Dogs are curious about many things in their environment. For one thing, they look for bits of food to snarf down when possible! But sometimes dogs also choose to eat very strange things, such as something made of metal. Dogs do weird things (it seems strange to us anyway!), but what happens if a dog eats metal?
Has your dog eaten metal? Are you worried the metal 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 metal and whether it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
Why Do Dogs Eat Metal?
Some dogs seem to have a penchant for eating almost anything, including metal. No one is sure why dogs would do this. But there is one condition that can cause this behavior in dogs.
Pica is a behavioral condition that can cause a dog (other animals or humans) to eat non-food items. Dogs are compelled to eat these items, including metal, rocks, clothing, and more. Pica is thought to be a psychological behavior in dogs; however, it can also be caused by underlying medical conditions.
So, pica may cause a dog to eat metal. But dogs may also eat metal because of underlying health issues; they’re bored, stressed, or not getting enough food or nutrients.
So, what happens if a dog eats metal?
Metal & Dogs
Unfortunately, metal can be extremely dangerous for dogs. For one thing, certain metals, including zinc and copper, are highly toxic to dogs. And a piece of metal could also cause a dog to choke.
In addition, metal may be sharp and can cause injuries to the dog’s mouth, throat, or digestive system. A piece of metal could even cause a blockage anywhere in the dog’s digestive tract.
Symptoms of Metal Ingestion in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten metal:
- Choking, gagging, retching
- Trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain & swelling
- Lack of appetite
- Changes in behavior (biting, snapping, growling when touched; a sign of pain & discomfort)
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Treatment of Metal Ingestion in Dogs
Treatment depends on the vet’s diagnosis. If the vet diagnoses your dog with poisoning, they will work to decontaminate the dog’s system by inducing vomiting, using activated charcoal, or another method. The vet will also treat other symptoms as they arise.
If your dog has an intestinal blockage or another issue caused by the metal, the vet may have to perform surgery. This is done to remove the metal and repair any damage it may have caused. Here, again, the vet will treat any other symptoms as they arise.
The prognosis is best for dogs who receive prompt medical treatment after eating metal. So, it’s key to call the vet as soon as possible if your dog has eaten metal. And it’s best to keep all metal objects away from your dog. Prevention is always the best medicine!