My Dog Ate My Ear Buds What Should I Do? (Reviewed by Vet)

Reviewed By Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS •  Updated: 11/13/23 •  5 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Dogs love to chew and eat almost anything! They don’t seem to have much in the way of taste when it comes to some of the items they eat, including earbuds!

Earbuds are very easy for dogs to get and chew on or even swallow. There are stories all over the Internet about dogs eating earbuds. We’re happy to say that most of these episodes ended well after going through some scary times.

Did you come home to find your favorite earbuds chewed up? Does it look like your dog may have swallowed one of the earbuds? Then you’ve come to the right place!

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

Earbuds & Dogs

Most earbuds are made of silicone gel, wires, polymers, metal parts, and possibly even batteries. The metal and silicone parts, etc. can pose a choking hazard or may cause stomach issues. It’s also possible they can cause an intestinal blockage. If the earbuds contain batteries, these can also cause some serious issues.

The batteries found in some earbuds contain acidic substances that can cause burns and ulcerations in the mouth, on the tongue & esophagus, etc. If a dog swallows the earbud and battery without chewing, he may be OK. However, if he happened to bite down on the battery then he could suffer from battery acid burns.

The seriousness of your dog eating earbuds depends on various factors, including:

Your dog’s size: if your dog is under 10 lbs, he may face an increased risk of intestinal blockage after eating earbuds. That’s because your fur baby’s digestive tract is small to fit his size. If he eats something larger than his intestines can handle (such as earbuds), it’s possible he could develop an intestinal blockage. On the other hand, if you have a larger dog, the earbuds may go through his system and not cause any issues at all. In that case, you may find the earbuds in your dog’s poop within 24-48 hours.

Chewed or swallowed: if the earbud was swallowed whole (depending on the size of your dog), it could pass through your dog’s digestive tract with no problem. However, if the earbud(s) were chewed, it could increase the risk of the battery being exposed. Lithium batteries are commonly used in earbuds; these can cause electrochemical burns if the battery becomes stuck in the esophagus or intestines. This is a rare complication, but it is possible.

Symptoms of Earbud Ingestion in Dogs

If your fur baby has eaten earbuds and you’re worried, it’s best to call the vet right away. They will provide advice on how to help your dog.

However, you can also monitor your dog’s condition. If you choose this route, you’ll need to watch for the following symptoms:

These symptoms could indicate that your dog has a serious health issue. It’s best to call your vet immediately, as this could be an emergency.

What to Do If Your Dog Swallowed Earbuds

If your fur baby is choking, then get him to the vet immediately. This could be a life-threatening medical problem. On the other hand, if he seems OK, you should still call the vet for guidance on next steps.

The vet may recommend bringing your canine companion to the office to be checked. The vet will perform a physical exam, which includes checking your fur baby’s mouth and esophagus for acid burns. They may also run blood work and other tests, including imaging such as ultrasound scans, endoscopy or an x-ray.

The x-ray will show where the earbuds are located inside your pup’s gastrointestinal tract. The image could also show whether or not the earbud casings have been opened and where those pieces are situated.

Treatment After Dog Swallows Earbuds

Treatment will depend on where the earbuds are located. If they’re still in the stomach, the vet may try to perform an endoscopic procedure. The procedure is done with a flexible scope that may also allow the vet to grab onto the foreign objects your pup has swallowed. However, this can only be done within the first few hours after the objects are swallowed.

If the earbuds have gone past the stomach, the vet may recommend waiting to see if they will pass normally out of your dog’s system. It may be necessary to wait 2-3 days for this to happen. During this time, the vet will ask you to monitor your dog’s health. If he develops issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, etc. then he may need emergency surgery. The earbuds may be causing a bowel obstruction.

In most cases, dogs will be OK after swallowing earbuds. Even so, it’s best to call your vet right away after finding your canine companion has swallowed your favorite pair of earbuds.

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Emma Chandley, BVetMed MRCVS PGCertSAS

This article has been reviewed and approved by an independent Veterinarian: Emma graduated from the Royal Vet College in London in 2011. She has a keen interest in surgery and went on to do a post graduate certificate in small animal surgery and was then awarded advanced practitioner status in the same discipline.

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