What Do I Do If My Dog Swallowed a Toy?

By Rebecca Boardman

Owning dogs is always an adventure. They are mischevious, full of life and often cause as much trouble as children. One thing that can happen is that dogs, very much like small children, often put things in their mouths that they are not supposed to. Sticks, toys, bones--all can end up in the wrong place: your dog's stomach.

Identify the Toy

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A great deal of what you will do if your dog swallows a toy will depend upon what kind of toy it is. Obviously, if your dog has swallowed a plastic or rubber toy that is lodged in his throat and it is causing him difficulty in breathing or swallowing, you will need to rush him to the emergency vet hospital immediately. If, however, to toy that your dog has swallowed is made of soft material, which you have found evidence that he has torn to pieces as he has swallowed it down, it is very likely you will not need to do anything other than watch the dog for signs of illness until he passes the pieces of toy in his stool.

Call the Vet

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If the dog has swallowed a toy that is made of hard plastic, or any other material besides cloth or rope, it is best to contact your vet and ask him if a visit is necessary. Observe the dog carefully for any signs of distress, such as whining, vomiting, excessive salivation, lethargy, pacing or straining to pass stool. If any of these signs appear, or if the dog has a sudden shift in personality, rush him to the vet as soon as possible.

Getting the Toy Out

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In most cases, the toy will be passed from the dog naturally, in a bowel movement or by vomiting. Veterinarians will often give the dog something to cause it to vomit the toy, or stool softeners and oils to make it easier to pass through the digestive tract. Dogs have been chewing up their toys for millenia, and most live to chew up another one. But in the more serious cases, it may be necessary to have surgery performed to remove the toy. In most cases, prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.