After listening to your favorite soundtrack of binaural beats as part of your nightly self-care routine, you place your trusty AirPods squarely in the middle of your bedside table.
For a moment, you debate whether to store them safely into their case. Getting sleepier by the second, you decide against it and leave them as they are.
Following a wonderful night’s rest, you reach for your AirPods to start the morning with some motivational classical… but all you end up grasping is air.
You search frantically around the room, certain that the AirPods should be where you left them, but your efforts are fruitless until a sudden realization literally springs to mind.
The bedroom door swings open as your dog runs to you with an excited grin on his face. You’re awake!
You’ve seen that grin before. It’s the same one that he had when he ate your LEGO pieces. Your latex gloves. Your anticonvulsant medication.
After putting two and two together, you bemoan with all-too-familiar dread, “Now my dog ate AirPods!”
As stressful as it can be when your dog swallows AirPods, it should be fine in the majority of cases. Small, rounded objects like AirPods and ear plugs usually pass through a canine’s digestive tract without any significant issues.
In rare cases, your dog may experience choking or a foreign body obstruction in their intestines- especially if they are a smaller breed or a small puppy.
If you are unsure whether your dog actually ingested the AirPods, you can always play some music on maximum volume and put your ear to their stomach to check.
Take them to the vet for an examination, and your unlucky earbuds will light up on the screen if they’re there! Doing so and providing immediate medical attention will prevent any unfavorable consequences from occurring, however unlikely that might be.
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What Will Happen If My Dog Ate AirPods?
In the majority of cases? Absolutely nothing will happen.
AirPods are usually small and tapered enough to be able to pass through a dog’s digestive system without any issues.
Seriously, they measure just 0.94 x 0.86 x 1.22 inches and weigh a grand total of 0.19 ounces– each.
They are not digestible (and therefore non-toxic), and the plastic, silicone, and metal components will not dissolve even in the strongest of stomach acids.
This means that they should eventually be eliminated through the feces, barring any unfortunate setbacks.
With that said,certain situations of AirPod consumption can potentially lead to choking and intestinal blockage. As you might imagine, both of these conditions are considered serious and will need to be dealt with immediately.
Signs of choking after eating AirPods can involve:
- Frantic behavior
- Pawing at the mouth
- Retching or gagging
- Excessive salivation
Clinical signs of an internal obstruction caused by ingestion of foreign bodies include:
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
- Abnormal bowel movements, such as difficulty defecating
- Altered behavior especially when the abdomen is touched
Foreign body obstruction is more likely to occur in small puppies and in smaller/toy breeds since they have narrower internal tracts.
The consequences of a dog eating AirPods will be slightly different depending on whether the pooch swallowed it whole or chewed it to pieces.
Biting and breaking open the AirPods subsequently exposes the materials inside. Some of these individual components can have sharp edges which may scrape along the digestive tract and cause internal injury and inflammation.
The biggest potential danger would likely involve the exposed lithium-ion battery. This is because the battery may react with saliva and generate an electric current. The current then hydrolyzes water and produces hydroxide, a chemical which can cause caustic injuries to the surrounding tissue.
The danger of ingesting AirPods will therefore be less troublesome if your dog swallowed the AirPods in one piece (not that we have a choice!).
If your dog loses their appetite, vomits, or becomes lethargic, consider taking them to the vet. If the AirPods cause internal impediment, your dog may need surgery to remove the foreign material.
Generally speaking though, most dogs should naturally and uneventfully expel the AirPods within a few days- whether that be through its stool or vomit.
Can A Dog Pass An AirPod? How Long Will It Take?
Foreign, indigestible objects such as AirPods or chalk can take on average around 8 to 10 hours before they are released.
However this is only an estimate, and the actual required time can be upwards of 24 hours or more following ingestion of the foreign material.
The rate at which swallowed items are processed in the digestive system will be dependent on certain factors such as the shape, size, and quantity of the ingested material.
For example, items with rounded and smooth surfaces will pass through the intestines faster than an item with hooks, sharp edges or that is large in size.
As there is no definite period before your dog expels the foreign object, it is important then to keep a close eye on your pup till it does. You should consistently check for abnormal behavior, such as a lack of appetite or issues with bowel movement.
If the AirPod does not appear after around 2 days, it may be a good idea to consult with your vet on further steps to be taken and to ask for an examination.
Can Swallowing AirPods Be Fatal?
Swallowing AirPods is not usually life-threatening as they should be small enough to pass through the digestive tract.
However, as already mentioned above, an internal obstruction in smaller breeds and small dogs is possible. This means it is possible for fatal accidents to occur.
The prognosis for an internal blockage will be dependent on several factors, including:
- The location of the AirPods
- How long the AirPods have been causing obstruction
- The state of the AirPods in your dog’s digestive tract
- Your dog’s health condition before ingesting the foreign material
It is always important to contact your vet immediately if symptoms of obstruction (detailed above) begin to show. These signs are indicative of an underlying condition that will need urgent medical attention.
My Dog Swallowed AirPods! What To Do If Your Dog Ate Your AirPods
As soon as you realize that your dog ate AirPods, you should contact your vet to determine the next best course of action.
