We’ve all been in situations where our dogs ate something that they weren’t supposed to.
And while others might not seem that dangerous, seeing them swallow a piece of metal like aluminum foil can scare the hell out of anybody!
So what should you do after your dog eats aluminum foil? Your first action should be to remain calm. Aluminum is not toxic to dogs and is not dangerous in small quantities. Assess your dog for signs of choking. If they seem okay, carefully monitor them for the next few days. Most dogs will poop out the foil, but if they miss a few bathroom trips, call their vet immediately.
But how should you monitor your dog’s condition? And how do you recognize if the aluminum is causing any trouble in your dog’s digestive system?
Keep reading ahead to find out!
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Aluminum Foil?
Witnessing your dog eat aluminum foil or other non-food items can be extremely alarming for owners.
If you just saw your dog eat a piece of foil too, firstly know that aluminum foil directly isn’t toxic or poisonous to dogs. So remain calm and keep a constant eye on your dog.
See if your dog is coughing or panicking because they could be choking on the piece of foil. If so, try to dislodge the piece of aluminum by performing the Heimlich maneuver, calling an animal emergency hotline, or taking them to their vet immediately.
But if your dog seems to be stable and breathing, continue reading the article to learn what to do next.
Hazards Of Aluminum Foil For Dogs
Although aluminum itself isn’t poisonous or harmful to dogs, it can cause some complications. In most cases, it’s not the foil, but what’s on it that creates an issue. Anyways, it’s crucial that you know what you’re dealing with if your dog has accidentally ingested some aluminum foil:
1. The foil could cause your dog to choke
The primary hazard of consuming aluminum foil is choking. When we throw away foil, we usually crumple it into a ball. If your dog eats it, the piece of foil could potentially get stuck in their throat. Smaller dogs are particularly at risk of this because even a tiny bit of foil could choke them.
2. The foil could cause an intestinal blockage
Another danger of eating foil, particularly for smaller dogs, is that it could cause an intestinal blockage. However, this only happens when your dog has ingested a large piece of foil, like a crumpled ball. Smaller pieces can make their way through the digestive system comparatively easily.
Intestinal blockage is also more of a risk for smaller-sized dogs. Because their intestines are narrower, even smaller pieces of foil can clog them up. You can usually diagnose intestinal blockage by identifying symptoms that we’ll discuss later on.
3. The food on the foil could poison your dog
If your dog ate some aluminum foil, your priority should be to figure out what was on it above everything else. Do a proper investigation of the area where your dog ate the foil if you can’t remember what it was wrapping.
If you’re sure that the foil only had some oil or meat stuck on it, you shouldn’t worry. But if you’re suspicious that the foil was covered in chocolate, garlic, or other food items toxic to dogs, it could make them very sick.
What To Do After Your Dog Eats Foil
After your dog has eaten some aluminum foil, it’s essential that you calmly assess the situation and act accordingly. Although eating foil is not a grave threat in most cases, it’s still worth keeping an eye out for any signs of trouble. These are as follows:
1. Examine your dog’s behavior and condition
The first thing you should do as soon as you find out your dog has ingested some foil is to do a full inspection of their condition. Right after eating something like aluminum foil, the first thing your dog is at risk of is choking.
Check if they’re making gagging sounds or visibly choking, perform the Heimlich maneuver to clear their airway, take them to any vet, or contact an animal helpline straight away.
Also, check their behavior for any signs of disorientation, fainting, or discomfort. If they seem uncomfortable or uninterested in eating or drinking, take them to a vet as soon as you can.
2. Figure out what and how much they ate
If your dog appears physically and mentally active, it’s time to figure out what kind of foil they ate and how much they ingested. Try to remember what the foil was wrapping, and if it had any food stuck on it.
As long as it was covering something like meat or fruits and was clean, you’re safe. But if it had traces of garlic, chocolate, coffee, or anything that toxic to dogs, your dog could get intoxicated and might need to see a vet.
Small traces of toxins usually don’t cause much trouble, but it’s always better to take your dog to the vet as a precaution if you decide not to keep a close eye on symptoms indicating intoxication.
Also, try and estimate how much foil they ate. If you have a large breed dog that only ate a few small pieces, it should naturally pass on its own. However, a small dog that ate even a few strips of foil might need to be taken to the vet.
3. Keep an eye out on your dog’s digestive system
Once you’re sure that your dog didn’t eat a ton of foil that contained food toxic to them, it’s time to wait for their digestive system to do its work.
Aluminum foil tends to be quite flexible and isn’t too sharp either. So a few small pieces will naturally make their way out of the digestive system on their own. But to confirm that the foil hasn’t created an intestinal blockage, you might want to check their poop for foil remains for a couple of days after they ate it.
Also, try to keep track of how often your dog is pooping. If you notice that they’re going to the toilet less frequently than before, you might need to get them checked by a vet for an intestinal blockage.
Symptoms Of Aluminum Complications
Aside from all the check-ups, you’ll want to keep an eye out for any symptoms which might indicate that your pup is in trouble.
Although it typically takes around 6 to 8 hours for anything to pass through a dog’s digestive system, you should keep a constant check on them for at least a day or two for symptoms like:
- Pain or discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Hyperactivity or panicking
- Difficulty in pooping
All of these symptoms might indicate a problem caused by the aluminum foil. If your dog is displaying at least two to three of these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
Why You Should Take Your Dog To The Vet
Taking your dog to a vet in these circumstances can prevent your dog from potentially long-term damage to their health. A vet will conduct a full check-up of your dog and identify an issue way before it causes harm.
When you take your dog to the veterinarian for aluminum foil ingestion, they’ll initially check your dog’s vitals and overall condition. They’ll also inquire about how much foil they ate and whether there’s a possibility that they’ve ingested something toxic.
Some vets might also do a blood sample. All of this will help identify whether anything is poisoning your dog or not.
After that, your vet will find out where the foil is located and whether it needs manual extraction from your dog’s body. For this, they might do an X-Ray, ultrasound, or an endoscopy depending on what will help locate the foil more accurately.
Most of the time, vets will prescribe some laxatives and anti-toxins to counter the effects of the toxic food and prevent constipation or intestinal blockage. But in some rare cases where the dog has ingested a lot of foil, the vet might have to conduct a surgery to remove it manually.
In any case, taking your dog to the vet will provide you with ease of mind. Whether the issue is life-threatening or not, a vet can potentially save your dog from greater damage in the future.
Can aluminum foil kill a dog?
In most cases, aluminum foil does not kill a dog, especially if it’s consumed in tiny amounts. However, if your dog ingests a larger piece or one which contained toxic food, it could kill your dog if it remains untreated.
Which foods are toxic to dogs?
Toxic foods for dogs include chocolate, coffee, xylitol, garlic, apple seeds, macadamia nuts, raisins, cherry pits, avocados, apricot pits, alcohol, grapes, onions, walnuts, etc.
Can dog’s digest aluminum foil?
A dog’s stomach acid is much stronger than a human and might be able to dissolve a good quantity of aluminum foil. The remaining undissolved pieces usually pass through their feces.
What happens if your dog eats a wrapper?
Like aluminum foil, a wrapper will usually pass through a dog’s digestive system on its own. However, larger wrappers like a bag of chips can potentially create a blockage, especially in smaller breeds.
Why do dogs eat non-consumable items?
If your dog is eating things apart from food, such as dirt, plastic, or foil, they might be suffering from a disorder called Pica.