My Dog Ate a Plastic Bag What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 11/28/23 •  4 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dogs are famous for eating anything that grabs their fancy! Think of those tasty morsels he’s dug out of the kitchen wastebasket, or the dead bird he tried to eat out in the yard. Dogs have also been known to eat plastic bags, probably more from curiosity than hunger.

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The Dangers of a Dog Eating a Plastic Bag

What can happen if a dog eats a plastic bag? There are several things that could happen to a dog if he eats a plastic bag, including:

So, it’s important to ensure that your dog can’t gain access to plastic bags anywhere in your home.

What to Do if Your Dog’s Eaten a Plastic Bag

Has your fur baby eaten a plastic bag? Don’t panic, but if you’ve seen your dog eat a plastic bag, or you suspect he’s done so, then be sure to call the vet right away. And do not induce vomiting, as this could cause a worse problem. However, if the vet advises you to induce vomiting, then follow his instructions.

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

A dog’s system can’t digest plastic. If your canine companion’s eaten a large plastic bag, this could cause some health problems. But if he’s eaten only a small piece, changes are it will go through his system without a problem.

Be sure to observe any symptoms your fur baby could be having:

These could be signs that your dog has the bag caught in his throat (gagging, retching), or he could have an intestinal blockage. If you notice these symptoms, then call your vet right away—these are signs your fur baby’s having a medical emergency.

In all cases, even if you believe your dog has eaten a plastic bag, then be sure to call the vet for advice on next steps.

Should You Induce Vomiting?

You may be wondering if it may be a good idea to induce vomiting in your dog. The answer is no.

Inducing vomiting at home can be extremely dangerous for your dog. The plastic bag could come into your dog’s esophagus and block his airways, causing him to choke. Inducing vomiting may also cause your dog to inhale vomit, which could lead to a dangerous lung infection.

So, do not induce vomiting, unless your vet recommends taking this step.

Diagnosis & Treatment for Dog Eating Plastic Bag

The vet will ask you questions about what has happened, the size of the bag, the time your dog swallowed it and other pertinent questions.

After this, the vet will perform a physical exam, and may order x-rays in order to see where the plastic is in your fur baby’s body. The x-rays will also show if your dog is having a bowel obstruction.

From the exam, the vet may determine that the bag will pass through your dog’s system safely. They will send your canine companion home and instruct you on what to watch for. You’ll need to keep a close on eye on your dog to watch for symptoms that signal he’s having trouble.

On the other hand, if the bag needs to be removed, the vet may use an endoscope procedure, or your fur baby may require surgery.

After treatment, the vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection. It may also be necessary to keep your pup quiet and avoid too much activity for a few days. The vet may also recommend an alternative diet as your dog heals.

If treated early, your fur baby has an excellent chance of avoiding serious health issues after eating a plastic bag.

Be sure to keep all plastic bags out of your dog’s reach. If he loves wastebasket diving, you may want to invest in some dog-proof wastebaskets. These are easy for your human family members to open; however, your fur baby won’t be able to open them up and eat what he wants!

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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