Your curious dog can be tempted to consume anything that’s on hand. These include many things, from leaves to grasses, chalk to your shoes, medicines, and much more. The list is not just confined to edible things but shifts to non-edible items as well.
Your dog will not limit himself to this. If he gets access, he may indulge in eating even more dangerous things like insulation which is mostly seen in the attic, ceiling, roof, and walls. Now, this could be really dangerous and may even take a toll on his life if not treated at the earliest. Read on to know why insulation is dangerous to dogs and what you should do if your dog ate it.
Why is Insulation Dangerous to Dogs?
Insulation is made of materials such as mineral wool, fiberglass, polystyrene, cellulose, vermiculite, polyisocyanurate foam, polyurethane foam, perlite, and so on. If properly contained, most insulation materials are safe. However, insulations made using lead or asbestos are considered extremely toxic and harmful.
Sometimes toxic chemicals are used in treating insulation to help it stay for long. It is even used to prevent rodents and pests from eating them.
So, it’s quite evident that if your dog ingests the insulation, it may make him sick. The most significant danger your pet will face from eating insulation is an intestinal blockage.
If your dog has eaten the insulation, which is made of fiberglass, it could cause stomach injury. When you see or suspect your dog of eating insulation, or find pieces (of insulation) in his poop, never delay in taking your dog to the vet.
Symptoms of Insulation Consumption
When your dog swallows insulation, be it a small piece or a big one, it will affect him adversely. If you have seen them eating the insulation, then it’s good for you and your pooch.
But if you haven’t, then things will be more challenging. In most cases, the symptoms would not be moderate or mild but severe.
When your dog has eaten insulation, he will appear lethargic, and you will notice a decrease in his activity levels.
Another sign to watch out for is excessive thirst and dehydration. You might spot your dog always near his water bowl. He doesn’t seem contended even after drinking a considerable amount of water.
You may even notice swelling around his mouth and increased drooling. This mostly happens if the pieces of material of insulation have injured your dog’s mouth.
He may also be in immense pain, visible through his gestures. He will twitch and turn in discomfort.
If your dog has eaten insulations made of fiberglass, or polystyrene foam, it can result in intestinal blockages. This could even trigger vomiting with or without blood.
In the case of severity, your dog may even suffer from seizures, and lose consciousness eventually, if there has been internal bleeding.
Note: If your dog is not showing any symptoms after consuming insulation, it is still important to take him to the vet.
How to Treat a Dog that Ate Insulation?
One thing you should keep in mind is to try to avoid taking out the insulation by yourself. Also, do not try to induce vomiting or implement any other home remedies on your dog. You may be trying to help your dog but unknowingly worsening his situation. The moment you notice that your dog has eaten insulation, take him to the vet at once.
The treatment depends on how severe your dog’s condition is. In most cases, the vet will conduct an X-ray to identify the object’s exact location.
If possible, take a sample of the insulated material which your dog ingested when you go to the vet’s chamber. This will help the vet easily detect the piece while conducting the x-ray. If the X-ray doesn’t help, the doctor may even go perform an endoscopy for a more detailed look. Simultaneously, the vet may also prescribe some blood work to see if the insulated material has poisoned your dog or not.
In extreme cases, surgery might be required to remove the insulation from your dog’s system if it cannot be removed with the help of an endoscope.
How to Prevent a Dog From Eating Insulation?
If your dog is saved from the hazard of insulation poisoning, it’s sheer good luck. He may not be lucky enough the next time. You should be vigilant and see that your dog never goes near insulation. Here are some precautionary measures you must take:
1. Train Your Dog Well
Most dogs are intelligent, eager to please, and quick in learning and grasping new things. So, if you begin early when they are 8-12 weeks of age, your dog will not take much time to learn all that you teach them. It is extremely important to train them on obedience, specifically to follow commands.
Teach them commands like ‘No,’ ‘Drop,’ and ‘Catch.’ This will be helpful during times when your dog is doing anything undesirable, and you would have to stop him. So, next time your dog tries to chew insulation, use the ‘Drop’ command. If he has learned the command well, he will surely drop it. His ability to adhere to your command depends on how well you’ve trained him.
2. Keep Him Busy
One of the ways in which you can prevent your dog from resorting to destructive activities is by keeping him busy. Make sure that he gets his daily dose of exercise. It may be a combination of walks and sufficient playtime. When you aren’t able to take them out daily, make sure that you arrange for indoor games. Also, train them to live in a crate from their puppy days. Once they start accepting their crate as their personal space, they wouldn’t get bored. When they are engaged throughout the day, your dog won’t indulge in eating insulation or other things they aren’t supposed to.
3. Avoid Insulating a Dog House
When designing your dog’s crate or dwelling, make sure you do not use insulation for the same. Instead, always use a dog-friendly design, and choose the materials that wouldn’t hurt the dog much if they accidentally ingest it. If you aren’t sure about how to build your dog’s kennel, consult a professional in this regard.
4. Do Not Allow Your Dog Near Renovation Sites
Are you planning to renovate your house? Is there a construction or renovation site nearby? Then, you should keep your pets away from the same. This is because construction sites are a hub for wires, insulation, and other materials that may prove toxic for dogs. Keep your pup on a leash when taking them out. A leash is a mandate if you have a dog with a high chasing instinct.
5. Keep Insulating Materials Away From Your Dog’s Reach
You’ve got to be really careful about this. If construction work is ongoing in your home, ensure your dog doesn’t roam around nearby. Once the work is completed for the day, store the materials in a safe place so that your dog cannot get there. In this way, your dog won’t get easy access to insulation and will be kept out of harm’s way.
Can dogs die by eating insulation?
Yes, they can if they have consumed too much of it. Insulations like fiberglass are extremely harmful to dogs. Moreover, they could be at risk if they have eaten insulation and haven’t received immediate treatment. If the glass or other insulation material remains in their system for long, then it may result in internal bleeding that can take the dog’s life.
What are the common types of insulation?
The most common types of insulation include fiberglass, rock wool, foam, cotton, denim, cellulose, and polystyrene.
Which kind of insulation is the most harmful to dogs?
Dogs shouldn’t eat anything that isn’t meant for them. When speaking about insulation, all of them are harmful. Yet the ones that do the most damage to them is fiberglass. The pieces of glass that go into its making will be hazardous to dogs when ingested. Another harmful insulation material is asbestos, mostly found in old homes. If your dog has ingested the same, he could be at risk of aggressive forms of cancer, alongside other severe illnesses.
So, to sum it up, if your dog has eaten insulation, don’t delay in taking him to a vet. Remember, early treatment may save his life. Besides this, when you’ve got kids and dogs at home, it is essential to be extra cautious. Keep insulation and other harmful materials out of their reach. In this way, you could prevent serious accidents.
Elena Gherman is a highly skilled and knowledgeable animal care expert. At the start of her career, she gained practical expertise with multiple animals. In addition to that, she works as a DVM veterinary editor for Joy Pet Products, which focuses on offering reliable information on pet health and wellbeing. She meticulously reviews each piece of writing before it is published to make sure pet owners get the most precise and updated information possible.