So Your Dog Ate a Toy

November 29, 2022

My Dog Ate Toy Stuffing

Dog toys are the best friends to our canine friends, other than you, of course. Though nothing comes without a downside and dog toys are no different. Dogs eating toys are common and every responsible dog owner should be well prepared for the situation.

There are two ways this scenario can take place; swallowed whole or ingested in smaller chips and pieces. Both scenarios are just as terrible for your pooch and they present different approaches one must take to tackle them.

If your dog ate a toy whole, it can lead to serious problems like choking. It can also create blockage in your dog’s digestive tract and cause a wide range of health issues. Although the latter can be less of a concern when compared to your dog’s inability to breathe, it still needs to be dealt with promptly. If a dog swallowed a squeaker, it could perforate the inner lining of the canine’s intestine or cause other internal damage as it usually forms sharp edges when torn.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Toy

The best approach to the issue is to contact your family vet and arrange a visit as soon as you possibly can. Be ready and make sure you have information about the swallowed toy as it can be very helpful to your vet in diagnosing the severity of the issue. Material, size, weight, manufacturer, and place of purchase are the most essential.

It is good practice to take pictures of your newly bought toys and their labels every time you buy a new one. Make sure the information in the pictures is readable and store them in a dedicated album on your smartphone. If your dog swallows a squeaker or other toy pieces, you’ll have information ready for your vet should they need them.

Let’s break down the issue into two scenarios as we mentioned earlier; swallowed whole and ingestion of small pieces. One can obstruct breathing as well as the digestive tract while the other is more likely to cause internal damage.

Dogs Eating Toys Whole

Large dogs tend to experience this issue more than small dogs but it is equally harmful for dogs of all sizes. Whole toys are common choking hazards when compared to smaller chips and pieces.

If a dog ate squeakers whole, it doesn’t always choke on them. You’d be surprised at how many cases there are where dogs swallowed squeakers which then get stuck somewhere along their intestinal tracks.

Making assumptions after your dog swallowed a squeaker is simply irresponsible and would only risk your dog’s health. Get him or her an appointment with your family vet as soon as possible. They can take x-rays and may have other imaging devices to assess the potential blockage which is the only surefire way to resolve the issue.

If your dog has difficulty breathing, spasms and/or abnormal breathing sounds during your vet’s off-hours, still call your family vet immediately. Most veterinary clinics will have automated messages during their off hours to assist pet owners with emergencies.

If you already have a 24/7 pet emergency hospital number on your speed dial then contact them and attentively follow their instructions. Try as hard as you can to keep calm and contain your panic as it will help your dog by allowing the operator to do their job and tell you exactly what to do.

When it is necessary to drive your dog to the hospital, be extremely careful along the way as it will be a complete disaster if you get into a motor accident while on the way. You will lose valuable time, cause additional injuries, property damages, and possibly risk innocent lives.

My Dog Ate Toy Stuffing or Bits and Pieces of Toys

Both small and large dogs can experience this, but it is more likely among larger power chewers with enough bite force to slowly tear into very tough toys over time. Depending on the material, damage can range from waiting for your dog to poop out the bits to internal injuries that can lead to surgery.

Keep in mind that if your dog ate toy stuffing in many small chunks, those chunks could absorb your dog’s saliva and pose a serious choking hazard. In most cases, the dogs will swallow the fluff without issue though you should still contact your vet and proceed according to their advice.

Smaller-size debris may sometimes pose a much more significant risk of getting lodged inside your dog compared to a larger one. An X-ray is crucial to see exactly where it is located, the level of damage it has caused, and the proper procedure that needs to be taken.

One great example is when a dog ate squeaker that has been shredded into pieces. Each of those pieces poses different risks on their own. The toughness of each squeaker’s plastic also varies which can compound the issue as well. If possible, bring the torn squeaker or a similar one to your vet in case they would like to examine it.

Noticing your dog eating toys in small pieces is no easy task, especially when it happens in tiny chips at a time. Almost every owner misses it and sometimes only finds out about it when their dog begins to show symptoms. That is why routine dog toy maintenance and inspection is so important! Most dog toy labels will say this as a safety precaution and as a good reminder.

