When it comes to dogs, there are not many things they would not taste – from dirt and rocks to paper and cloths. But what happens when a dog eats a squeaky plastic toy?
Help, my dog ate plastic squeaker – now what? If your dog ate a plastic squeaker, check its mouth but do not try to remove it unless it is near. If the squeaker is already swallowed, the first thing you need to do is call the vet. It is critical not to induce vomiting and follow the vet’s instructions promptly and carefully.
In this article, we will talk about the dogs’ tendency to eat plastic and what you can expect from the scenario. We will give tips on when to call the vet and how to prevent future incidents.
WHAT DO I DO IF MY DOG SWALLOWED A PLASTIC SQUEAKER?
For experienced dog owners witnessing their dogs eating a plastic toy or any other inedible item is not an unusual situation. However, if you are a first-time dog parent and you have never dealt with such a scenario, chances are you will be confused. To make things simpler, we have compiled this list of easy-to-follow steps.
Step number 1: Do not panic
First things first, as hard as it seems, it is of paramount importance to stay calm and think clearly. Dogs are natural emotional sponges and can pick up emotions really quickly. Therefore, if you are panicking, your dog will start to feel uncomfortable, thus making the bad situation even worse.
Plus, if you are in a panic, you are less likely to think clearly, and depending on the circumstances being rational and calm can be life-saving. This is particularly true when your dog starts choking on the squeaker, and you need to perform the Heimlich maneuver.
It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the Heimlich maneuver before you become a dog parent. Choking is a life-threatening emergency and requires urgent help. In general, the maneuver is identical, but there are some modifications based on the dog’s size.
Step number 2: Check your dog’s mouth
If you catch your dog in the middle of the squeaker-eating act, you need to check its mouth and see whether the item is already swallowed or not. This step is not something you can do on every dog. Hopefully, your dog does not mind having its mouth manipulated and will allow you to make a simple inspection.
Once you open your dog’s mouth, take a good look. If the squeaker is not swollen yet, use your fingers to remove it. However, if the squeaker is still visible but at the root of the tongue, do not attempt to remove it.
In such cases, trying to fish the squeaker out literally can do more harm than good – you can either push it further down or, worst-case scenario, make the squeaker end up in the wrong pipe and cause choking.
Step number 3: Call your trusted veterinarian
If the squeaker is long gone, it is time you call the vet and explain the situation. In most cases, the veterinarian will recommend you observe your dog for a specific time frame and report any unusual occurrences.
Generally speaking, the vet will decide whether to wait and see if the dog passes the squeaker naturally or have it checked in the clinic based on several factors, including the dog’s size and breed, the squeaker’s size and shape, and the overall health status of the dog.
If the dog is not showing any signs of trouble, the vet will suggest waiting for the natural processes to kick in. On the other hand, if there are abnormal clinical signs or the dog is a miniature or toy breed member, the vet will recommend an urgent trip to his/her office.
Step number 4: Do not induce vomiting
Unless instructed by your vet, the general rule of the thumb is not to induce vomiting. There are two main reasons why vomiting is not the first option when dealing with a swallowed squeaker.
First, vomiting is beneficial only when the item is ingested within the past two hours. Second, some items can cause more damage on their journey back from the stomach to the mouth. Usually, squeakers are rounded or cylindrical and smooth, so they are unlikely to cause harm, but still, there is a slight risk they can be shaped otherwise.
Even in cases, vomiting is instructed, it is best to ask the vet to perform the procedure in the office. Seeing your dog retch and vomit is scarier and can make you more panicked than you should be.
Step number 5: Special diet and exercise regimen
This step applies when the dog is not showing any clinical signs, and the vet recommends the “wait and see” approach. Basically, there are two things you can do to help the squeaker’s passage through the intestines.
The first thing is the diet. Feeding your dog a bland diet will add bulk to the feces and make the squeaker’s trip more manageable and smoother. The most popular bland diet choice is a mixture of 75% plain and boiled white rice and 25% plain and cooked chicken, turkey, or beef. Alternatively, you can also make the feces bulkier by adding unsweetened pumpkin puree, psyllium husk, or wheat bread to the meal.
The second thing is the exercise regimen. In theory, the faster the intestines work or move, the quicker the squeaker will be removed via the feces. Physical activity is known for its ability to impact intestinal motility positively. In this case, when we say physical activity, we do not refer to strenuous exercises – frequent walks are likely to do the trick.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG SWALLOWED THE PLASTIC SQUEAKER?
If your dog has swollen a squeaker and the item is starting to cause problems, you will be able to notice changes in your dog’s overall health. The most commonly reported signs and symptoms indicative of foreign object ingestion and obstruction include:
- Vomiting (undigested food or foam)
- Frequent pawing at the mouth
- Hacking up or choking
- Excessive drooling
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy and disinterest in everyday activities
- Abdominal pain and/or bloating.
If your dog shows one or more of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, visiting the vet is mandatory. The vet will examine the dog and determine the right set of actions based on its overall condition. Removing the squeaker can be tricky, but it is the only choice in cases of gastrointestinal obstructions.
Depending on the dog’s health and the squeaker’s size and exact position within the gastrointestinal tract, the vet may decide to take it out using a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure or via old-fashioned surgery.
HOW CAN I STOP MY DOG FROM EATING PLASTIC SQUEAKERS?
This may sound harsh, but if your dog is prone to eating plastic squeakers, the best thing you can do is avoid such toys. Dogs that are keen chewers and capable of devouring plastic toys should not be allowed to play, at least not when unsupervised.
Luckily, the modern pet marker offers a variety of different dog toys, and some are sturdier than others. Our advice is to invest in several high-quality and as indestructible as possible toys. Having few safe toys is much better than having dozens of potentially troublesome toys.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR PLASTIC TO PASS THROUGH A DOG?
The time a plastic squeaker needs to pass through a dog depends on various factors, including the dog’s and the squeaker’s size. In the best-case scenario, if a larger dog eats a smaller squeaker, you can expect to pass through the digestive system between 10 and 24 hours.
However, not every dog is capable of pooping the squeaker out. When a small dog ingests a rather sizeable squeaker, there is a big chance the item will get stuck and cause gastrointestinal blockage. The chances of the squeaker causing problems are also serious in cases when the dog eats other parts of the toy as well. Sometimes, the plastic squeaker will be eliminated after several days, and other times it will have to be surgically removed.
Simply put, when it comes to plastic toy squeakers, the general prognosis is good. Namely, most dogs can pass the squeaker because the item used in dog toys is relatively small, rounded, and smooth.
SUMMING UP: DOGS EATING PLASTIC TOY SQUEAKERS
Dogs are prone to eating just about anything, including plastic toy squeakers. If you bought a new toy that was going “squeak, squeak, squeak” all the time and now it is suddenly silent, chances are your dog took care and ate the squeaker.
Luckily, most plastic squeakers take a non-complicated trip through the dog’s digestive system and are eliminated via the feces. This is because they are usually small, smooth, and rounded. However, this scenario is not always the outcome. Therefore, if your dog ate a plastic squeaker, we recommend calling your vet and following the instructions.