If you own a dog at home, you probably know the things you have to deal with. Dogs are loyal, fun to be around, and beautiful pet companions. But they can also create problems like digging, making a mess, breaking things in the house, and of course, chewing things up. Dogs love to chew things, especially when they are in the puppy stage and the teeth start to grow.
Scavenging is a trait found in dogs, and this nature makes them find anything to chew on, including plastic materials. However, they usually don’t chew plastic unless they smell something in it. But if they do, they often end up swallowing bits of the plastic or maybe even the whole thing! That is when things start to cause trouble for the dog and need your attention. So here is everything you need to know about dogs swallowing plastic.
Dog Ate Plastic Bag – A Complete Guide
Dogs swallowing plastic is a common problem faced by many dog owners. You can’t always prevent them because scavenging is an inherent trait found in dogs. Even though you try your best to keep an eye on them, chances are, you miss them on the act, and they end up chewing things up. If your dog swallows plastic, the consequences can vary from none to severe.
In many cases, swallowed plastic passes through the digestive tract without causing any problem for the dog. But if the plastic is sharp, pointy, or big, it can create severe bowel disorders, internal bleeding, and swelling. Dogs are known for their solid digestive acids. Unfortunately, plastic is one material they cannot digest as well.
But why do dogs like to chew on things like plastic? It is a little strange, but there are several reasons. In case you didn’t know, chewing is a habit found in all dogs. They will chew on almost anything they can find. That is why pet shops sell chew toys that are safe and with no harmful chemicals.
Dogs also randomly chew on stuff when they get bored and have nothing to do. So it is a way of amusing themselves. You must have noticed your dog grabbing something on the mouth even while sitting down or casually walking around the house.
Some dogs love to chew due to obsessive behaviors developed because of depression or anxiety. It usually happens due to separation from family and being left isolated.
Teething is perhaps the most common factor why your dog loves to chew plastic. When puppies start developing their teeth, they will chew on anything they can find. That is why providing them with safe chew toys is crucial during this stage.
The last probable reason why dogs swallow plastic is due to hunger. Some dogs like the Labrador are heavy eaters, and if you don’t feed them well, you can expect them to swallow objects or chew things up.
What to do if your dog swallowed plastic
If your dog has swallowed plastic, you should act on it quickly because the conditions can vary. The first thing you can do is to call and consult the vet. You will receive first-hand information on how to monitor the dog and what to do about it. Depending on the situation, the vet will decide whether you need to
come to the clinic. But it is worth mentioning that inducing the dog to vomit by itself is not an excellent way to deal with the situation.
Typically, the vet will tell you to keep the dog under observation for the next 24 hours. In the meantime, you can also avoid feeding the dog so that it doesn’t clog up the stomach and keep an eye on the pooping pattern. If the dog behaves, as usual, it should be fine. But more symptoms show up; the best advice is to take it to the clinic and have it checked by the vet.
How to prevent dogs from chewing plastic?
So how can you stop or prevent your dog from chewing plastic? The most effective solution is to give them chew toys. There are plenty of chew toys available in the market, and it is an excellent way to prevent our dog from chewing harmful objects. These chew toys are robust and do not tear up easily no matter how hard they chew. The only thing to remember is to get the right size for your dog. Bigger dogs require bigger chew toys because smaller ones tend to break after some time.
Try not to keep any food trash and empty food containers near the dog. Dogs love food and can pick up a scent quickly. Even if the container is empty, they will probably start licking and chew it up.
Some dogs have compulsive behavior for chewing things up. In this case, you should take professional help and advice and give the dog some special training for decreasing anxiety problems.
What Happens If A Dog Eats A Plastic Bag?
Plastic is not a biodegradable material. Hence, if your dog swallows it, the stomach cannot process it. Therefore, it blocks the natural flow of the intestines and blocks other food from passing through. There are scenarios where small bits of plastic pass through the intestines without causing any harm to the dog. But that is the best-case scenario that may or may not happen. So it’s always good to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so that you can handle the situation better.
Whether the dog swallowed a whole toy or bits and pieces of plastic, the stomach problem is the first common problem it encounters. However, that is not the only thing you should be concerned about. Depending on the type of material, plastic can also have sharp or pointy edges. In more severe cases, this can get lodged in the intestines and cause swelling or inflammation. Additionally, sharp plastic pieces can also cause cuts in the mouth or throat and even choke them out.
The first thing is to visit the vet. Typically, an X-ray determines the severity of the situation and the size of the plastic. But the treatments vary depending on the location of the plastic. The plastic can get stuck on the mouth, throat, stomach, or intestines. Depending on the case, the vet will decide if it needs surgery.
