My Dog Ate A Screw! What do I do?

One of the heart-wrenching experiences for every dog owner is finding out your dog ate a screw. Like a toddler, dogs love putting everything they find lying around into their mouth. We can’t blame our furry friends for putting a screw in their mouths since they don’t have the intellectual capacity to differentiate between harmful and beneficial materials.

Moreover, dog owners have the responsibility of monitoring what goes into the mouth of their dogs. The consequences of swallowing a screw by a dog can sometimes be fatal if nothing urgent is done. Screws are made of metal; this can be toxic to your dog’s system. Apart from it being toxic, there is also a risk of intestinal obstruction being caused by the screw.

It’s difficult to know if a pooch has ingested a screw, but paying close attention to the symptoms shown by your dog can provide you with some evidence. This article will consider in detail what happens if a dog swallows a screw and how long it takes a dog to pass a screw. Furthermore, we’ll also consider what you can do to prevent your dog from eating a screw. Without much ado, let’s dig in!

What Happens if A Dog Eats a Screw?

A dog eating a screw can be fatal; the common symptoms that happen after this occurrence are vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and belly pain. While the screw is lodged in the stomach of your dog, it will experience extreme fatigue and loss of appetite. If toxicity occurs, there will be a worsening in symptoms.

The key to treating this occurrence in your pooch is to get rid of the screw before it gets to the intestines. One of the ways is by inducing vomiting in your canine. However, we don’t recommend this without the supervision of your vet. If your dog swallows a screw, the best option is to take it to the emergency room. Your pooch will likely be given medications by the vet to induce vomiting.

If you can’t make it down to the emergency room, put a call across to the Animal Poison Control Hotline for you to get all the necessary help. It’s quite dangerous for you to wait for your canine to pass the screw all by itself. If something urgent is not done, the more fatal the situation becomes.

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Pass a Screw?

On average, It takes about 11-24 hours for a dog to pass an ingested screw. If there is no intestinal blockage, the screw will keep moving along the digestive tract. However, if there is a partial or a total blockage, your dog will start experiencing a series of symptoms.

The bigger the object, the longer it takes for it to completely go through the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, if the screw ingested by your canine is tiny, it may pass out with feces in approximately 10 hours. However, if the screw is big, it will take at least one whole day for the screw to pass. In some cases, foreign objects may take weeks in the digestive tract of a dog, causing little to no symptoms!

Furthermore, if your pup is not getting better hours after ingesting a screw or the symptoms appear to be worsening, call your vet immediately. Radiological imaging (x-ray) will likely be carried out to know where the screw is lodged. If the screw is causing the intestinal blockage, emergency surgery will be done to get rid of the screw. But if your pooch is only showing mild symptoms, the vet would likely induce vomiting or place your pooch on a high fiber diet.

Should I Worry if My Dog Ate a Screw?

Yes. You should worry if your dog ate a screw. Screws are metallic objects which are harmful to our four-legged furry friends. There’s a great risk of stomach acids interacting with a metallic screw to produce some unwanted effects. If your canine ate a screw, call your vet on what to do!

The pointed edge of a screw can at times pierce the digestive tract of a dog, causing mild intestinal bleeding. So, always watch out for the belly size of your dog after ingesting a screw. A bloated stomach can indicate intestinal bleeding. Another symptom that should get you worried is vomiting and diarrhea. Excessive vomiting and diarrhea by your canine after ingesting a screw will ultimately lead to dehydration.

On the other hand, if your dog is big and the screw ingested is small, the screw might pass without any problem. However, if your dog starts showing all the above symptoms, it’s a sign of an intestinal blockage which should get you pretty worried. Do not try treating your dog by yourself, but take him to the emergency room instead. If your pooch is not showing any symptoms, there is no need to take it to the emergency room.

What Should I Do if My Dog Ate a Screw?

You are left with two options —you can either take your dog to the emergency room or start bulking up its food by giving it high-fiber food. A high fiber food will assist the dog in passing out the screw without much fuss. After your dog ingests a screw, ensure you keep an eye on him.

Some experts recommend giving foods like mashed potatoes and cottage cheese to your dog after it ingests a screw. This kind of food would help the screw gel into a semi-liquid substance, thereby helping it to pass. This method is not reliable. There is no guarantee the screw would pass along with feces.

The safest option is to take your canine to the emergency room. The vet would carry out some diagnostic procedures to determine the location of the screw and the extent of the damage. In the worst-case scenario, the vet would have to carry out a surgical procedure to dislodge the screw.


Dogs are special kinds of pets. You need to do more for your dog by protecting it. Moreover, prevention is better than cure. Making sure your dog doesn’t eat a screw in the first place is the safest option. Make sure you get rid of any objects like screws, tape, napkins, and many more objects that might be lying carelessly on the floor of your home. The chances of your passing a screw are quite high if it’s a large dog as opposed to a small dog.


  • 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!