to your clay questions. So sit back and relax.

What Happens if A Dog Eats Modeling Clay?

What happens after your dog has ingested modeling clay depends on how much was eaten, your dog’s size, and the brand of modeling clay. Other than mild gastrointestinal upset, there might be no serious clinical signs if your dog consumes little amount of modeling clay. Eventually, your dog will pass the clay out in his stool. If the amount ingested is large, the effects can be more serious, and the digestive system can treat the ingested clay as a foreign body, thereby triggering an immune response.

If the modeling clay piece is glazed, it might be more harmful to your dog, depending on the ingredients that make up the glaze. Most times, glazes are composed of heavy metals (e.g., lead and cadmium) and solvents which can be toxic to the body. Therefore, if your dog consumes glazed modeling clay in large quantities, it can result in severe symptoms due to poisoning. Symptoms of poisoning to look out for are excess drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal cramps, tremors, seizures, and others.

In other cases, the clay might become an obstruction in the intestinal tract and make your dog constipated. A blocked bowel is not only uncomfortable but unhealthy. More than an obstruction, the intestinal walls can become inflamed and cause a lot of issues for your pooch. Although most modeling clay is labeled as non-toxic, it is unsafe for your pet to ingest it as it is high in salt and can lead to salt poisoning.

What Happens if My Dog Eats Air-Dry Clay?

Air-dry clay can either be made from natural materials or polymeric compounds. None of these ingredients are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system. When your dog eats air-dry clay, there could be a gastrointestinal blockage, allergic reactions, and different symptoms depending on the age and size of the dog and the amount of clay eaten.

The amount of air-dry clay ingested relative to your dog’s size is the first thing to take into account in this situation. You can determine this by looking at what amount of clay you have left if you know how much clay you had before your dog ate from it. If your dog eats a small amount of clay, it might only suffer mild gastrointestinal upset or nausea for about one or two days. The gastrointestinal upset might be a result of a difficulty in passing out the ingested clay. 

On the other hand, a large amount of air-dry clay can block the gastrointestinal tract making it difficult to swallow and digest other things. Your veterinarian can help determine if the amount of clay ingested is to be considered small or large relative to your pet’s size. If the amount of clay is large, your pet might be induced to vomit. This isn’t the most pleasant experience for your pet, but it is needed.

What Happens if My Dog Eats Polymer Clay?

Oftentimes, your fur baby might be unable to differentiate between a toy and polymer clay that is molded into shapes. Of course, clay isn’t meant for consumption, and you should expect the body to respond to this strange material. In excess, polymer clay is harmful to dogs because it is made up of chemicals that shouldn’t be consumed. If your dog has eaten a large quantity of the clay, his gastrointestinal tract will definitely react negatively to it.

Dogs have a shorter gastrointestinal tract relative to humans, and this helps them to pass out ingested materials more quickly. If your dog has only ingested a small quantity of polymer clay, you shouldn’t worry about this; he should be fine as soon as he’s able to poop. If you notice that your dog is unable to poop, take him to the vet. The vet can induce defecation using certain laxatives.

If you consider the quantity of clay that was consumed to be large, then you might need to induce vomiting. This is because the consumed clay can plug the intestinal tract resulting in more extreme symptoms like constipation, clear or bloody stools, abdominal pain, and gastroenteritis. You should always ask your veterinarian before making your dog throw up.

Is Polymer, Modeling, or Air Dry Clay Toxic to Dogs?

Although most of these clay products are labeled as non-toxic, they should not be ingested. When used as toys and for household items, clay isn’t dangerous for our companions. Depending on the quality of the clay, some clay creates dust that is unhealthy for the lungs. However, most issues arise only when this clay is ingested. 

There are different clay types. For example, homemade modeling clay is usually saltier, and this high salt concentration can cause salt poisoning in your dog. Therefore, the specific type of clay should be put into consideration as they may contain ingredients that carry peculiar features.

Air dry clay can also cause gastrointestinal issues that can be quite serious if the clay has hardened before your dog ate it. Air-dry clay generally can harden on its own if it is exposed to air for too long. Furthermore, you could also see your dog showing more extreme symptoms than you would normally expect when it eats any of these clay types if he was already dealing with an underlying digestive problem.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Polymer Clay?

The first thing to do as soon as you discover your dog has consumed clay is to pay closer attention to him. Sometimes, you might not see any observable symptoms in your dog after he has consumed polymer clay, and that is great. You should contact your veterinarian and tell the doctor what is going on. Depending on the amount of clay swallowed, your veterinarian can direct you along the next line of action.

Your veterinarian will help you determine if your dog needs immediate clinical intervention or if it’s something that you can handle yourself. If your veterinarian considers the situation to be mild, they might ask you to induce vomiting or stooling to get rid of the clay. If you follow their professional advice, your dog should be in perfect condition in a few hours.

Inducing vomiting should only be done if your veterinarian instructs you to. The most common method for getting your dog to puke remains the use of hydrogen peroxide. It is important to administer the right quantity based on your dog’s weight, but you must never give more than three tablespoons. After your pet throws up, he should be examined for any other symptoms.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Modeling Clay?

If your dog eats modeling clay, don’t panic. Since salt is one of the major components of modeling clay, your first action should be to prevent toxicity by getting your dog to drink lots of water. Observe your dog carefully and if you see any abnormal symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or breathing issues, take him to the vet clinic. If your pet has consumed a lot of modeling clay, contact your vet and follow his instructions.

If too much modeling clay is swallowed, it can cause an increase in the salt quantity in your dog’s body. Unfortunately, dogs are pretty sensitive to salt levels. Give your little one plenty of water to dilute the excess salt in the body and prevent toxicity.

As with any medical case, the best person to talk to is the medical practitioner. If your pet swallows modeling clay, call up the veterinary clinic. Tell them all the symptoms that your canine is exhibiting and clearly (and calmly) explain the situation to them. They will give you the best advice.

What Should I Do if My Dog Eats Air-Dry Clay?

If your dog swallows air-dry clay, you should try to induce vomiting within an hour or 2 of ingestion using hydrogen peroxide. This should be done under the direction of a veterinarian. Keep a close eye on your canine after he throws up and if you notice anything weird, call your veterinarian. If your dog doesn’t throw up at home, get him to the emergency room.

Note the amount of clay that your dog ate. If it was a great deal, the best thing would be to rush him to the vet clinic, where they will respond to him appropriately. There, they will be able to determine how severe your pet’s case is and give proper treatment. If all else fails, your vet might propose a foreign body removal surgery.

Some dogs may develop an allergic reaction after eating air-dry clay. If you notice that your pet is breathing very hard and his throat is swelling, get to the vet clinic as soon as possible. Depending on how critical the allergic reaction is, the doctor might prescribe an antihistamine or adrenaline. 


Although your dog eating clay might scare the bejesus out of you, things are not as bad as they look. In most cases, dogs end up vomiting or pooping out 90% of the inedible things that they eat. Talk to your veterinarian about the right treatment option and follow the given instructions. Keep your clay away from your companion and hope for the best.


  • 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!