My Dog Ate My Retainer When I Wasn’t Looking!

Have you stopped to wonder why your dog eats certain things? It is quite puzzling to a new pet owner, especially when some of these items don’t seem to have a distinct smell, like a screw. There are many theories about the inappropriate desire to eat anything, and they will fascinate you. A retainer is a strange item to eat, isn’t it?

We bet it’s even gross thinking about it, so you’re probably wondering why your pet ate your retainer and, more importantly, what you should do in that situation. This is strange, by the way, but you should reach out to your dentist to make plans to create a new retainer so that the improvements to your teeth don’t come undone because of Fido’s wandering paws. Best believe that dogs eating retainers is a prevalent complaint among pet owners.

A retainer is made of plastic and metal parts, foreign objects that can do significant damage to a dog’s inner system. Therefore, if your pet ate your retainer when you weren’t looking, he may be exposed to some health risks. Do you see the pieces lying around? Check if any significant chunk is missing, and keep reading to discover what to do if you suspect your pet has swallowed your retainer.

Why Do Dogs Chew up And Eat Retainers? 

Dogs chew up and eat retainers because they smell like food. That is the straight and short answer. Did you know that the sense of smell of a dog is ten times more heightened than yours? This is why it is not surprising that a canine will smell the food and tasty treats you have eaten on your retainer, even though you clean this item every time you brush your teeth. 

Another reason your dog may chew up and eat your retainer is that it smells like you. Notice how pets are attracted to the strangest items – a bottle cap, your underwear, sock, hair brush, and even the remote! They have a strong sense of smell that allows them to pick up your lingering scent, and when your pet misses you, he may be inclined to explore that item that can temporarily stand in as you. Coupled with the lingering smell of food, this may be one temptation your pet will be unable to resist.

Finally, dogs chew retainers for many other reasons, most of them emotional. For instance, boredom may drive your pet to explore what smells so great and is coming from the case by the nightstand. Because even when you clean your retainer and put it in the case, Fido will still perceive the smell. Anxiety is another reason your dog may chew up and eat retainers – that is what’s available for him to unleash his emotions on. 

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Retainer? 

Remain calm; that’s what is most important. If the retainer is chewed up, you need to determine whether your pet swallowed some pieces or merely destroyed the item. If there are missing pieces, it may indicate that Fido ate them, which may be dangerous. While chewing up the retainer, check if any of the plastic parts punctured his mouth and tongue so that you can treat it to prevent an infection. 

If you genuinely believe Fido swallowed the pieces of the retainer, you can keep the vet’s number on speed dial. Observe your pet pending the time – you are checking him for abnormal signs that indicate any blockage of the throat or intestines because foreign objects are notorious for creating obstructions in a dog’s body. Typically, your dog should pass foreign objects smaller than his digestive tract within ten to twenty-four hours, so you want to monitor your pet’s poop to see if the piece or pieces are out.

But peradventure you find nothing, keep checking for the next two days while observing your pet for signs that he is experiencing any internal discomfort. This may indicate that something is caught somewhere it shouldn’t be, and the vet will need to get involved. Give your dog foods rich in fiber so digestion will be easier, and the pieces will come out fluidly. 

Can a Dog Digest a Retainer? 

No, a dog cannot digest a retainer. A dog’s system has evolved to digest food and not materials harder than its usual pliable texture, even though stomach acids and the acids in the large intestine are strong enough to surprise you sometimes. However, given the strength of a retainer, your pet will pass it out as poop. 

Let us not forget that a retainer may also have metal parts, which even the canine digestive system cannot break down. All things being equal, and, in your favor, it will slide right through the digestive organs and come out of the rectum. But it may also get stuck and will need to be removed.

The plastic used to make retainers is too strong for dogs to digest, so it should slip right out. Provide the proper diet and ensure there is enough water for your pet. You should also inspect his poop for the pieces for the next three days. 


Your dog ate your retainer? Unfortunately, that is common because of the two significant smells your pet picks up from this dental item. If you don’t keep it out of Fido’s reach, he will continue to eat your retainers because they smell like you and food.


  • 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!