So as a dog toy safety precaution, remember to properly clean and inspect your dog toys after every play session. That’ll help you know right away if chunks are missing as long as you look carefully. If a piece is missing then it is likely swallowed, contacting your vet at this early stage is better than reacting to your dog’s negative symptoms down the line. At that point, you may be dealing with more detrimental issues to your dog’s wellbeing. It can also be a non-issue after your vet sees the picture of the toy and that is great news for you and your dog.

Be wary of certain bones, antlers, rawhides, and other hard dog toys that should not be given to dogs for chewing. These types of materials can form sharp and/or pointy edges when chipped or broken. This is a common issue for fowl or poultry bones. Your dog can easily break chicken and turkey bones, especially cooked ones. Those could be tiny chips and bits no longer than 1 centimeter and still pose the risk of intestinal damage.

What to Do If a Dog Swallowed a Squeaker or Other Toy Parts?

Watching your dog choke on a toy is very scary and stressful for any dog owner, but the first thing you must try to do is deal with that panic. The best way to get prepared is to think of dog emergencies in the exact same way that you do human emergencies.

Instead of 911, the first thing you should think of is your family veterinarian. Do not lose valuable time trying to deal with the situation on your own or go looking through search engines for emergency pet hospitals if you don’t already have that information. Make sure you already have all the necessary contacts and information before your dog ate toy stuffing for the first time. All that info should also be stored inside your pet emergency kit or dog first aid kit. See how you can make your own dog first aid kit here.

Preparing for When Your Dogs Eats a Toy

Preparation is essential in dealing with unfortunate situations and panic significantly decreases when your expectations are closer aligned with the real thing. Expect to panic and don’t think you will be able to function during the first few seconds after your dog starts choking. A panic response to trauma is natural but regaining composure is key and being prepared is a big part of that. You will be able to gather yourself much faster if you do weekly checks of your pet emergency kit. Doing so will remind you that emergencies can happen at any moment with the added benefit of knowing you are well prepared.

The kit should include first aid supplies that are kept in good quality without tears or damage to the packaging. Gauze and bandages will help you out greatly when the situation comes. Also, include a list of written contact numbers of your family vet and local pet emergency hospital. Phone batteries can run out, and your phone itself might not even be around. The list lets you make a call from any phone that is available.

Your dog’s medical records will be helpful when he or she has important pre-existing conditions, especially when visiting pet hospitals other than your vet’s. Having that information will allow the vets that are treating your dogs to provide timely treatments. This can include (but not limited to) blood profile, vaccination history, age and medications prescribed. They will be able to make proper judgements when caring for your precious dog.

Putting it All Together

A dog’s bite force matters a great deal where the chipping of a dog toy is concerned. If your dog can crack bones, it can crack plastic or vice versa. However, no matter the size of the dog, or the force of its bite, pieces of dog toys can break off at any time during play so be diligent and inspect the toys when you clean them after every play session.

It is also better to assume that your dog at a squeaker when it is missing from the toy. The alternative is to think that the squeaker was lost only to deal with a sick dog afterwards. Remember that if a dog ate toy chunks, it is not always a lethal situation. If it is small or soft enough and your dog does not display symptoms, continue to monitor your dog. It will likely pass through the digestive system, and you’ll see it in their poop the next day.

Make a habit of creating a photo catalogue on your phone of all dog toys you buy. Include post destruction photos to remind you which toys you have already tried and keep tabs of the type of toys that can be hazardous for your dog. Here at Chew Test, we review dog toys with these issues in mind to give you additional options for dog toys that best suit your dog type.

Softer materials that give in to your dog’s bite will be less likely to break off into smaller ingestible pieces. Rubber toys for example are fairly tear resistant, but keep in mind that they can still be torn into little chunks or shred when used over long periods of time as the rubber lose its elasticity with use.

An X-ray is the only way to know for sure where the swallowed dog toy is. Arrange a visit to your vet as soon as you can to get professional advice in any situation that has to do with swallowing of a toy.

If your dog ate squeaker or other foreign objects explore your local emergency options and contact them to discuss their policies. Also inquire about additional preparation measures. Write out those phone numbers as well as any helpful information and put them into your pet emergency kit.

Now you are initially prepared to deal dog eating toys. Contact your family vet for complete advice on general pet emergency situations and kits. No one knows your dog better than your vet!

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