Help – My Dog Ate Plastic! What Should I Do?

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Dog Health By Ben Team 11 min read December 9, 2020 47 Comments

dog ate plastic

Given the amount of plastic in the average home, it’s not surprising that dogs occasionally choke some down.

Some dogs may eat plastic inadvertently while trying to get their teeth on something delicious, while others may simply find a random piece of plastic intriguing and decide to have a nibble.

This isn’t always a serious problem – very small pieces will often pass right through your dog’s system. But in other cases, it can cause very serious health problems. Some dogs may even die after eating plastic.

We’ll explain the dangers plastic poses below and explain what you’ll want to do if you discover your dog has eaten some.

Help! My Dog Ate Plastic: Key Takeaways

  • The consumption of plastic is very dangerous for dogs. Plastic can cause a number of problems, including mouth injuries, choking, gastrointestinal perforations, and intestinal obstructions.
  • You’ll want to take prompt action if you discover that your dog has eaten plastic. You’ll need to start by throwing out any plastic still on the ground and removing any remaining plastic from your dog’s mouth. From there, you’ll need to contact your vet and follow the instructions provided.
  • Dogs eat plastic for a variety of reasons. Some may do so out of boredom, frustration, or curiosity, while puppies may do so because they’re teething.
  • The best way to address plastic consumption is through prevention. Don’t leave plastic items laying around if your dog may chew them up, and be sure to stick to high-quality chew toys.
sick looking dog

Plan of Action: What to Do Following Your Dog’s Plastic-Eating Incident

Follow the steps listed below if you discover that your dog has eaten plastic. By acting quickly, you’ll be able to give your dog the best chance of escaping the ordeal without suffering serious injury.

1. Assess your dog’s condition.

Check to ensure that your doggo is breathing normally and that he isn’t choking on any of the plastic.

Choking is the most acute danger to dogs who have eaten plastic. If he is coughing, gagging or exhibiting panicked behavior, call your vet and head over to the office (or the closest veterinary hospital) immediately.

Be sure to watch your dog’s body posture too. If he is lying in unusual ways, exhibits abdominal pain or appears to be bloated, contact your vet at once.

These types of symptoms may suggest an intestinal obstruction has occurred. This isn’t likely to happen if your dog ate a small piece of plastic when you turned your back for a moment, but it is a distinct possibility if your dog ate the plastic hours before you discovered him.

Life-Saving First Aid

All dog owners should learn how to perform canine CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. It’s also wise to have a first-aid kit for dogs on hand.

2. Open your dog’s mouth and remove any plastic present.

Regardless of how much plastic your dog has already eaten, you don’t want him to swallow any more. Make sure that none of the plastic is stuck between his teeth or stuck to the roof of his mouth.

If you don’t feel comfortable or safe putting your hands in your dog’s mouth, just hop in the car and head over to the vet.

It’s important to ensure that your dog’s mouth is plastic-free, but you don’t want to complicate matters by getting your fingers nipped.

3. Recreate the scene of the crime.

Once you are reasonably confident that your dog isn’t in imminent danger (meaning that he can breathe and doesn’t appear to be in serious pain or distress), you’ll want to try to figure out how much plastic he’s eaten.

It’s also important to determine the type of plastic he swallowed – there’s a big difference between the hard plastic of your TV remote and the plastic used in sandwich bags.

So, examine the evidence available (there will often be small pieces of whatever he consumed on the ground) and try to determine what he ate and how much of it he managed to choke down.

It is also important to determine what, if anything, could have been on the plastic, as this may represent an additional danger. Was the plastic he ate used to wrap up food? What kind of food was inside the container? Did he eat a plastic bottle containing household chemicals?

Important information!

If your dog consumes anything that contains batteries, you’ll want to head to your vet immediately.

Batteries are corrosive, and they can cause internal bleeding and life-threating burns.

4. Contact your vet and explain what happened.

Now that you have determined that your dog isn’t in acute distress, and you’ve figured out what kind of plastic he’s eaten (as well as the quantity of plastic), you’ll want to call your vet.


Your vet will consider all of the relevant factors, determine the relative risk of serious problems, and recommend a prudent course of action.

Need Veterinary Help Fast?

Don’t have easy access to a vet? You may want to consider getting help from JustAnswer — a service that provides instant virtual-chat access to a certified vet online.

