Has your dog ingested a lighter or chewed on the lighter and swallowed lighter fluid? Then you’ve come to the right place.
If this is the case, the please call the vet right now. This is a medical emergency.
If you’re only reading this article out of curiosity or believe your fur baby may one day try to eat a lighter, then read on.
Why Would a Dog Eat a Lighter?
Dogs eat odd things for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the reasons a dog may eat a lighter or other objects:
- Chewing is natural: dogs love to chew to relieve stress, boredom, and anxiety. Puppies also chews to relieve the pain of teething as their adult teeth come in.
- Lack of chew toys: if a dog doesn’t have enough chew toys, he may turn to chewing other items to relieve his need to chew.
- Attracted to smell of lighter fluid: strange as it may sound, some dogs are attracted to the smell of lighter fluid. This may cause them to chew or eat a lighter!
Some dogs eat strange items, such as a lighter, if they have a condition called pica. Dogs with this condition feel compelled to eat non-food items, including:
- Poop (any poop they find outside)
- And more
- Your dog may also show symptoms of pica, which can include:
- Loose stools
- Chronic bad breath
- Dark, tarry stools
- Excessive drooling
- Abdominal contractions/pain
Fortunately, this condition can be treated by the vet. Pica can be caused by an underlying health issue, medication, stress, anxiety, and boredom.
Petroleum Products are Toxic to Dogs
Petroleum products are extremely toxic to dogs, to say nothing of the plastic lighter case. The substances that are dangerous are called hydrocarbons. These are toxic to both dogs and their pet parents.
Lighters and lighter fluid are commonly found in many households. Sometimes lighters may be left in a place your fur baby can reach. In fact, your pup doesn’t even have to eat these substances. Instead, he can even suffer toxic symptoms with skin contact or your dog licking his fur after the fluid spills on him.
Lighter & Lighter Fluid Symptoms in Dogs
Your fur baby may show the following signs and symptoms if he’s eaten a lighter and/or lighter fluid:
- Clamping of his jaws
- Skin irritation
- Oral irritation
- Loss of appetite
- General weakness
- Dry feces
- Oil in the feces
- Vision issues
- Head tremors
- Shivering and/or excitability/nervousness
- Lack of coordination (he may look like he’s drunk when walking)
- Breathing issues
Chances are you may not know exactly how much lighter fluid your dog has ingested. However, you may be able to tell how much of the lighter he may be swallowed by checking to see how much lighter is left.
If you believe your pup has swallowed the light and/or lighter fluid, the call your vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.
Your vet will run tests to check your dog for organ issues including his intestines, lungs, liver and kidneys. He may need to draw fluid samples from these areas, in addition to running blood tests. He may also want to do an x-ray to see where the lighter pieces are.
Treatment of Lighter & Lighter Fluid Ingestion in Dogs
Your vet probably will not choose to induce vomiting, as lighter fluid can be easily aspirated. However, the vet may choose to give your fur baby activated charcoal and then treat your dog’s symptoms as they develop. They may give supplemental oxygen, IV fluids and medications such as antibiotics.
If your fur baby has eaten a large portion of the lighter, and/or if the pieces are sharp, the vet may need to perform surgery to extract these pieces. They could puncture your pup’s digestive track or cause a intestinal blockage.
Prevent Your Dog From Eating a Lighter
Here are some steps you can take to keep your dog from eating a lighter in the future!
- Create a safe environment: this is the best way to keep your dog from eating lighters. Ensure that all lighters are kept out of your dog’s reach. Store lighters on a high shelf or in a cabinet, drawer, or other secure place your dog cannot access.
- Clean up clutter: if you’re in the habit of leaving clutter around (including lighters), it may be a good idea to clean up loose items that may be lying on furniture or the floor.
- Give your dog chew toys: another way to keep your dog safe is to give him suitable chew toys. These should be designed for your dog’s age and size—he’ll be pretty happy to chew on these toys!
We hope your fur baby has not eaten a lighter or swallowed lighter fluid. But if he has, please call the vet immediately. We wish you both very well!