Generally speaking, however, there are three steps you should take depending on the symptoms your dog displays.
First Step: Respond To Respiratory Issues
If your dog shows signs of choking or any other respiratory issues such as gasping for air or acting frantically, you may need to perform the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the AirPod from its throat.
Here’s a good video to show you how it’s performed on dogs:
If you can, check your dog’s mouth and see if there are any foreign objects obstructing its airway. If you can remove it safely using your fingers only, you should do so immediately.
If you cannot see the object and the Heimlich Maneuver does not dislodge it, contact your vet immediately for further assistance.
Second Step: Induce Vomiting
After assessing your dog’s respiratory condition and confirming that your dog is not choking, you can then induce vomiting if:
- It has been less than 30 minutes since your dog ate the AirPod; and
- You have been professionally advised to do so by your vet.
If 30 minutes have already passed since the ingestion of the AirPod, it will have travelled further down the digestive tract and induced vomiting will no longer be able to bring forth the foreign material.
The second bullet point is also of particular importance as induced vomiting should never be attempted without the express approval of a professionally trained vet.
This is because vomiting can cause more harm than good if done incorrectly and in the wrong circumstances.
To induce vomiting, you will need to use a solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide. The solution can be mixed with bread or milk if your dog cannot take it directly.
Provide a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 10 pounds of bodyweight to induce vomiting. After each dose, encourage your dog to move about to stir up the contents in the stomach.
If your pal doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes, provide a second dose.
If your dog still does not vomit after the second dose, do not attempt to administer another dose. This is because too much hydrogen peroxide can cause discomfort and distress to dogs.
Instead, monitor your dog’s feces over the next two days or so to see if the AirPods have passed.
If you need assistance when inducing vomiting in your dog, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest vet for help.
Third Action: Promote Bowel Movement
While waiting for the AirPod to be expelled, dog owners can consider feeding their dog bulky foods with high fiber content to help facilitate the digestive process.
Starchy foods such as bread, rice and pumpkin paste will wrap around the foreign material, forming a cushion to make it easier to pass through the intestines.
Alternatively, consider enlisting your vet’s expertise first to determine which foods would be best suited to your dog’s circumstances (for instance, see some of the Best Alternatives to the popular Hill’s Prescription Diet I/D range here!).
Over the next 48 hours, consistently monitor your dog’s feces as the AirPods could be mixed within. You may have to poke around a little to reveal them– hey, I never said it was going to be a fun task!
If at any point you start seeing signs of vomiting and abdominal pain in your pup, take it to the vet immediately. Whenever you are feeling uneasy and require advice or confirmation, remember that the vet’s office should always be your first port of call.
What Happens At The Vet?
The vet will firstly analyze your dog’s medical history, and then follow this up with a physical examination.
The examinations may involve X-rays, contrast dyes, blood tests and urine tests.
X-rays and contrast dyes such as barium will help identify the location of the foreign object inside the poor pup’s intestines.
Tests involving blood and urine assess the dog’s general health to determine if the obstruction is causing any issues.
These tests will also help exclude other potential causes such as hormonal abnormalities, infections, or gastroenteritis.
Following an examination of your pet’s current condition, the vet should then provide an appropriate treatment plan and prognosis.
Treatment may involve surgery depending on the location of the obstruction, and hospitalization could be necessary as well in order to monitor your dog over the following days.
If the AirPod had not travelled too far, an endoscopy could be an alternative treatment option used to remove the earbud.
Why Did My Dog Eat AirPods In The First Place?
As touched on above, dogs are curious creatures– and as such are always motivated to investigate new sights and tastes.
This especially applies to puppies, who often attempt to learn what they should and should not eat through practical experience.
Furthermore, dogs are naturally drawn to chewing and biting various objects as it is simply their instinct to do so!
As a dog owner, it’s probably not strange to you at all to have come home to find your dog chewing on strange objects such as deodorant cans , Babybel waxes, and- of course- AirPods.
Without something or someone to interact with while home alone, some dogs can understandably succumb to boredom quite easily. They will then occupy their time by finding something novel to chew on, much to your despair.
On occasion, emotional triggers of abnormal chewing can include stress (such as that created by an endlessly beeping smoke detector) or separation anxiety. For instance, many dogs will find it comforting to chew on items that belong to their owners in order to feel less scared.
Alternatively, dogs may chew on certain objects because of the smell they exude. AirPods are frequently handled and can easily become stained with traces of sauces or foods. This makes the earbuds an attractive target for a canine to bite into and consume.
Teething puppies are also prone to chew on anything they can find in an attempt to reduce the discomfort they experience. The availability of small objects like AirPods subsequently become an enticing option for them to gnaw.
Another potential cause of unruly chewing on unintended objects is an inappropriate diet.
If the diet is of poor quality, insufficient, or contains certain ingredients that result in adverse reactions in the dog, it may create a situation where the dog tries to compensate by eating other materials.
Finally, a relatively common condition which causes dogs to eat everything they can get their paws on is called pica.
