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My Dog Ate Plastic! What Do I Do?

Key Takeaways

  • Plastic is one of the most harmful substances your dog can ingest because of the high chance of bowel obstruction among other risks.
  • Don’t hesitate to take your dog to the vet if he accidentally swallows plastic, especially if he is showing signs of pain, choking, gagging, vomiting, or inability to pass stools
  • Depending on the severity of the plastic ingestion, treatments may vary from induced vomiting, IV therapy, and surgery.

If your dog ate plastic, there is a risk for bowel obstruction, choking, and other gastrointestinal problems. Some dogs will pass the plastic with no issues, but if you notice unusual behaviors in your dog, it is crucial to take him to the vet.

Since plastic is pretty much everywhere in my home, I make sure to keep them away from my dogs. However, I’m aware that dogs can be strategically creative at being naughty, so it’s not too surprising that they sometimes get their paws on it. 

Let’s clear something up really quickly: Dogs should never ever consume plastic. When a dog eats plastic, bad things can happen. 

I’ve gathered important things you should know about in such situations. Here’s exactly what to do if your dog ate plastic. 

What Are The Symptoms that Your Dog Ate Plastic? 

Some dogs will pass the plastic after they’ve eaten it and have no effect on them. For others, worse things can happen especially to the dog’s stomach. If you are unsure whether or not your dog swallowed plastic, you’ll want to be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Lying in abnormal ways
  • Anxious behaviors
  • Constant crying
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Inability to pass stool

As a responsible dog owner, you’ll want to take your pup to the vet immediately if it exhibits any unusual behaviors. 

How To Quickly Respond To Your Pup’s Plastic Eating Incident 

Call A Vet Immediately 

As soon as you discover that your dog ate a plastic, you’ll want to contact a vet as soon as possible, especially if your dog is choking, gagging, or suffering from severe stomach pain. 

By responding to the incident extremely quickly, you’ll be able to reduce the chances of severe complications to your dog’s digestive tract or even death.  

Pro Tip: You should always call a vet, whether your dog just consumed plastic or it’s hours after the fact. A vet will be able to recommend a treatment plan. 

Remove Any Plastic From Your Pup’s Mouth

Before visiting a veterinarian clinic, a vet may calmly instruct you to remove any pieces of plastic from your dog’s mouth. 

By removing remnants of plastic that’s stuck between teeth or the back or roof of the mouth, you’ll prevent your pup from swallowing more plastic. 

Of course, if you don’t feel safe removing remnants of plastic from your pup’s mouth, you can just head straight to the vet. 

Pro Tip: Every dog owner should know how to perform life-saving first aid for pups. In order to be prepared for an emergency situation, make sure you learn how to perform the Heimlich maneuver and CPR on dogs. 

Figure Out What Type Of Plastic Your Pup Consumed 

Plastic inside a trash bin.

While you are driving to the veterinarian clinic, you’ll want to determine what type and how much plastic your pup ate so that a vet can quickly come up with an action plan. 

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself: Did you notice any small remnants of whatever your dog ate on the ground? Was there prepackaged food missing from the room, perhaps a sandwich bag or a plastic spoon? Where was your pet’s favorite dog toy? 

Figuring out the type of plastic that your dog ate might require some serious thinking, but a vet will definitely thank you later. 

Most Common Vet Treatments For Dogs Who Have Eaten Plastic 

Once you explain the type and size of plastic that your pup consumed, a vet will quickly suggest an appropriate treatment plan. These are the most common vet-approved treatment plans: 

Inducing Vomiting: Depending on the type and size of plastic that your dog consumed, a vet may give your pup a shot to regurgitate it. There are ways you can make a dog throw up at home, but do so only if instructed by the vet.

Intravenous Therapy: If your pup has an extremely good chance of passing the plastic, a vet may put it on IV fluids. In most cases, intravenous therapy will require hospitalization. Before it’s time to leave the hospital, a vet will probably perform an x-ray to ensure that there aren’t any pieces of plastic in your pup’s digestive tract. 

Surgery: As a last resort, a vet may suggest surgery to remove the plastic from your pup’s body. This is often done if a sharp plastic or a big mass of plastic gets stuck anywhere in the digestive tract. Once the surgery is complete, a vet will probably prescribe antibiotics to protect your pup from an infection. A vet may also suggest that your dog is pampered for a few days following the surgery. 

Why You Shouldn’t Treat Your Dog At Home 

A mistake that many dog owners make is handling a pup’s plastic-eating incident at home.

For instance, many dog owners may try to make their pup vomit, which is an extremely bad idea. If a dog owner doesn’t have the proper medical training, inducing vomit is really risky. 

According to many vets, making your dog vomit may not be an appropriate treatment because the plastic may obstruct the airway or cause intestinal injuries when vomited. As a result, a vet may not even suggest inducing vomit. 

If a vet does think that inducing vomiting at home is a good idea, you may be instructed to give your pup a little hydrogen peroxide. 

As with any doggie emergency, I advise you to consult with an experienced vet before treating your pup for plastic consumption at home. By doing so, you are giving your pup the best possible chance of a full recovery. 