You can discuss the issue with them, and even share video or photos if need be. The online vet can help you determine what your next steps should be.

While talking with your own vet — who understands the ins and outs of your dog’s history — is probably ideal, JustAnswer is a good backup option.

If your 150-pound Newfie gobbled down a bit of a sandwich bag (and, presumably, the sandwich contained therein), but is running around like his normal goofball self and eating normally, your vet may simply recommend keeping an eye on him. Chances are, a small bit of thin, flexible plastic will pass right through his intestines without difficulty.

On the other hand, if your 12-pound wiener dog chewed up a DVD case, you may need to bring your pup in. The hard plastic may damage his esophagus, stomach, or intestines, and because he’s a small pup, he is more likely to suffer from an obstruction and be unable to eliminate the plastic he consumed.

What Dangers Does Plastic Represent For Dogs?

Plastic can cause a few different types of problems for dogs who eat it. Some of the most notable issues plastic can cause include:

  • Plastic can cause your dog to choke if it gets stuck in his mouth or throat.
  • Plastic can cause an intestinal blockage, thereby preventing food and water from passing through his system.
  • Plastic pieces may cut or injure your dog’s mouth, throat, stomach, intestines or rectum.
  • Plastic may be coated with or contaminated by substances that are toxic, including everything from chocolate to antifreeze.
  • Plastic may damage your dog’s teeth.

Fortunately, you usually won’t have to worry about the plastic itself being toxic.

It’s difficult to make broad generalizations about plastic, as there are so many different forms it takes, but most are indigestible. This is part of the reason plastic is such an environmental nightmare – it lasts for years, as most types don’t readily break down.

Symptoms of Concern Post Plastic Eating

The plan of action discussed earlier should help you determine the correct course of action for your plastic-eating dog, but if you notice any of the following signs, head to the vet’s office immediately:

  • Vomiting – especially if it occurs repeatedly
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Strange body postures
  • Panicked behavior
  • Incessant crying or whining
  • Diarrhea – especially if it occurs repeatedly or contains blood
  • Failure to produce stools at all

Should You Make Your Dog Vomit?

Many pet parents wonder if it would be appropriate to induce vomiting in dogs who’ve eaten plastic.

This is normally a bad idea, as the plastic may not be able to pass back through the esophagus easily. The strong muscular contractions that accompany vomiting may cause the plastic pieces to damage your dog’s insides.

In general, it is never a good idea to induce vomiting unless your vet instructs you to do so.

Veterinary Treatment For Ingesting Plastic

Once you arrive at the vet’s office, the staff will likely check your dog’s vitals and take a history.

They’ll want to know about the plastic he consumed as well as any symptoms he’s exhibited since then (so keep any remaining plastic pieces with you and bring them in).

Your vet may then use imaging technology (such as an ultrasound or X-ray) to look for clues that’ll indicate where the plastic is inside his body and whether or not it is likely to cause an obstruction. However, X-rays aren’t always conclusive, as plastic does not always show well on them.

If your vet thinks the plastic will pass on its own, he or she may discharge your pet and instruct you to observe him closely. In other cases, your vet may recommend admitting your dog, so he can be observed closely while trying to pass the plastic.

If the plastic needs to be removed, your vet has a few different options. In some cases, it may be possible to retrieve the plastic by using an endoscope (a thin, flexible camera with an attachment that’ll allow your vet to grab the plastic).

Endoscopes can be inserted into your dog’s body via his mouth or rectum, so this will help your dog avoid the stress associated with surgery.

However, surgical removal may be necessary in some cases. It is also possible that your vet will need to repair any damage the plastic has caused.

Once the plastic has been removed, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help prevent any infection from developing. He or she will likely recommend that you keep your dog calm and quiet for several days afterward, to help allow his body to rest.

It may be necessary to adjust the way you provide food and water for a few days or weeks too – particularly if your dog has suffered damage to his intestines.

Will You See the Plastic in Your Dog’s Poop?

If your dog only eats a small piece of plastic, it may very well pass through his body like anything else he eats. Except that the plastic will likely look just like it did when your dog ate it.

However, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily see it once it comes out. It is quite possible that the plastic will be folded up inside some of your dog’s poop.

Why Do Dogs Eat Plastic?

Dogs munch on plastic for a variety of reasons. By familiarizing yourself with the reasons they do so, you can likely take steps to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.

