Owning a furry friend is akin to caring for a young child. With a playful and curious nature, dogs may inadvertently find themselves in trouble if left unsupervised.
In particular, ingesting foreign objects such as rubber toys can pose a significant risk to their health and well-being. This can lead to obstructions in the digestive tract, infections, and peritonitis, and if not correctly removed, it can lead to death. Although the rubber sometimes passes undigested, take your pet to the vet as soon as possible if they swallow rubber.
Let’s see what happens if your dog ingests a rubber toy.
Can Dogs Digest Rubber Toys?
No. Like humans, dogs cannot digest rubber.
However, if your dog eats tiny bits of rubber or small rubber bands, they can pass through their digestive tract without digestion and be eliminated.
But it would be best to remember that rubber pieces can obstruct your pet’s digestive tract.
What Will Happen if Your Dog Eats a Rubber Toy?
Eating rubber toy pieces or rubber bands harms your pet’s health. If you ever see your dog swallowing rubber pieces or if there is evidence that they ate rubber, you must immediately be concerned.
There are several critical conditions associated with eating pieces of rubber. If you do not act immediately, your pet’s life can be threatened.
The effects caused by swallowing rubber can change from dog to dog depending on size and age. Here are some common possibilities associated with consuming rubber toys.
1. The Rubber Passes Undigested
This is the most minor possible result that can happen if your pooch eats rubber. However, this again depends on the size and age of your pet.
If you have a large adult dog who eats a tiny piece of rubber or a small rubber band, it will probably not get obstructed in their gastrointestinal tract. It will pass with their feces within 12–24 hours.
But if you have a small-breed dog or a puppy, even a rubber band will not easily pass through.
Obstruction is the primary outcome of swallowing rubber pieces. Your dog’s digestive tract is a long, muscular, tubular organ. If the piece of rubber is larger than the diameter of the tubular part, it can get stuck. If the rubber gets stuck in the upper part of the digestive tract, choking may occur.
This will cause severe breathing difficulty in your pet. If not attended to immediately, it will lead to a life-threatening condition.
If the piece of rubber gets stuck in the latter part of the digestive tract (in the small intestine), it will cause intestinal obstruction.
With intestinal obstruction, your dog will not show immediate symptoms. But with time this can lead to constipation and loss of appetite.
This can also lead to a life-threatening condition if not adequately and quickly diagnosed.
Obstruction can occur with many other food items and favorites of dogs, like large bones. Under any condition, digestive tract obstruction should be considered severe.
Even if the small piece of rubber can pass through the upper part of the digestive tract (esophagus) and enter the stomach, it can stay in the stomach for a long time without being digested.
So, this can lead to a condition known as peritonitis, which means an infection in the stomach.
You must understand that swallowing rubber can lead to death if not correctly diagnosed and treated immediately.
Obstructions in the digestive tract lead to choking and difficulty breathing. This is the main cause of death in dogs when they swallow rubber.
Suggested Reading: Why do dogs have gulping attacks?
What Can You Do if Your Dog Eats a Rubber Toy?
As a responsible pet parent, you must know the protocol to follow during some household accidents like swallowing rubber.
If your pooch swallows rubber or any hard object which can get lodged in their digestive tract, you must know what to do and — most importantly — what not to do.
Your actions during such an incident can save your pet
First, we’ll examine what you should do if your dog swallows rubber.
1. Take Your Dog to a Veterinarian ASAP!
This should be your first step when you find out your pooch ate rubber.
If you see the following symptoms in your pet, act immediately.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Excessive drooling
- Pain in the abdomen when touching
- The bloat of the stomach
There are no home remedies for these conditions. Take your pet to the vet ASAP.
Your veterinarian will treat them accordingly.
Your dog will be given meds to vomit. In very severe cases, they might need surgery.
How to Confirm Your Dog Ate Rubber
If you suspect your pet ate a piece of rubber or a hard object that can get stuck in their throat, you can do a quick checkup to confirm it.
Try to look into your dog’s mouth and observe whether there are any hard objects stuck deep down in their throat.
Here’s what you should not do:
1. Never Induce Vomiting
Even if you are sure your pet has something stuck in their throat, never try to induce vomiting without consulting your veterinarian.
It would be best if you were skilled in performing such a procedure. If you do it wrong, the situation can worsen. Therefore, it’s always advisable to take your pet to the vet.
2. Never Try to Remove the Piece of Rubber
After seeing a hard object lodged in your pet’s throat, our first instinct is to remove it. But this is a step you should never take.