Pica is an issue in which dogs will literally try to eat anything (even indigestible objects) regardless of its texture or taste.
Some examples include fabric, stones- even Ativan! Pica is a more complicated topic and there are various theories as to why it develops, including lack of proper nutrition and boredom.
For a more thorough guide on pica and how to manage the condition in your pup, check out our guide by clicking HERE!
How To Prevent Dogs From Eating AirPods Again
There are a plethora of methods available to dog owners that want to stop their dog from eating any more inappropriate objects.
Your best bet– and the simplest solution- is to place the item far out of your dog’s reach! Whether it be in an enclosed area or somewhere high up, you should hide the object so that it is out of their range of vision.
Dogs can also be easily bored, so providing an interactive toy (how about this awesome automatic ball launcher?!) would also be an effective way to divert their attention.
The dog should of course be given adequate space to play with the toy in an area without the danger of potentially running into any hazardous objects!
Some dogs have a particular hankering for that plasticky taste, in which case chew toys such as the ever popular KONG is an excellent choice.
Alternatively, some dogs prefer to chew on wood-textured toys like the Petstages DogWood. Click HERE to read our extensive article on the best wood-like toys available on the market!
If not boredom, your dog could have become enticed by the AirPods due to their scent.
It is therefore crucial to have clean and odorless hands when using your AirPods. Another way to do it would be to give your earbuds a wipe with a skin-friendly cleaner or even bitter apple spray once in a while!
This will ensure that the AirPods are not contaminated by traces of food or other appetizing smells.
If your dog excessively and consistently consumes inedible objects even after trying all of the above solutions, you may need to limit your dog’s access around the house and potentially use a basket muzzle like this one from Baskerville.
These muzzles allow your dog to still breathe and drink normally, but will at the same time prevent your dog from chomping recklessly.
It is important to note that these muzzles are only temporary preventative measures while the original cause is worked on.
The long-term treatment approach towards reckless eating involves guiding and teaching your pup to listen to commands such as “Leave” or “No”. Also, consider consulting with an animal behaviorist or a vet to combat the issue if you feel like you don’t know how to begin!
Dog Chewed AirPod Case Too? Is There Anything I Can Do To Have My AirPods And Charging Case Replaced?
Good news: Replacing your missing AirPod is possible if you already have AppleCare+. AppleCare+ is an insurance plan which includes an extended warranty and covers 2 incidents of accidental damage every 12 months.
It will require a service fee, but at the very least you will not have to pay the full price of a new AirPod.
However, if you aren’t on the AppleCare+ plan or just prefer obtaining a new set of fresh AirPods, you can check out the latest version here on Amazon.
Before replacing or buying a new set of AirPods, you can also consider using the “Find My iPhone” app on your phone to locate your AirPods if you had already registered the product. If any noise comes from inside your dog, you’ll know which road you have to go down for sure!
Does The Warranty Cover This Incident?
Unfortunately, your regular warranty will not cover this incident.
The warranty will only cover situations involving a defect in manufacturing or in the materials.
Their normal warranty does not cover “damage caused by accidents or unauthorized modifications.”
Can I Use The AirPods After They Have Been ‘Expelled’?
Although AirPods are waterproof and durable- and therefore may still work after being expelled- would you really want to use those earbuds after all they have passed through?
Everyone’s personal situation and preferences are different, so there’s no right or wrong answer.
However, given that AirPods have a myriad of crevices and openings, It is very unlikely you will be able to completely sanitize the AirPod using normal approaches.
It is therefore recommended that you consider getting a replacement or a new set. The last thing you need on your mind when getting into the zone working out or studying is the thought of your AirPods in your dog’s poop!
On the bright side, once the AirPods have passed through your dog’s digestive system, you will no longer have to worry about any other potentially expensive consequences that you might otherwise have faced such as vet appointments or surgery!
AirPods are becoming more and more commonplace in households everywhere as they entrench themselves as convenient tools and fashionable icons of advanced aural technology.
It would not be surprising to see the cases of AirPod-ingestion-by-canine rise up as the years go by, but thankfully in the majority of these situations the pup should be just fine!
The most likely result would be the AirPods reappearing in the dog’s poop over the span of 2 or 3 subsequent days.
Very rarely, the dog might be susceptible to a foreign body obstruction- especially if it is a smaller breed or puppy.
The potential issues of AirPod ingestion include choking, internal blockage, laceration (if there are sharp edges exposed), and chemical burns (in the event of an exposed battery).
Typical solutions to these issues commonly involve the Heimlich Maneuver, induced vomiting and providing bulky foods to promote bowel movement and excretion.
In more complicated instances of intestinal obstruction, surgery or endoscopic removal may become necessary.
It is important to provide immediate medical attention and consult with your vet to ensure your dog receives the appropriate treatment method as soon as possible.
To prevent these troublesome issues in the future, consider placing the AirPods in a container or somewhere else that’s out of your dog’s reach! Giving it appropriate toys to play with or a muzzle to wear while you’re not around may also be suitable solutions.
Preventative measures will save time and effort, as well as prevent more costly consequences such as having to replace those costly earbuds!
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.