09 September 2018

My dog just ate a wooden toothpick, is this dangerous?

My dog swallowed a toothpick, what should you do? Should I take him to the vet? Will this hurt her? Will this cause harm? What can I do at home? Is this an emergency?

toothpick dog swallowed ate.
I am sometimes asked about dogs which have swallowed toothpicks.
This is actually a fairly common event as toothpicks are often used to hold together appetising snacks such as cheese or ham and of course when these are left lying about after a party then a dog can get hold of them. They also sometimes find them in the trash.

Surprisingly enough my experience is that most dogs seem to get away with this sort of incident, somehow the toothpicks just seem to manage to pass along the dog's alimentary tract without causing much of a problem. I rather suspect they soften to some degree in the gastric juices.

So how should you handle this situation? Well firstly, do not try to induce vomiting to recover the toothpick as sharp objects like this could cause problems in the throat tissue on the way back up. But feed your dog quite a few slices of bread or some mashed potato ASAP, the idea is that this will form around and cushion the toothpick as it passes along your dog's intestinal tract and this will help protect the intestinal tract lining.

I know this is an unpleasant task but you should examine your dog's faeces over the next few days to make sure the toothpick has passed.

But be aware that there is an obvious potential for a problem to occur here. You should carefully monitor your dog over the next three or four days and look out for symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, anorexia, signs of abdominal pain or straining and of course if such occur contact your local vet without delay. The danger is that this sort of object could penetrate the intestinal tract which would be a very serious situation. However, as I said at the start in my experience many dogs do somehow seem to get away with these sorts of incidents.

I hope this article has been of use to you ...

Dr Scott