What Happens if You Give Dogs Styrofoam?

By Julie Bane

Anyone that has owned a pet knows that they have to be watched at all times. And with no animal is this more obvious than a dog. To many, a dog's sense of curiosity and wonderment is what attracts people to them. It can also be a major stress on the owner.

Why Styrofoam?

You many wonder why a dog would be attractive to Styrofoam. Well, it's not the Styrofoam so much as what the Styrofoam has or is holding that attracts dogs. Styrofoam is used to hold many tasty beverages and treats. Just think of how many times you've brought home restaurant leftovers in a Styrofoam doggy baggy. And this makes many Styrofoam products attractive to dogs. Any little morsel that can be licked off a Styrofoam container is like a little taste of heaven for a dog.


If your dog consumes Styrofoam they may experience a number of side effects. First, they may just chew it up and spit it out, which isn't necessarily bad for them but can be a pain for you to clean up. Depending on the size of the Styrofoam they swallow, it may be a choking hazard, blocking air and leaving them unable to breathe. And in some cases, they may be able to swallow the Styrofoam but it may cause an intestinal blockage that can only be rectified through surgery.

Dog's Eye View

Dogs, like humans, sometimes make bad choices. And while you can usually reason with a human, you don't have that option with a dog. Consider doggy-proofing any rooms that your dog frequents. Get down on their level and notice everything from their point of view. If your dog is a jumper, take into consideration everything it can get at if it jumps up on counters or furniture. Remove hazardous items. Don't leave Styrofoam containers laying around. Even Styrofoam cups that kids use for art projects or seedlings can be seen as fair game. And packing peanuts, especially if they cradled food or something that smells tempting, can be attractive to a dog. If you can't see what your dog is doing or can't be there to watch it, you should consider keeping it crated or in a confined area free of hazards.


Whenever you suspect your dog has swallowed a foreign object, you should consult your veterinarian. If its after hours, your vet will most likely refer you to an emergency facility. In some cases, you may be instructed to induce vomiting. This can be done at home by feeding your dog a syringe full of hydrogen peroxide. The exact amount of peroxide to give your dog is determined by your dog's weight and you should consult a vet to ensure that this is what they want you to do. They can talk you through the procedure over the telephone. In some cases they may want you to bring the dog into the office to be observed and for x-rays to see if there is any blockage.