My Dog Ate Acupuncture Needle What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 03/10/23 •  3 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dog Ate Acupuncture Needle

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Dogs sometimes eat the strangest things! They may eat poop, glass, marbles, socks, and more. There are even instances of a dog eating an acupuncture needle! You read that correctly. But what happens if a dog eats an acupuncture needle?

Has your dog eaten an acupuncture needle? Are you worried the acupuncture needle will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.

We’ve gathered information about acupuncture needles and whether they can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

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

What is an Acupuncture Needle?              

An acupuncture needle is used for acupuncture treatments. The needles are skinny with sharp ends.  Each needle has five different parts, including the tip, body, root, handle, and tail. The tip and body of the acupuncture needle are inserted into the patient’s body at certain acupuncture points. The handle and tail of the needle are used by the practitioner to manipulate the needle.

Acupuncture needles are usually made of stainless steel and come in 20 and 40 gauge, and lengths from 0.5” to 2.5”. The needles are very thin and small, with many people saying they can’t even feel pain when the needle goes in. The needles are also very flexible.

Acupuncture needles are considered safe for humans (when used as directed by a certified practitioner), but what about dogs? What happens if a dog eats an acupuncture needle?

Acupuncture Needles & Dogs

Acupuncture needles are very small and flexible. The good news is that if a dog eats one of these needles, he should pass it in 2-5 days.

Still, it’s a good idea to call the vet for advice on how to handle the situation. Some vets may advise having an x-ray done to ensure the needle’s making its way safely through the GI tract.

On the other hand, a vet may also suggest monitoring your dog’s condition and watching for the acupuncture needle to come out in your fur baby’s poop. Some vets also recommend trying to feed your dog bulky foods to help the needle pass. These include canned pumpkin (not the kind used to make pies) or cooked sweet potato.

The vet will also explain what symptoms to watch for that may indicate a problem with the needle in the digestive tract. However, most of the time, the needle will pass on its own without any trouble.

Symptoms of Acupuncture Needle in the Digestive Tract

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten an acupuncture needle:

If your dog has any of these symptoms after eating an acupuncture needle, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.

Treatment of Acupuncture Needle Ingestion in Dogs

The vet may run x-rays to see where the acupuncture needle is caught. In most cases, your fur baby may require emergency surgery. The surgery is done to remove the needle and repair any damage it may have become lodged in the digestive tract.

The prognosis is best for dogs who receive prompt medical treatment after eating an acupuncture needle. In the future, it’s a good idea to keep acupuncture needles out of your dog’s reach. You’ll both be happier for it!

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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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