Is Clay Harmful To Dogs? [Vet Advice]

Most of the time, your pooch sees the world through his mouth. They lick, bite and eat almost anything even if they are trained otherwise. While playing with your kids or your art supplies, accidentally, dogs can eat clay.

Homemade modeling clay, polymer modeling clay, and glazes are toxic to your pet. In contrast, green clay and natural clay are known to have some advantages. However, eating large quantities can lead to complications, and you need a vet’s help. Positive reinforcement will help your dog to adjust his behaviors.

Let’s learn more about what happens to your fur baby if he eats clay.

Is clay harmful to dogs?

When your kid plays with clay, or your pet gets curious and goes through your art supplies, it is not impossible that he ate a bit of clay. Dogs usually sniff everything and tend to taste them.

In the case of clay, licking a bit of clay or ingesting very small amounts of it will not cause any severe harm to your pet. However, suppose he ate a lot of clay without your knowledge.

In that case, it can lead to gastrointestinal upsets, or else it can lead to obstructions.

Now let’s see different types of clays that your pooch might have swallowed and the outcomes of each scenario.

Modeling clay is commonly found in households with kids or an artist. Modeling clays are of two types, homemade modeling clay and commercial modeling clay.

Out of these two, homemade modeling clay contains a lot of salt. Salt in high concentrations can harm your pet leading to diarrhea, dehydration, excessive urination, increased thirst, and sometimes vomiting. These are typical symptoms of salt poisoning in dogs.

Commercially available modeling clay is made for the use of children. Therefore, it doesn’t contain many toxic ingredients. However, ingesting a large ball of clay can cause obstructions in any part of the digestive tract and lead to serious illness.

Commercially available polymer modeling clay is made of PVC and other toxic materials. Therefore, if your pooch swallowed those, he has literally eaten plastic.

Natural clay, also known as calcium Bentonite Clay has both advantages and disadvantages for your pet. As we all know, eating a lot of any form of clay can lead to toxicity or obstruction.

However, there are many healing aspects to consuming small amounts of natural clay. It is known to have a  cleaning effect on the intestines.

Bentonite clay can absorb toxins, allergens, drugs, and metals from the intestinal tracts and release minerals to be used by the body. This can improve digestion and make the intestinal tract healthy.

Like natural clay, green clay is not harmful to be consumed in small amounts. Green clay has many benefits if used externally. It repels insects and other ectoparasites on the dog’s skin, and it will reduce the constant itching of your pet.

Glazes or colors give a fine finishing touch to your clay structure. These are always toxic to your pet as it is made of silica and colorants. Make sure your pet doesn’t find them.

What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Clay?

If you suspect that your pet ate clay, the best thing to do is to call your vet and explain the details of the condition. You should inform the vet about how much, when, and what ingredients of the clay material your pet consumed.

If the vet suggests you bring him, do not wait; take your pet to the vet ASAP.

However, if your pet ate clay without your knowledge and showed the following signs, you must rush him to the hospital.

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Excessive thirst and urination.
  • Nausea.
  • Tremors: these symptoms can indicate many disease conditions. Therefore, you should take your pet to the vet.

If your pet has severe diarrhea and vomiting, he is losing a lot of water from his body. This can lead to dehydration and, ultimately, shock. Therefore, consistently give him small amounts of water to keep him hydrated. But do not force him to drink too much.

Never try to induce vomiting by yourself. Yes, probably your vet would also do a similar procedure. However, he will use certain drugs and precautions to do the procedure safely.

When you accompany your dog to the vet, it is better to bring the clay label as it will help your veterinarian treat specific conditions like toxicity.

How to keep your dog from eating clay?

The best option is to hide your art supplies that your playful pooch cannot reach. If your kid is playing with clay, do not allow your pet to be around a lot. He can accidentally chew into clay, thinking it’s his toy.

Training your pet not to chew and eat everything it sees is a part of the early training process. This can be done to keep your pet away from eating clay.

However, some diseases and conditions, like pica, where dogs eat natural clay due to a mineral deficiency. If you constantly observe that your pet is eating clay, that can indicate a mineral deficiency.

Take your pet to the vet and confirm the condition. Then you can change your pet’s diet, adding the required minerals the vet suggests. And change the diet occasionally by giving him additional treats. A balanced diet can keep your pet healthy.

Things to be aware of

If you are an artist, many supplies at home can be toxic to your pet or cause obstructions in the digestive tract. It is best to keep them where your curious pet can’t reach them. However, some accidents can occur when your pet ingests some of these materials.

Ingesting a small amount of clay will not lead to toxicity; similarly, eating small amounts of the following will not always cause toxicity to your pet.

  • Acrylic paint
  • Bath oil
  • Birth control pills
  • Bubble bath soap
  • Citronella candles
  • Cosmetics
  • Crayons
  • Deodorants
  • Hand lotion
  • Ink

However, if your pooch eats something out of the ordinary, it is best that you can get a piece of advice from your vet. With experience, you will also learn what will cause a lot of harm to your pet, but if you are a new pet parent, you will need support from your vet.

Not only clay and toxic products, but your pet can also accidentally swallow significant things that can obstruct the digestive tract. They are toys, rocks, plastics, large bone parts, and clothes.

This can be a severe condition and, if not treated, can lead to death. The following are symptoms of foreign body obstruction, and you must take your pet to the vet ASAP.

  • Nausea with excessive drooling and gagging.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy and depression.
  • Refusing to eat.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Abdominal pain signs.


The article briefs about the outcomes of consuming different types of clay and what you should do to keep your pet safe from such accidents.

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