My Dog Ate a Balloon What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 04/12/20 •  3 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Balloons are popular for many special occasions including weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, new babies and more. However, they’ve come under fire in recent years because when released, balloons take a horrible tole on wildlife. Not only do they cause problems for wildlife, balloons can also be dangerous for dogs.

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Dogs love to pick up and eat the oddest things! Why would a dog ever eat a balloon? We’ve tried asking our dog, but all he does is smile—he doesn’t share his reasons for munching down on balloons!

Pica Condition in Dogs

One reason some dogs have a penchant for delectable balloons is due to a psychological condition called pica. Pica is found in humans and other animals. The condition creates an urge to eat substances or items that are not considered food. Here, think of kids playing outside and making mud pies. Some kids have been known to actually eat the mud pies! Dogs also have this condition, which is not always well understood.

Pica is only one reason that a dog might eat balloons. Some dogs are simply curious, such as puppies, and will try anything that looks interesting. Tasting and mouthing are the way puppies and dogs learn about their world. However, in the process of tasting or mouthing a balloon, it is possible the balloon could break, causing your fur baby to accidentally swallow a piece of the balloon.

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats a Balloon

Firs of all, determine how much of the balloon your canine companion may have eaten. If he only ate a small piece of the balloon, chances are this will pass through his digestive system without causing any problems. Your fur baby may be nauseated, have diarrhea and could even vomit up the small piece he ate. However, if it appears that he ate the entire balloon, or even if you’re not sure hate at the whole thing, then it’s a good idea to call the vet.

If you know (or suspect) your precious pup has eaten the entire balloon (including any string or ribbon), call the vet immediately. A balloon and/or the string or ribbon could become lodged in his intestines and cause an intestinal blockage. This is a medical emergency.

Watch for these symptoms of an intestinal blockage:

When you reach the vet, they will ask you how much of the balloon your fur baby may have ingested. They’ll inquire about the approximate time this happened and ask about other symptoms your dog may be having.

If your fur baby seems to have bowel obstruction, the vet will order several tests including blood tests and imaging tests. The images will show where in your fur baby’s digestive tract the balloon is located. This may determine the treatment your dog receives.

In the event of an intestinal blockage, your canine companion may require surgery to remove the obstruction.

To prevent this type of accident, it’s a good idea to keep balloons completely away from your dog. Never let him play with a balloon.

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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