Some of the most common reasons dogs eat plastic include:


Dogs who don’t enjoy enough mental stimulation can become very bored. This can lead to a variety of destructive habits, including chewing or eating inappropriate things.

Prevent this by ensuring that your dog gets enough attention on a daily basis and you provide him with plenty of things to stimulate his brain.



Some dogs eat plastic inadvertently while trying to access the delicious things the plastic contains. This includes things like the packaging used in TV dinners and similar foods, plastic sandwich bags, and Tupperware-style containers.

The best way to prevent these types of problems is by simply keeping foods put away in places your dog can’t reach. If your dog has a habit of digging through the trash, opt for a dog-proof trash can that keeps him out.


Young puppies will chew on whatever they can find while they’re going through the teething process. Some will decide that shoes, sticks, or couch cushions make the perfect teething ring, but others may find plastic household items more enjoyable.

Just make sure that your young puppy has a safe teething chew toy that he likes to reduce the chances that he’ll chew on inappropriate things.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs suffer from severe separation anxiety anytime their people leave the home. Dogs will do a number of things to help soothe their frazzled nerves during these times, and for many, this means chewing on something.

Often times, dogs who are distressed about their owner’s departure will decide to chew on something that smells like their owner.

I had a Lab a while back who could not stand to be away from me. She destroyed a wide variety of items over time, but she seemed especially fond of TV remotes. I always wondered why she picked those until it occurred to me that they were coated in the scent of my hands.


Pica is a medical condition in which dogs eat inedible items. Some dogs with pica eat rocks and others eat fabrics, but some will find plastic items irresistible.

Pica can be challenging to treat, so be sure to work with your vet and an animal behaviorist to address the issue.

Be Sure to Use Durable Chew Toys

Many dogs who end up ingesting plastic do so after ripping one of their toys to shreds (many chew toys are made from plastic).

Accordingly, you’ll want to be sure that you only provide your dog with the safest and most durable dog toys available.


There aren’t any completely indestructible chew toys – even the most resilient models will fail to hold up to the jaws of power-chewing pups. But, by sticking to high-quality toys that are specifically designed for aggressive chewers, you can reduce the chances of problems.

It is also important to note that it is usually wise to provide your dog with the largest toy he can handle. This will help prevent him from tearing it apart and reduce the chances that he’ll swallow the entire thing.


Don’t panic if you discover that your dog ate some plastic. Many dogs will pass the plastic normally without suffering any harm.

Even if your dog suffers serious complications after eating the plastic, your vet will likely be able to address the issue and give your dog a good chance at a full recovery.

Has your dog ever eaten something plastic? How did it turn out? Did he need veterinary attention, or did he simply pass the plastic in his poop? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

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Written by

Ben Team

Ben is the senior content editor for K9 of Mine and has spent most of his adult life working as a wildlife educator and animal-care professional. Ben’s had the chance to work with hundreds of different species, but his favorite animals have always been dogs. He currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his spoiled-rotten Rottweiler named J.B. Chances are, she’s currently giving him the eyes and begging to go to the park.


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My German shepherd ate an ice wrapper. Is it dangerous?

Ben Team

That could be, Ritchy. We’d recommend giving your vet a call and watching your pooch closely.
Our fingers are crossed for you!

Ngoyou Victor

My dog have eating plastic and is not coming out for over 4days today is not coming out am in africa

Ben Team

Hey there, Ngoyou.
That sounds concerning. We’d recommend taking your dog in to the vet.
If you don’t have a vet you can reach, you may want to consider calling JustAnswer’s Vet Service.
Best of luck!


My dog ate this extremely salty cheese block along with the thick plastic wrap. He has been walking funny for 2 days now. Should I take him to the vet? It was thick plastic and I’m thinking it may be stuck inside him, not sure though.

Ben Team

Hey, Petros. Absolutely! Anytime your dog eats something unusual and then acts strangely, you should at least call your vet, if you don’t just jump in the car.
Our fingers are crossed for your pooch! Let us know how it goes.

Reina Melendez

My 5 month old puppy, German Shepard/Shar pei, mix destroyed a plastic chew toy and seems like he ate some of the pieces. He has a bad cough like if it’s stuck in his throat. We tried to make him vomit but nothing has came out. He is acting fine like still being active and eating good. He sleeps normal, just wakes up randomly through the night to cough.. What should I do?