Symptoms of Plastic Swallowing
As mentioned earlier, plastic is not ideal for swallowing, and it can have consequences. The worst-case scenario is a stomach problem for the dog. However, the dog could have chewed and eaten without you noticing it, and you could dismiss some of the dog’s issues for something else. That is why the signs and symptoms of plastic swallowing are crucial. Here is a list of them.
1. Pooping problems
The first thing you probably notice is how frequently your dog poops. If the dog starts to show discomfort while pooping or stopped pooping, that is a sign of concern. Chances are, it has an intestinal blockage and swallowing an object, possibly a plastic.
2. Loose stool
On the contrary, if you notice your dog with diarrhea and abnormal poop, it is another sign of stomach discomfort. You could dismiss it for something else, but it is one of the signs that the dog has swallowed plastic. In this case, it could be due to the small plastic pieces that it consumed.
Vomiting is another symptom of plastic swallowing. Most people think that it is due to some bacterial infection, but if the dog swallows plastic, you will notice that it vomits frequently.
4. Appetite loss
Plastic in the stomach is not suitable, and it disrupts the normal flow of the digestive system. Hence, the dog starts to lose appetite. So if you notice your dog stopped eating, it probably has a piece of plastic inside that’s causing the appetite loss.
5. Abdominal pain
In more severe cases, the dog may exhibit abdominal pain by whining and getting more restless. If the plastic causes an internal puncture, it can lead to other extreme conditions like fever and bleeding.
6. Lazy movement
If something is disturbing the dog, you will notice it from the way it moves. Generally, dogs exhibit lethargic movements if they swallowed a piece of plastic. If you see anything like this, take the dog to a vet and have it checked.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats A Plastic Bag?
So your dog chewed on some plastic and then swallowed it? Don’t panic because there are ways to handle the situation. Once you identify the symptoms, here is what you can do.
1. Stop them on the act.
The first step is to stop your dog from chewing further. It prevents the dog from swallowing more plastic, and you can determine how much the dog ate. Typically, you will know from the chewed portion of the material and the bits and pieces lying around. It is worth mentioning that plastic can be anything; a ball, plastic bag, medicine bottle, plastic with toxic paint, etc. That is why always read the contents of the chewed material.
2. Keep an eye on the dog.
If your dog has swallowed r chewed plastic, the best way to approach the situation is by monitoring its behavior. It will show signs of discomfort, vomit, or become idle. You can start by checking the teeth and mouth to see if there are plastic bits. You will know if the dog chewed or swallowed anything.
3. Take the dog to the vet.
Getting professional help is the best advice. So if you know your dog swallowed plastic or notice any of the symptoms, take it to a vet and have them checked. The vet will run all relevant tests and, depending on the condition, will suggest the treatment.
Dog Ate Sandwich Bag?
As funny as it sounds, yes, dogs can eat a sandwich bag! But the thing is, they swallow it for other reasons, and one of the reasons is probably you. You just got back home, and you brought a packet of sandwiches and kept it on the couch. Next thing you know, it’s gone, and the dog thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and you realize that parts of the bag are missing.
Dogs swallow sandwich bags accidentally when they eat the food in the bag. However, it does not often lead to severe problems, and the dog recovers on its own. In fact, without any treatment, the plastic passes through the stool. But if the dog swallowed a big chunk of it, you probably should consult the vet. Surgical removals are rare for plastic bag swallowing. So the vet will most likely perform an endoscope examination and take further steps. In any case, your dog swallowing a sandwich bag should not be a serious deal.
Can Dogs Digest Plastic?
By default, plastics are not biodegradable. That is why dogs can’t digest plastics if they swallow. It doesn’t break down and passes through the digestive system in its original form. Smaller pieces of plastic typically do not cause any health problems for the dog. But if the dog swallowed a large portion, there is every possibility of intestinal blockage and can prevent the dog from pooping.
The undigested piece of plastic can also cause severe damage if it has a sharp edge. It can cause swelling and cuts, which can lead to life-threatening conditions for the dog.
Trying to stop dogs from chewing is an impossible task. Even if you do your best to keep an eye on them, they will always find a way to grab things and go unnoticed. That is why the best measure you can take is prevention. Keeping your surroundings free of plastic materials near the dog is a great start. Additionally, buying them chewy toys is an excellent way of keeping them occupied. As long as they have something to do, dogs don’t go out of their way grabbing things and chewing them up.
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