Your dog ate something they weren’t supposed to. It’s okay, we’ve all been there! Dogs have a special talent for eating a lot of things that could potentially be harmful to their health.
If your dog ate a balloon and you find out immediately, you’re still in time to intervene before it causes a bigger issue. If it’s been already several hours, whether your dog shows any weird symptoms or not you should call your vet and follow their instructions while keeping an eye on your dog or, in the worst-case scenario, bring them in for a check-up.
What should you do if your dog ate a balloon?
When your dog eats a balloon or any foreign object for that matter, you usually have a 2-hour window to step in. After that, whatever they swallowed will already be in the intestines and you’ll have to wait for them to expel it through feces.
The first thing to do is always to call your veterinary and ask for advice. Depending on the situation, they might tell you to induce vomiting in your dog. If you’re not too far from your vet’s studio, it might be better to bring your pet in and let them do the procedure.
Please notice that it’s not always possible to induce vomiting, as your pet needs to be alert and there need to be no medical conditions that might make the procedure a danger to your dog’s life. That’s why you want to check in with your vet before proceeding.
How to induce vomiting in your dog:
– Before you start, provide your pet with a small amount of food. With a full stomach, it’ll be easier to make them vomit. For solid objects, food might also work as lube as the item passes through their system.
– You will have to give your dog 3% hydrogen peroxide with a needless plastic syringe. The amount to give, it’s usually 1 ml (milliliter) per pound of dog weight and in any case, it should never be over 45 ml at a time, even if your dog weighs more than 45 pounds. Call your vet before you do this as other factors could play a role in deciding the specific amount to give your dog.
– Vomiting should occur within the next 15 minutes. If it doesn’t, try giving one more dose. If vomiting still doesn’t occur, call your vet or your local pet emergency hotline.
– If vomiting does occur, check if it contains the balloon. If it doesn’t, the balloon might be still stuck in their digestive system. In any case, collect a sample of it.
– Make sure to clean up everything using the right precautions, as the vomit contains a substance that is harmful to humans.
– After that, unless you’re instructed otherwise by your vet you should bring your dog in for an examination along with the sample you collected.
What to do if your dog already digested the balloon?
After the 2-hour window, the item will have passed through the stomach and to the intestines, at this point in time, the only thing you can do is to keep an eye out for any anomalies.
Most common bad signs to look out for:
– Drooling usually occurs as soon as they ate the item and it might be a sign of intoxication or that the object is stuck in their esophagus. Take note of anything unusual in their behavior, even if it doesn’t belong to this list.
– Vomiting generally happens within a few hours from ingestion and if that’s the case it’s actually a good sign because it means your dog might be expelling the balloon. However, if there’s no trace of rubber in the vomit or if your dog starts vomiting days or weeks after the ingestion, it might be the symptom of a more serious disease.
– Lack of appetite in dogs is always a bad sign. It usually means either that your dog actually feels too bad to eat or that there might be something in their stomach or intestines that doesn’t let them eat.
– Lethargy is never a good sign for your pooch. It’s usually a symptom that there’s a more serious problem like anemia, muscle soreness or infection going on and it’s preventing them from being active and behaving like they normally do.
– Abdominal pain occurs when your dog feels discomfort in their intestines, which in turn can cause lethargy and lack of appetite, or even vomiting. It’s usually the sign of a bad infection, or it could be a red flag that there is something stuck in their digestive system.
Sometimes dogs show no symptoms whatsoever and whatever they ingested reappears days or even weeks later in their stools. You don’t need to worry unless your pooch starts showing discomfort at any point in time (even weeks later). In that case, bring them in for an examination.
Why do dogs eat balloons?
Biting and chewing on things is the way our pets have to explore the world. Sometimes it might happen that they end up swallowing random things even if they didn’t intend to.
If your dog ate rubber, plastic, sticks as a one-time thing, there’s nothing to worry about. It’s just something that happens every now and then and it shouldn’t cause major issues for your pup.
However, if this behavior is repeated regularly and often, it might be the symptom of other issues, such a pica.
Pica in dogs
Pica is a condition where your dog feels the urge to eat non-food stuff. Needless to say, it’s a dangerous condition because it pushes your dog to eat a lot of things that could potentially harm their body and even cause life-threatening situations.
Causes of pica in dogs can be related to psychological or physical problems. The former is more likely than the latter, but a professional should always be consulted for a proper diagnosis.
Psychological causes of pica:
- Anxiety or separation anxiety
- Lack of attention
- Lack of stimulation, either mental or physical
Physical causes of pica:
- Bowel inflammation
- Stomach tumor
- Starvation or malnutrition
Identifying the root of the problem is essential to proceed with the proper treatment. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you should immediately have your dog checked by a professional.
Whatever the cause may be, the first step to take is to remove from your dog environment any object they may feel compelled to eat. Prevention is fundamental in this case, because pica may cause serious issues that might require surgery to be fixed.
Can dogs eat balloons?
Your dog will eat something they shouldn’t at some point in time. It just happens and every dog owner has their own funny story about it.
It can be prevented by paying close attention to them during the riskiest times (for example, during your daily walks) and by keeping a safe environment around your pooch.
A good way to keep your dog from eating dangerous stuff is to provide them with dog-safe toys that won’t be chewed apart into small parts.
If your dog shows an abnormal chewing behavior you might also want to supervise their playtime and take any safety measure that is deemed necessary.
Remember that we are full-fledged parents to our puppies and it’s our responsibility to keep them safe.