What to Do if Your Pet Swallowed a Toy: 8 Tips

As dog owners, you know they will put just about anything in their mouths. Nothing is safe from their chompers, from sticks and stones to our favorite pair of shoes. While these items will pass through most of the time without any issue, some things can get stuck.

If your pup has swallowed a toy, here are eight tips on what to do next:

1. Relax

First and foremost, you should take a deep breath and relax. Dogs are much tougher than we give them credit for, and unless the toy is sharp or made of toxic material, they will likely be just fine. However, it is crucial to keep an eye on them and look for any signs of distress, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble breathing

Seek professional medical help immediately if your pet displays any of the above symptoms.

2. Call the Vet

While your dog may be fine, it is always best to err on the side of caution and give your vet a call. They will likely tell you to bring them in for an x-ray to check and see exactly where the toy is and how big it is. If the toy is small enough, they may tell you to watch them and let things pass naturally.

If surgery is necessary, your vet will let you know and walk you through the next steps. Here’s what to expect if this is an option for your dog’s case:

  • Diagnosis – The vet will perform a physical exam and review your dog’s medical history.
  • Anesthesia – To remove the toy, your dog must be put under anesthesia. This makes them completely relaxed and not in any pain during the surgery.
  • Surgery – The vet will make a small incision in your dog’s stomach or intestines (depending on where the toy is located) and remove the offending item.
  • Recovery Time – After the surgery, your dog will likely stay at the vet for a few hours to make sure they are recovering well. They may also need to take pain medication and have a special diet for a few days while they heal.

If you don’t know who are the best vet surgeons in your area, ask for recommendations from the people you trust. You can also look online and search for “pet surgeons near me” to narrow your search.

3. Know What Your Dog Ate

It is necessary to try to figure out what toy your dog swallowed. If you know what it is, you can look up whether or not it is safe and whether or not there are any risks associated with swallowing it.

You should also take note of when they swallowed the toy, as this will be important information for the vet. The sooner you bring them to the vet, the better chance they can pass the toy without any issue.

4. Avoid Attempting to Remove the Object Yourself

It is not a good idea to try to remove the object yourself, no matter how tempting it is. Not only is it dangerous, but it could also do more harm than good. If you are unsure of what you are doing, leave it to the professionals, such as River Hills Pet Care Hospital. Go to their website to see what they can do for your pets.

5. Avoid Giving Your Dog Anything to Eat or Drink

If your dog has swallowed a toy, they must not eat or drink anything until you have spoken with a vet. If they need surgery, they will need to be fasted for a certain period before the procedure.

6. Do Not Induce Vomiting

One of the first things pet owners want to do when their dog swallows something they shouldn’t is make them vomit it back up. But this is actually one of the worst things you can do.

Inducing vomiting can cause more damage on the way back up and could even cause your dog to choke. You should also note that not all objects will come back up whole. In some cases, pieces could break off and become lodged in your dog’s throat on the way back up, which can be very risky.

7. Do Not Let Them Play with Toys Unsupervised

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you must ensure that your dog does not have access to toys they could potentially swallow. If you cannot oversee them, it is best to put the toys away until you can.

8. Be Prepared

While we hope that our dogs never swallow a toy, it is always best to be prepared for anything. Keep the number of your vet handy, as well as the number for the nearest emergency animal hospital. In case of an emergency, it is vital to act quickly and know exactly who to call.

As a Summary

If your dog swallows a toy, the best thing you can do is remain calm and call your vet right away. If you are unsure of what to do, ask the vet for guidance. Surgery will not be necessary in most cases, but it is always best to be prepared.

Make sure to choose a vet clinic or hospital with complete facilities and staff who are experienced in handling this type of situation. Ask the people you trust for referrals or visit their website if they have one for more information on their services.