How bizarre but entirely alarming. That squeaker, which, let’s be honest, was starting to get a little bit annoying, has now found its way into your dog’s stomach. It’s concerning. It also naturally leads to questions about what will happen – if dogs can pass it, whether or not you need to do anything specific. Well, here is exactly how you will need to approach it.
So, what should you do if your dog has eaten the squeaker from their toy? If your dog has eaten the squeaker in their toy, call your vet immediately. It typically takes around 2 hours before a squeaker reaches the intestines, at which point expensive (and lengthy) surgery may be required to save your dog’s life.
You know what you need to do.
Make that call.
Don’t take any chances here. Nor waste any time.
From there you can always continue reading below about what could potentially happen, perhaps even bookmark this page to refer back to it later (or at least read it once the call has been makde)
But get your dog seen. That’s the priority.
What Will Happen To A Dog That Eats A Squeaker From A Toy?
Various things can happen to a dog that eats a squeaker from a toy. Sometimes he can pass the squeaker without coming to any harm, but other times he might choke. His digestive tract could also get blocked. The types of rubber found in some squeakers can cause other health problems.
Your Dog Might Choke
If the squeaker is too big for your dog to swallow, he might struggle to breathe and start choking.
If you see your dog in this situation, try performing a Heimlich maneuver on him.
Sometimes a dog can still breathe through the blockage but might be coughing or gagging in an attempt to dislodge the squeaker.
Squeakers are small enough that they can easily get caught in a dog’s throat.
Your Dog’s Digestive Tract Might Become Blocked
Squeakers can sometimes lodge themselves in your dog’s digestive tract, whether it’s the stomach, intestines, or bowel.
A blocked intestinal tract has serious consequences, such as:
- Bloated abdomen
- Inflamed abdomen (peritonitis, usually fatal)
- Kidney failure (usually fatal)
Because dogs have the instinct to hide weaknesses such as feeling ill, you might not even know something is wrong until it’s too late to intervene.
Here are some symptoms that your dog is in trouble:
- Pawing at his mouth (in an effort to dislodge the squeaker).
- Having difficulty defecating (straining, hunching, etc.)
- Drooling more than usual.
- Not eating.
- Panting, rapid breathing.
- Lethargy (often due to dehydration or pain).
- Abdomen is sensitive to t.he touch (some dogs growl or show other signs of aggression if you try to touch their sore abdomen).
Can A Dog Pass A Plastic Squeaker?
If the squeaker is small and your dog isn’t too big, your dog might be able to pass it on his own. However, if you are in any doubt, this is one of those situations that requires quick veterinary action.
Even if the squeaker is small compared to the size of your dog, it could still get stuck, and you wouldn’t be able to tell until it’s too late to save your dog.
Quick action is required in order to avoid bigger problems.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Pass a Squeaker?
It can take a dog anywhere from 10 to 72 hours to pass a squeaker – but if his digestive system is blocked, there is the possibility he could die within 72 hours.
Just because your dog can potentially pass a squeaker doesn’t mean you should wait.
Your dog might be in extreme pain or discomfort, and the risks simply aren’t worth it.
It takes only 2 hours for a squeaker to reach the intestines (if it doesn’t get stuck), at which point expensive surgery is required if your dog can’t pass it on his own.
Large dogs can pass small squeakers in their feces within 2 days, but you have no way of knowing whether the squeaker will get stuck or not.
The smaller the dog, the less likely he’ll be able to pass the squeaker on his own.
In addition, squeakers aren’t meant for consumption, so some contain toxic chemicals for dogs.
This is even more true for toys that have not been made for animals, such as children’s toys.
One chemical to be wary of is BPA (Bisphenol A), which can cause unnatural changes to the bacteria that live in your dog’s gut.
BPA can also cause changes to your dog’s metabolism.
Dogs love squeakers, so they are tempted by these toys and have no awareness of the risks involved with having a good munch on them!
Another danger of waiting for your dog to pass the squeaker is sharp edges: you don’t know if your dog has chewed off bits before eating it.
Any sharp edges could pierce his intestines or bowel and be fatal.
What To Do Now That Your Dog Has Eaten A Squeaker
You need to act quickly if your dog has eaten a squeaker. Depending on the size of your dog, the consequences could range from none to fatal.
What To Do Yourself
Here are the steps to take now that your dog has eaten a squeaker:
- Call your vet right away. You have about 2 hours before the squeaker reaches the intestines.
- If your vet is unavailable, call your local emergency vet clinic or pet clinic.
- If no-one local is available, in the US you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-213-6680 or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
- Do NOT induce vomiting yourself unless instructed to do so by your vet. You could cause more damage to your pet, even if he vomits up the squeaker.
