Crisis! My Dog Ate An Entire Bag Of Dentastix!

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We all want our dogs looking like this:

But most of the time they end up like this instead:

And that’s before your dog ate a whole bag of dental sticks.

Thankfully, even if your dog ate an ENTIRE bag of Dentastix (Dentastixes…?) it will probably just suffer a bit of food bloat, a sore stomach, and diarrhea at most. There is nothing toxic in the chews, even in large quantities.

Your dog may just feel too full to eat for a while- but that’s not necessarily a bad thing at this point! Just make sure that it still drinks enough water, and maybe give it a spoonful of plain pumpkin paste every now and then to move along its digestion.

It’s important however to monitor your dog over the next 24-36 hours for any other adverse symptoms, such as vomiting, constipation or loss of appetite.

The biggest concern is if your dog gulped down the Dentastix without chewing them properly, as this could cause digestion difficulties that eventually lead to an internal blockage.

Stomach blockages are serious matters that need professional intervention as soon as they are suspected. They can quickly become life-threatening, and often require an endoscopy or surgery to resolve.

How Many Dentastix Can A Dog Have A Day?

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The official feeding guide states that one dental stick should be given per day.

While they are low in fat content (1.8%), they are quite high in calories at 302kcal/100 grams and 76 calories per stick.

Eating more than one Dentastix a day can easily take your dog’s calories over their daily requirements when other meals are taken into consideration. Not to mention the other effects of the ingredients contained…

What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Many Dentastix Dental Sticks?

Gogi the corgi eating Dentastix

You’ll be glad to learn that, while Dentatix contains a boatload of somewhat controversial ingredients, none of them have immediately toxic implications for your dog. Thankfully, your dog is in no danger of a Dentastix overdose in the chemical sense.

[Author note: Since your dog has already eaten the Dentastix, there’s not much point right now in joining the debate For or Against the long-term effects of the chews.

Do a quick Google search and you will find both assertions of them being a helpful teeth-cleaning tool, or being the very bane of dogs’ existence.]

The following is a list of the main ingredients contained in Dentastix, ordered from the highest concentration to the lowest:

  • Rice Flour– A simple carbohydrate that can elevate blood sugar levels in dogs, potentially causing them to be more energetic in the short term. Can also cause bowel discomfort in large quantities.
  • Wheat Starch– Similar effect as rice flour.
  • Glycerin– A vegetable oil that is used as a sweetener and a binder. Due to it being a fat source, it can give dogs diarrhea in large amounts.
  • Gelatin– Used as a binder. May be able to counteract the laxative effects of glycerin.
  • Gum Arabic– Same use as gelatin.
  • Calcium Carbonate– A standard source of calcium that can help to strengthen bones, teeth and skeletal structure. It is used as a shield against acids in foods.

The rest of the ingredients are in such tiny concentrations that they will have a negligible impact on your dog in large, one-off quantities:

  • Natural Poultry Flavor
  • Powdered Cellulose
  • Sodium Tripolyphosphate
  • Salt
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Various vitamins
  • Potassium Sorbate- a preservative
  • Smoke flavor
  • Zinc Sulfate
  • Green tea extract
  • Turmeric
  • Iron oxide
  • Copper sulfate

Based on an analysis of these ingredients, the most likely consequence of a dog eating too many Dentastix at once is an upset stomach and diarrhea.

Due solely to eating food at such a large quantity, your dog may also experience vomiting and may turn down food for the time being.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate An Entire Bag Of Dentastix? 4 Steps To Follow

It’s important to emphasise again that in this situation, the Dentastix are not going to have a toxic effect on your dog. Dogs generally have strong stomachs that are very acidic, so other than feeling a bit fuller than usual they will most likely have no issue at all.

Therefore, treatment should be more ‘wait-and-observe’ rather than a full-on reactionary approach. Don’t panic!

Nevertheless, here are the 4 Steps To Follow if your dog ate an entire bag of Dentastix:

1.Remove Accessible Water Or Food Sources

Seeing as your dog should be quite full at this point in time, it shouldn’t be too interested in food or water.

However, some dogs are bottomless pits, so it’s a good idea to temporarily remove any food or water bowl within its reach. This will help to prevent further burden being added to your dog’s stomach, giving it a much-need opportunity to rest.

Allowing your dog to drink too much water right after eating so many dental sticks will only cause them to expand even more inside the stomach, resulting in further bloating.

2.Test For Vomiting

Test For Vomiting

Your dog may vomit shortly and often after eating the bag of Dentastix as its stomach struggles to cope with the huge amount of food suddenly thrust upon it.

This is a normal bodily reaction so don’t worry too much– just make sure your dog isn’t choking, and pick up the vomit as it’s thrown up so there aren’t piles of it everywhere!

After your dog has stopped vomiting for 3 to 4 hours, try to get it to drink a small amount of water to rehydrate- about 2 or 3 spoonfuls at first. Drinking too much water too soon will most likely result in vomiting again, so be careful.

After another hour has passed without vomiting, offer it more water gradually. It’s important to make sure that your dog is eventually drinking plenty of water so that it does not become dehydrated or constipated.

It will likely be very thirsty after eating a whole batch of chews so there shouldn’t be a problem trying to get it to drink water. Again, if your dog vomits at any point, give it a few hours to rest before allowing it to drink more.

When Is Inducing Vomiting A Good Idea?

If your dog’s stomach is feeling unwell, it will usually vomit on its own as it needs to without assistance. However, there may be times when it doesn’t, and inducing vomit may not only be beneficial, but also necessary for your dog’s wellbeing.

