How to Care for Dogs with Battery Acid Ingestion

Battery acid is hazardous to dogs. If you believe your dog has ingested a battery or battery acid, seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian will need to determine how much battery acid your pet has ingested, how ill your dog actually is as a result of the ingestion and what the best treatment will be. The faster you obtain proper medical treatment for your dog, the better his chances will be for a successful recovery.

Battery Acid Ingestion

Battery acid can be ingested when your dog eats or chews on a battery. While this may sound like an unlikely occurrence, it can happen fairly easily if your dog decides to chew up an electronic gadget, toy or other device that contains batteries. The Pet Poison Helpline reports that the most commonly consumed batteries are alkaline dry cell batteries, such as AA and AAA household batteries, and small button/disc shaped batteries.

When batteries are chewed or ingested, the acid is released and can cause serious health problems. Batteries commonly contain sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, both of which will severely damage any tissues they come into contact with. Tissue necrosis is a common side effect of battery acid ingestion and causes severe ulcers. Ingestion of a disc-shaped battery can result in electric currents passing through your dog's system and can damage the tissues of the mouth, stomach, esophagus and intestines. Lithium batteries can cause significant tissue damage in as little as 15 to 30 minutes after being consumed.

Symptoms of Battery Acid Poisoning

The symptoms of battery acid poisoning can take up to 12 hours to appear. Do not use a lack of symptoms as a reason to delay getting your dog veterinary treatment if you believe he has consumed a battery.

  • Depression.
  • Excessive drooling or salivating.
  • Oral inflammation.
  • Oral ulceration.
  • Smacking lips.
  • Flicking tongue.
  • Dysphagia.
  • Vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Temperature in excess of 104 degrees.
  • Coughing.
  • Anorexia.
  • Intestinal ulceration.

If not treated promptly, battery acid ingestion can be fatal.

Veterinary Treatment

When you take your dog to the veterinarian, he will assess your pet's condition and immediate symptoms. He will look for oral lacerations or black powdery material inside your dog's mouth. He may choose to flush out your dog's mouth for 15 to 20 minutes with tap water. He likely will perform X-rays to see if the battery is still inside your dog and where it is. If necessary, he may perform immediate surgery to remove the battery. After care may include a prescription for anti-ulcer medications and pain medication and a bland diet or one that is high in fiber.