Ben Team

Hey, Reina.
That sounds pretty concerning. We’d recommend giving your vet a call ASAP.
Our fingers are crossed for your pooch!


How long does take for symptoms take to show if my 11 lb matlese. Ate the snap plastic piece on the back of a hat ? A friend left his hat on my chair and I didn’t notice it until he already ate it.
He ate the plastic pieces 2 nites ago.. he is very energetic & eating & drinking. I hope he passes it. this happened before and had to have surgery from a sock string


My 18 lb two year old pug just ate about 12 of those one inch plastic things that are in cupboards to position shelves. We are very worried. She is fine so far. We called the vet and they said to watch her and she will hopefully pass these objects. We are worried because they have that L shape and could potential puncture something.

Ben Team

Best of luck, Trish! Our fingers are crossed for your little pug!


40 hours have passed. So far she is acting normal and she has not pooped out the objects. We continue to worry.

Ben Team

Ugh. That’s certainly concerning, Trish. It is probably a good sign that she is still acting OK, but it may be worth another call to the vet, just to be on the safe side.
Keep us updated!


My 10 month old Shiba pup ate some small pieces of plastic (my fault completely); he choked for 30 seconds or so, then he was fine. I think it may have got stuck in his throat; appears to have have passed through. Now rule #1 (after reading this eye-opening article) is no more plastic anything !!!


Hi! My dog ate a few pieces of hard plastic, this morning she threw them up and she’s not very active now, is it to be concerned about?

Ben Team

Hey, Scarlett.
That does sound concerning. We’d recommend getting your vet on the phone ASAP.
Our fingers are crossed for your pooch!


My 20 pound pit bull (3 months) ate the plastic of my SnapBack hat? I have an appt to see vet in in 3 days should I go see him sooner??

Ben Team

Hey, Vicious. Sorry for our late reply; we’ve had an issue with our comment section software.
That’s a fairly significant piece of plastic for such a small dog. We’d recommend giving your vet a call and asking him or her.
However, if your pup exhibits any troubling symptoms — stomach upset, vomiting, signs of discomfort, inability to poop — you’ll want to head over to the vet’s office immediately.
Our fingers are crossed for your pooch!

Denise Schoonmaker

This is helpful I wish I googled this earlier when it happened on Tuesday my dog Tuco 1yr old I hooked him up on his lead in the front yard I did not get a chance to scan my yard of garbage that blows in from an alleyway behind a plaza. Anyway he got what looked like saran wrap hanging from his mouth when I saw it I ran to him and said no he looked at me and gobbled it up. I reached in and nothing was in his mouth. He ate and drank water, pooped and pee’d. I had to go somewhere he went in his crate on Thursday when I got home I thought he had an accident on his matt in crate it was soaked. Then on Friday I had an appointment he went in crate again when I got home he threw up liquid 3x that’s when I realized he threw up the other day not urine. I still didn’t put it together that it was from the plastic it was still liquid. He has acted normally and is eating, pooping, peeing. I’ve been watching his poop to see if it passes. I have noticed his poop darker than normal in some pieces could that be the plastic wrap passing? He also will eat napkins or tissues and when he passes that it is usually darker in spots. Do I still need to worry about him? I don’t see any bloating, he is active. I have been putting coconut oil on his food so that it will help pass if he still has it in his belly.

Ben Team

Hey, Denise. Honestly, multiple vomiting sessions is pretty concerning.
We’d recommend giving your vet a call just to be on the safe side.
Best of luck with Tuco!

Gabby the Beagie

My Jack Russell Beagle mix ate strings of plastic from a balloon weight I kept giving her food Andy fluids luckily she said eating and drinking it.She means the world to me and I’ll do anything for her and I found your article VERY helpful,anything she does I always go to your website.

paul scott

my dog bit off a piece of a plastic spoon, there are sharp edges, what should I watch for?

Ben Team

Hey, Paul.
It would probably be a good idea to go ahead and call your vet if you believe the plastic had sharp edges. Especially if you notice your dog seems to be in pain or is experiencing repeated vomiting, bloody stools, or straining while trying to poop.
Let us know how it goes! Our fingers are crossed for your pooch.


Hi there,
My 11 week old puppy ate a piece of my rubber/plastic material of my shoe. She’s sleeping now (it’s late) and has not vomited. Should I head to the vet or wait?

