What to Do If Your Dog Swallows Something Sharp

Mo Rita is a mom, a teacher, a pet owner, and a self-proclaimed artist. She enjoys washing dishes.

Help! My Dog Ate Something Sharp

Dogs often chew on things they really shouldn't ingest. Some dogs are worse about this than others and will swallow toy squeakers, rocks, dirt, and just about anything small enough to fit in their mouths.

Sometimes, though, time is of the essence. If your dog eats something sharp and pointy, such as cooked chicken bones or a glass Christmas ornament, you'll want to prevent further damage by taking them to the vet as soon as possible. If it's something that will likely pass, for instance, like tiny pieces of a chewed up plastic toy or a soft earplug, you can help your dog out in the following ways.

Anything a dog swallows can be dangerous and can kill them, so it's important to go to the vet as soon as possible. Attempting to treat your dog at home could have irreversible consequences.

How to Help a Dog Pass Something Sharp


  • soft white bread (plain)
  • pumpkin puree (unflavored) OR wet dog food

Note: Feeding your dog cotton balls is not advised due to the risk of a secondary impaction.

What to Do

  1. White bread can be soaked with water and fed to the dog when combined with pumpkin puree or wet dog food.
  2. Feed your dog small, frequent "meals" throughout the day (instead of larger meals); pay attention to bowel movements.
  3. Watch your dog for any signs of lethargy, discomfort (uncomfortable posturing), vomiting, heaving, or diarrhea.

This technique is only advised if your vet believes the objects will pass on their own and not cause internal injury.

Why It Works

The soft food and the hydrated bread method acts to cushion whatever it is that your dog ingested and helps to push it through the intestine. Many vets recommend this method of feeding bread and high-fiber pumpkin to help get sharp things out, as the fiber can be very beneficial. However, if your dog might need emergency surgery, avoid feeding them if you are taking them into the vet the same day.

Signs That Your Dog Needs Emergency Care

  • Repeated vomiting, especially upon attempting to drink water or eat food
  • Vomiting blood
  • Dark or bright-red blood in the stool
  • A hard, distended abdomen
  • Pain when the abdomen is palpated
  • Biting at the flanks, as if in pain internally
  • Fever
  • Listlessness, depression, and inactivity
  • Dehydration

How to Test for Dehydration

  1. Pinch the skin on the back of the neck.
  2. If the skin stays tented for a few seconds, the dog is likely dehydrated.
  3. If the skin drops back down into position right away, the dog is likely hydrated.

Why Veterinary Care Is Paramount

Having your dog examined by a vet rather than treating your dog at home is always the right thing to do. You may not be lucky in every situation, and choosing to save a little money may be the difference between having your dog around or losing your dog—not to mention it is cruel to let them suffer.

melanie price on August 21, 2020:

My Yorkie ate a thumb tack and threw up the thumb tack.What do I do?

dbb on January 10, 2020:

my friends dog was taken to the vet for eating something sharp but they just told her she needs $5000 for tests. another vet friend of hers told her to feed the dog scrambled eggs to help it pass whatever she ate. were still waiting on a poop. i really hope it helps her.

Mckayla Cottrill on December 13, 2019:

My dog literally ate a glass Christmas tree ortament I’m scared for her life give me some more information

Mo Rita (author) from IL on January 02, 2019:

Oh no! Poor guy! I hope you brought him in and they took care of him! Hugs and hope sent your way.

Chemaine preston on December 23, 2018:

My dog has been throwing up all day and bleeding from the his bum. He been trying to poo all day and hard bone came out i thought he was better had water started throwing up again il take him vets in morning really consered

COlin on March 30, 2018:

My dog ate through a cat food can and ripped it open

Mo Rita (author) from IL on August 13, 2010:

Thanks for commenting! :0) It is frustrating indeed. I'm "lucky" that all my dog eats outside are mice and goose poop! :0P

dgicre from USA on August 08, 2010:

Thanks for helping dog owners beware of this dangerous and sometimes fatal problem. Some dogs are more prone to this than others but it can be frustrating to say the least.

Here’s What To Do If Your Dog Swallowed A Baby Wipe

  1. Open your dog’s mouth and see if they have the wipe in the back of their throat. Often, dogs like to hide objects from their owners there, so carefully open their mouths and try to extract the baby wipe safely.
  2. Check your dog for any signs of distressed breathing. If you notice that your dog is gasping for air or choking, be alert and understand that you may have to give the doggie Heimlich maneuver to your pup.
  3. If you know that your dog has consumed a somewhat hazardous baby wipe, maybe one with dangerous chemicals, then you should begin assisting him or her in vomiting. You could use hydrogen peroxide for this, but please be aware that too much can harm your dog, so be sure to know the right quantity.

Can Dogs Digest Plastic?

An important question is, can dogs eat plastic at all? Or can they digest certain types of plastic but not others?

Unfortunately, dogs cannot digest plastic of any kind. So, they should never eat it.

But, as any dog owner knows, dogs can be very sneaky when it comes to chewing on things that shouldn’t be chewed.

You may not know that your dog ate plastic until he passes a small object in his stool, is unable to eat, and/or starts throwing up. This often indicates an intestinal blockage.

Depending on the size and type of plastic object that your dog ate, the situation may or may not be urgent. But either way, you should contact your vet straight away.

Ways of Removal

You may be able to induce your dog to regurgitate a small/soft plastic object. But you should only ever do this if your vet tells you to. It can be very dangerous to make your dog throw up if you don’t do it properly.

If your dog has swallowed a larger or sharp object, there might not be much you can do to help from home. You may need to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the types of plastic objects that dogs often eat. Sometimes, making these items as inaccessible as possible is the best solution.

We will also discuss what happens if your dog ate plastic.

Then give you advice so he receives proper care quickly, and how you can prevent a similar problem in the future.

Exactly What to Do If Your Pet Eats Something Toxic

Having a plan could save your furry friend's life.

No one wants to think about their furry friend lapping up paint thinner or laundry detergent. But accidental pet poisonings happen — and they’re more common than you might think.

Last year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center received more than 180,000 calls from pet owners whose dogs or cats ingested something toxic. And that’s just one national hotline — that doesn’t factor in the countless pet poisoning cases handled by local veterinarians.

That’s why it’s important to be prepared. Here’s what you should do if your dog or cat gets into something she shouldn’t. Plus, the one thing you should never do if you suspect that your pet has consumed a poisonous substance.

How to Help a Dog Pass an Obstruction

Last Updated: October 1, 2020

This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University.

This article has been viewed 143,397 times.

If your dog ingests something it shouldn't, that item can block its digestive system. In some cases, you can help your dog pass the obstruction naturally. However, there are cases when a gastrointestinal blockage needs to be removed by a veterinarian. As a dog owner, you need to decide whether you can help your dog pass an obstruction or whether you need to get it veterinary care. With your support, some potential obstructions can move through your dog's body without harming the animal and without intervention from a veterinarian. However, taking your dog to the vet as soon as you realize it swallowed something it shouldn't will create the best outcome for your pet.

Watch the video: Pet Tips - Bone Removal (July 2021).