Possible Health Risks Of Pups Consuming Plastic

As previously mentioned, it’s extremely important to act fast if your pup ingests plastic. Why? Pups who have consumed plastic may be at risk for the following health issues:

  • Choking
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Mouth injuries 
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Severe stomach pain

Will A Pup Die From Consuming Plastic? 

When your dog has eaten plastic, you probably can’t help but think that your four-legged friend might die from the incident. 

The sad reality is that a pup can pass away if it doesn’t receive vet treatment promptly. 

Such a pup who isn’t treated in a timely matter is likely to die of intestinal injuries, severe infections, and several other critical problems. 

Since a pup could die, it’s extremely imperative to take your dog to a vet immediately, regardless of the type or size of plastic that was swallowed. 

The Types Of Pups Who Eat Plastic 

After treating your pup, you probably want to know, “why would a dog eat plastic?” Let’s take a look at the types of dogs who eat strange things. 

Bored Dogs 

Dog on blue bed.

Most bored dogs engage in unwanted behaviors when they are not being entertained. If there are plastic items within reach, bored dogs will probably get their paws on them sooner or later. Give your dog chew toys to keep them entertained. 

Anxious Dogs

Many dogs who suffer from separation anxiety will chew anything and everything when their owners leave home. More often than not, anxious dogs will choose to chew on a plastic item that smells just like their human friend. By chewing on common household items, anxious pups are able to calm their nerves. 

Malnourished Dogs

The Humane Society of the United States has stated that some pups may consume plastic if they are severely malnourished. These pups may try to get key nutrients in their diet by eating everyday items found in the house. 

Dog sniffing on a plastic bag.

Hungry Dogs

Hungry dogs may accidentally consume plastic while trying to devour the scrumptious dog food in the packaging. Even if the food is completely wrapped, a hungry dog’s powerful nose will be able to smell the scrumptious things in the packaging. 

Teething Puppies

Puppies often chew on plastic to make the teething process more bearable. 

Dogs With Pica

Pica in pups is a condition characterized by consuming inedible things. If pups are suffering from pica, many of them won’t be able to resist chewing on plastic.  

Plastic That Dogs Like To Chew On

There is a wide variety of plastic that pups enjoy chewing on. Most pups can’t resist the following household items:

Dog with a toy in his mouth.
  • Pup toys 
  • Food wrappers
  • Water bottles
  • Kid’s toys
  • Plastic bags 
  • TV dinners
  • TV remotes 
  • Tupperware 

How To Prevent Pups From Consuming Plastic 

When it comes to ensuring that your pup never eats plastic again, prevention is definitely key. Here are some great ways to create a safe, plastic-free environment. 

  • Buy high-quality, virtually indestructible toys that are safe to chew
  • Replace torn dog toys as soon as possible  
  • Try using a safe, anti-chew spray
  • Make sure common household items are not within your pup’s reach
  • Tell your dog “no” when it picks up an unsafe item 
  • Shower your pup with love, affection, and lots of attention
  • Enroll your pup in special training to treat compulsive chewing 
  • Use a tall, pup-proof trash can
  • Avoid leaving “chew-happy” pups alone 
  • Offer safe teething rings for your young puppy
  • Place your teething puppies in a dog crate when you can’t monitor them 
  • Seek treatment from a vet if your pup is suffering from pica

Final Thoughts 

Plastic is indigestible for dogs, so you should ensure that it doesn’t become part of your dog’s diet. 

If your dog ate plastic, I highly encourage you to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.


1. What happens if my dog eats plastic?

The simple answer to this question is that bad things can happen if your pup eats indigestible things. 

More specifically, when dogs eat plastic, small pieces of the object can get stuck in their mouth, small intestine, esophagus, and stomach. 

A vet may induce vomiting or give treatments such as intravenous therapy, or even surgery. 

The worst-case scenario is that a pup could die from plastic consumption. 

Instead of just hoping that your pup will pass the object, you should visit a vet immediately.

2. How long does it take for a dog to pass plastic?

One way that plastic can be removed from a dog’s body is through defecation. 

According to many board-certified vets, it could take anywhere from a couple of days to a week for a dog to pass plastic. 

The exact amount of time ultimately depends on the type and size of an object as well as a pup’s bowel motility.  

Call a vet to determine how long it may take your pup to pass the object. 

3. Can be eating plastic kill a dog?

Here’s the deal: A dog who has eaten plastic can certainly die. 

Pups aren’t able to digest plastic, so it can severely damage the digestive tract. If the plastic causes intestinal injury, a pup’s life will be at risk.  

Dog owners can increase the chance of a full recovery by going to the vet after their dog ate plastic. 

4. What are the symptoms of blockage in a dog?

After your dog ate plastic, you should definitely be on the lookout for the following symptoms: poor appetite, continuous vomiting, crying, stomach pain, and diarrhea.

If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, there could be a blockage in the intestines. 

Make sure to visit a vet immediately if your dog ate plastic. 

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