Ben Team

Hey, Amanda.
It’s probably a good idea to call your vet, just to be on the safe side. He or she may advise you to bring your pup in, but it is also possible you’ll be advised to just wait and see if your pup passes it naturally.
Best of luck!


My puppy he is 3 months old and we noticed he 2as pooping out peices of plastic and now he is throwing up and refusing to eat or drink and is acting lethargic I really need help with this I am so worried and have no way to get to a vet.

Ben Team

Hey, Mikki.
That sounds frightening. Sorry we didn’t see your comment sooner, but I think you need to get over to the vet immediately — this may be a life or death issue.
Our fingers are crossed for your pup!

Lisa Ha

Hi Ben,
“Many pet parents wonder if it would be appropriate to induce vomiting in dogs who’ve eaten plastic.

This is normally a bad idea, as the plastic may not be able to pass back through the esophagus easily.”

I think it’s not so bad for all. For example, my pup ate the plastic bag then auto vomit, then him almost OK and back to play as well.
Thanks for share your ideas.

boogie the cute corgie

my 20lb corgie loves to destroy squeeky toys and eat the squeekers and sometimes the stuffing. should i be concerned? he chews them up in pretty small pieces so i dont think they get stuck in his body.

Ben Team

Hey, Boogie! Or should I say, “Arf! Bark, Arf, Arf!”

I’d strongly recommend that you stop eating the toys your pupper parent buys you! Not only can that get expensive for them, you may get part of them stuck in your digestive tract.
But, while you’re learning not to chew up your toys, have your mom or dad read this article about chew toys for aggressive chewers. They may be able to find one that will stand up to your strong chompers and keep you safe.



My 50kg Alaskan Malamute at 7x 15g milk chocolate frogs but also the plastic wrap that is over each of them.

What’s the best procedure from here?

Maria Bonser

A plastic tray for whitening teeth has gone missing & the other one was in my dogs bed.I suspect that she has chewed it up & eaten it.She had very bad diorreah on Sundayour but managed to drink & eat properly after two days of an upset stomach

Ben Team

Hey, Maria. Sorry about your mischievous pupper!
It sounds like your pet may be feeling a bit better, but don’t hesitate to contact your vet if you see anymore troubling symptoms. And this is particularly true if your pooch ingested any of the cleaning chemicals associated with the trays.
Best of luck! Let us know how it goes!


My 6.5lb yorkie ate a chapstick tube (I believe – I only found the chewed up cap) – packaging and contents. He had diarrhea this morning. He’s been a little lethargic but otherwise seems fine. Letting me know when he needs to go out, excited for treats, and drinking water. Should I be concerned?


Hey! My daschund puppy ate a small, soft plastic button from my button headphones. What to do?


Amanda my chihuahua swallowed a ear plugg. What did you do for you puppy.


My dog has eaten whole plastic bag that can posses 1kg of things in it. He has vomit,diarrohea and is not eating anything and having problem while pooping. What to do i am in serious help

Ben Team

Hi, Gyangmi. That is really concerning. I’d get over to the vet immediately.
Good luck! Our fingers are crossed for your pup!

Ben Team

Hi, Gyangmi. That is really concerning. I’d get over to the vet immediately.
Good luck! Our fingers are crossed for your pup!


so if my puppy accidentally ate a plastic nipple while bottle feeding would it pass on its own?

Ben Team

Hey, Howdy.
That’s pretty concerning. A feeding nipple is rather big and bulky. I’d recommend giving your vet a call pronto.
Best of luck! Our fingers are crossed for your pup!

Peggy Brown

My dog ate the plastic blood catching sheet under the raw chicken wrappings.

Ben Team

Hey, Peggy. That sounds like you should give your vet a ring. The plastic is one issue, but salmonella and other germs may be a problem too.
Let us know how it goes!

Ben Team

Hey, Peggy. That sounds like you should give your vet a ring. The plastic is one issue, but salmonella and other germs may be a problem too.
Let us know how it goes!

Brian Thomas

This is highly inaccurate and really unhelpful.

Ben Team

Hey, Brian. Sorry you didn’t find the article helpful, but it is accurate.
Do you have any specific questions or criticisms you’d like to discuss?
Hope your pooch is OK!


The article is “spot on” and very helpful.


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