If the dog appears to be bloated, has a distended stomach, and seems to be having difficulty breathing, then it may be a good idea to get it to throw up the contents currently sitting inside its stomach.

However, it’s vital to always check with a vet first. Describe the situation and symptoms to him and listen to what he recommends specifically.

There may be situations where inducing vomiting isn’t the best course of action, such as if the dog swallowed big chunks of the dental sticks without chewing. Bringing them back up could result in damage to the airway or choking, which of course should be avoided at all costs.

If inducing vomiting is recommended, then the vet will in most cases advise the use of hydrogen peroxide.

The proper dosage of 3% hydrogen peroxide is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight.

The easiest way to administer the liquid is by using a syringe or turkey baster and inserting it from the side/corner of your dog’s mouth, rather than from the top. Tilt its head back and the solution should run effortlessly down its throat.

Encourage your dog to move around for a few minutes to make the hydrogen peroxide bubble and fizz up inside its stomach. After around 15 minutes, your dog should vomit up the troublesome contents.

If it does not vomit after 10-15 minutes, you can give it another identical dose. If it still does not work, it may be because there is too much food in the stomach for the hydrogen peroxide to have the desired effect.

In this case, take it to the vet immediately for professional treatment with stronger medication. If the situation is allowed to progress without vomit being induced, it can become life-threatening.

Give Medications If Necessary

Give Medications If Necessary

Two additional symptoms that your dog is likely to exhibit after eating such a large number of Dentastix is diarrhea and abdominal pain.

This is due to the stomach not being used to digesting such a large amount of treats that are really only supposed to be eaten once a day.

If your dog is showing obvious signs of stomach pain and experiencing runny stools, you can give it famotidine (commonly known as Pepcid) or omeprazole to calm its digestive system.

Famotidine can be given at a dose of 0.22mg-0.44mg per pound of body weight, every 12 hours as symptoms persist.

Omeprazole can be given at a dose of 0.25mg-0.5mg per pound of body weight, once daily.

Once your dog is no longer showing less severe signs of an upset stomach, you can proceed to the next step.

Feed A Bland Diet

Once your dog is able to handle water without vomiting and is showing increasingly regular behaviour and bowel movements, you can begin feeding it solid food again.

It’s definitely recommended that you start slow with basic, easy-to-digest meals such as the classic plain boiled chicken and rice.

Just like with the water, start off by only offering small amounts of food (one tablespoon at a time). After an hour has passed and no vomiting occurred, you can progressively give it more.

To help your dog pass the mass of Dentastix more quickly over the next few days, you can give it canned, unsalted pumpkin paste, low-fat Greek yogurt or other fiber-rich foods to spur its digestion. Pumpkin in particular can be helpful to solidify its poop and stop it from having diarrhea.

Keep feeding your dog this bland diet for as long as you need to, until the Dentastix have all been expelled and your pup is completely back to its normal self again.

Can Dentastix Make Dogs Sick?

Yes, there is a chance that Dentastix in massive quantities will make your dog sick. Very sick, in fact.

If the mass of Dentastix are not able to be digested properly in the stomach, they could subsequently lead to an internal obstruction. This is where food or other foreign objects such as Magic Erasers or tree bark become lodged in the pyloric sphincter.

A blockage will mean that contents of the stomach are unable to pass to the intestines. Blood will stop flowing to the bowels and this will begin to deteriorate parts of the digestive system.

There have been quite a few reported cases where dogs have eaten dental chews only for them to block the gastro-intestinal tract and become rapidly fatal.

If you notice the following signs in your dog after it ate a whole bag of dental sticks, you need to take it to the emergency vet immediately:

  • Continued vomiting, with or without eating more food or drinking water
  • Bloated, hard abdomen region
  • Pale, white gums
  • Significant lethargy and unwillingness to get up
  • Constipation, or straining to poop
  • Blood in stools or vomit
  • No urination in more than 8 hours

The vet will be able to examine your dog through the use of an X-ray to confirm whether a blockage is indeed present. Then he will be able to determine whether to induce vomiting, or whether an endoscopy or surgery is needed.

Can Dogs Choke On Dentastix?

Yes, it is quite possible for dogs to choke on Dentastix due to their size, length and shape.

Dentastix are made as long, oval logs and have a hard composition along with several ridges that stick out. If a dog tries to swallow a large chunk or the whole stick at once, it is quite conceivable that it will choke.

Choking is obviously dangerous as it prevents oxygen from being taken into the body. This can result in the dog losing consciousness, and eventually organ and brain damage. Inevitably, choking that is not resolved will always lead to death.

It is imperative to act quickly as soon as you see your dog choking on anything.

For a full step-by-step process of how to provide first aid when a dog is choking, see our resource here.

In Summary

If your dog ate an entire bag of Dentastix, the last thing that you have to worry about is poisoning. There is nothing in the ingredients that will be toxic to a dog in the short-term, even in large amounts.

Unless your dog is very small or ate an extremely large amount of Dentastix relative to its size, it should be able to process the Dentastix on its own without too much trouble.

It may experience some vomiting, diarrhea and a painful stomach for a few days, but that is usually the full extent of the symptoms that will be experienced.

Nonetheless, it would still be a good idea to watch for more serious symptoms that could indicate an internal blockage, such as bloody stools, constipation, lethargy or pale gums.

If you discover these signs, take your dog to the vet immediately to be treated as it can otherwise become a life-threatening matter very quickly.

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