- If you think the squeaker is still in your dog’s mouth, be very careful if you try and remove the squeaker yourself. Open his mouth and check the back of his throat. If you can remove the squeaker without forcing it, you can do so. If not, you risk causing severe harm to your dog’s throat, or you could even cause the squeaker to move further down his throat and cause him to choke.
Things Your Vet Might Do
If fewer than 2 hours have passed since your dog has eaten the squeaker, your vet might be able to induce vomiting.
And if the squeaker is stuck further up in your dog’s esophagus, your vet might be able to take it out safely so that it doesn’t go further down.
Depending on your dog’s symptoms and how much time has passed, here are some procedures your vet might carry out:
- A physical check (this is often the first step, regardless)
- An endoscopy (putting a tiny camera either up your dog’s rectum or down his throat)
- An ultrasound
- A barium study (if your vet suspects an intestinal blockage. Your dog will be fed barium so that your vet can see whether it passes through his digestive tract or not, using X-rays)
Your vet may also give your dog some antibiotics or something else to help reduce any inflammation.
In some cases, your vet will say your dog can pass the squeaker himself.
If your dog needs surgery, this will most likely be lengthy and expensive.
Your vet will have to remove parts of the intestine or bowel if the squeaker has gotten stuck, and then he’ll have to sew the rest back together.
The prognosis is usually good if your vet can repair internal damage before peritonitis sets in.
After surgery, your dog will need a lot of TLC, a special diet containing bland foods that are easy to digest, and perhaps extra pain medication.
Be sure to observe your dog for 72 hours after surgery to avoid complications like:
- Hypoalbuminemia (a low protein count in the blood)
- Dehiscence (the separating or opening of a wound)
- Sepsis (blood poisoning – which can be fatal if left unattended)
Your vet may also prescribe medication to help with any nausea your dog may be experiencing.
It’s worth knowing that acting quickly to avoid surgery – even if you’re in doubt as to whether your dog has swallowed a squeaker or not – is in your dog’s best interests.
Anesthesia has its own set of risks which are best avoided where possible, which is why surgery is a last resort.
How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Squeakers In The Future
Here are some simple things to do to avoid your dog eating squeakers in the future:
- If your dog finds squeakers irresistible, find other types of toys. As much as you want your dog to be happy, you may be better off finding alternatives for his play if he’s a ‘squeaker eater.’ Hard Kong balls stuffed with treats, puzzle toys, and other toys can be just as much fun. Avoid rope toys, though, as those aren’t safe for dogs – they can swallow strands of string with disastrous results.
- Supervise your dog when he has a squeaker (or any other) toy. If you are there with him, you can make sure he hasn’t yet broken the toy to get at the squeaker.
- Throw away any squeaker toys as soon as you notice any damage. Even a few punctures can be enough for a dog to quickly open up a squeaker toy and swallow the inside. Change any damaged toys and keep substitutes on hand.
Note: Despite what some websites recommend, do not be tempted to use a muzzle when you aren’t around. If your dog chews a lot when you aren’t home, he’s likely stressed, bored, or anxious – in which case, address those situations first. A happy dog is less apt to destroy things when left alone.
Why Do Dogs Eat the Squeaker?
Dogs are attracted to squeakers and want to eat them because their noise simulates the sound their prey makes when they catch an animal in the wild.
Let’s briefly look at why a dog would even do this.
That way you can hopefully prevent an episode like this, in the future.
Squeakers Sound Like Prey
In the wild, dogs hunt and kill small animals, who squeak with fright or pain.
Our domesticated dogs have the same hunting instincts, and the sound of a squeaker is similar to the sound their prey makes as they chomp down on it and carry it off to eat it.
Your dog’s instinct is to hunt down, catch, carry and tear up his prey – so he’ll be tempted to do the same with his squeaky toy.
Squeakers Provide An Instant Reward
With a squeaker, dogs get an instant auditory reward as they chomp on it to get it to squeak.
For a dog, this sound is rewarding and feels good to hear, so he wants to do it again and again.
Squeaky toys make sounds that release feel-good chemicals for dogs – just like exercise releases dopamine for humans.
High-Pitched And Low-Pitched Squeaky Toys
High-pitched squeaky toys tend to incite a dog to act more, whereas low-pitched squeaky toys have a more calming effect.
Some dogs have a strong preference for one or the other.
So now you know what to do, and why your dog has eaten it to begin with.
Act swiftly, and your chances of a full recovery and a swift elimination drastically increase.
I don’t mean to scare you, but it couldn’t be said any other way.
Over to your vet.
Other related guides you may need to check out:
- Dog Ate Toy Stuffing [What You Now Need To Do]
- Dog Ate Piece Of Fabric Toy [What You Must Now Do]
- Dog Ate String From Rope Toy [What You Now Need To Do]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.