If the procedure is performed wrong, the object can further move down the throat, causing choking.
How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Rubber Toys
The most common way a dog can swallow a piece of rubber is by chewing toys.
Overused, wet, low-quality or very small chew toys can lead to pieces of rubber easily breaking off, causing them to get lodged in your pooch’s digestive tract.
Here are five tips for you to prevent such accidents.
1. Supervise Your Dog
If you have a puppy you have just introduced to chew toys, it is advisable to supervise and guide them when chewing. Never let your puppy break up toys into pieces and swallow them. Remove the small pieces and the toy ASAP if you find them.
This applies to older dogs as well. If not adequately trained, they can try to chew on rubber or wooden objects. So always keep an eye on what they chew on.
2. Do Not Leave Chew Toys Around the House
If you are away, do not keep such toys laying around your house. Your pets can accidentally swallow pieces of rubber.
3. Do Not Give Your Dog Old or Cheap Chew Toys
With time, old or cheap chew toys can easily be broken into pieces. Therefore, do not give your pet very old, overused, or cheap chew toys.
Chew toys becoming wet will also make them more prone to breaking. Avoid leaving such toys around your house.
4. Change Chew Toys Frequently
As your pooch grows, their mouth will become larger than the chew toy. This will allow them to fit the whole toy in their mouth. This means they can accidentally swallow the entire toy.
Therefore, choose a toy larger than your dog’s mouth, and change it according to the level of your pet’s growth.
5. Use a Muzzle
We know chewing is a natural instinct of your dog. Some dog breeds have more strong biting instincts than others.
If your pet is like this, you can use a simple muzzle when you are not around to supervise them in your place. This will help avoid swallowing accidents.
What if Your Dog Eats Kong Toy Rubber?
Like rubber toys, your dog cannot digest Kong toy rubber either. Therefore, you may have to act quickly depending on the size and amount of rubber they swallowed.
It could pass through your dog’s digestive system if they eat tiny rubber pieces. If it’s a bad case, you could either induce vomiting or facilitate defecation.
But as we mentioned, do not try to induce vomiting without contacting your veterinarian.
If your dog is not distressed or showing any signs of pain when touching their abdomen, there’s a good chance that they are not in grave danger.
However, you must contact your veterinarian when you find out your dog ate rubber.
If there is a home remedy, your veterinarian will suggest one. You have to observe your pet during this time closely. If they vomit, check whether they passed the rubber pieces.
When your pet swallows large pieces of Kong toy rubber or the entire toy, their digestive tract might become obstructed.
Look for the earlier-mentioned signs. Consider contacting your veterinarian and taking your dog to be checked ASAP.
Suggested Reading: Do vets overcharge?
Things to Be Aware Of
What should you consider when purchasing a rubber toy?
Dogs’ natural instinct is to bite on things. They have many natural evolutionary advantages to do so. However, they will only destroy our furniture if we don’t provide for their biting needs.
Therefore, most dog owners’ first thought is to buy chew toys.
Chew toys come in different shapes, sizes, and different materials. But not all toys are safe for your pet.
Here are six tips for you to choose the best for your pet.
- If you are purchasing a rubber toy, choose hard rubber toys. These will be durable, and dogs are not able to destroy these so easily. Purchase an authentic brand that contains no toxic substances for your pet.
- Size of the toy — This is a critical element. The toy you purchase should fit your pet’s mouth. If it is too tiny, they can swallow it whole, which can lead to choking. If the toy is too large, they might be unable to even bite it.
- As a habit, check your pet’s toy once in a while. If the rubber or nylon is coming apart, remove the toy and replace it with a new one.
- Avoid purchasing toys that look like stuffed dolls, toothbrushes, or shoes. They can’t so easily distinguish between the toy and the real things. They can damage the real things thinking these are their toys.
- Rawhides are your pet’s favorite treat, but rawhides have some disadvantages. Be wary of them before buying a good rawhide.
- Laser pointers are only sometimes a good option as a toy. It teaches your pet to hunt a moving light continuously, but they will never be able to catch their prey. This can frustrate your pet. Also, they can get used to the fact that they should hunt all moving lights. This can lead to many dangerous outcomes.
In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the potential dangers of a dog ingesting rubber toy parts and to take appropriate action if this occurs. By following the steps outlined in this article and seeking the advice of a veterinarian, you can help ensure your furry companion’s health and safety. Remember to always monitor your dog’s playtime and take preventative measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.