14 January 2013

Silica Gel Sachets Are These Poisonous To Dogs?

It is a fairly common situation that a dog will swallow a silica gel desiccant sachet, but how dangerous is this? Will this be toxic to my pet, should I take her to an ER straight away? Will this hurt my dog if it ate one?  Will this make my dogs sick, what symptoms would be expected and what should I do in this sort of situation in terms of treatment?

1. The good news is that despite the fact that these silica sachets are marked " do not eat " their contents are in fact completely inert and non-toxic, so problems are very rare when dogs swallow them, most dogs will get away with this without suffering any adverse symptoms.

These packs are attractive to dogs as they are often in food packs such as such beef jerky and become infused with the smell of the food.

2. However, it would be only wise to keep an eye on your dog and if any odd symptoms arise you should contact your local vet without delay. In my experience this would be very unlikely indeed in relation to these sorts of silica gel sachet.

3. Silica gel is considered biologically inert so when swallowed either by animals or people in most cases no symptoms would be seen. However, in theory, there are three potentially serious scenarios as far as swallowing silica gel sachets goes. { I personally have never seen any such problems }

A. The animal swallows so many of the sachets or granules that an intestinal tract obstruction occurs.

B. Where the sachets have been in drug containers they have absorbed not only the moisture but some active element of the drug as well and with very toxic drugs this could be a problem.

C. Some dogs have suffered a gastro-enteritis after swallowing the granules but in most cases, this would be likely to be transient and minor.

4. The bottom line here is if you think your dog is showing any odd symptoms after swallowing or being exposed to these granules you should have your local vet check your dog over without delay, better safe than sorry. However, I can tell you that over a close to a thirty year period I have advised on this many times and have never really recall experience any animal any experiencing serious problems from swallowing these sachets.

I hope this article has been of interest to you.

Dr Scott