My dog Max loves, loves, LOVES his squeaky toys.
If it doesn’t squeak, he won’t touch it.
Put a squeaker in that sucker, and he’ll be all over it like a kid over candy. Whenever we come home from overseas trips, he heads straight for the suitcases- because he knows that we’ll bring something squeaky back for him, no matter the country.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
Squeak is all we hear, all day long- until that sudden, fateful, unnerving silence.
I look at Max, and he looks at me. The chew toy is on the ground, with a hole gaping in its side. I pick it up and take a peek inside. The squeaker’s gone.
I open Max’s mouth and take a look- the part isn’t in there, either.
I sweep the area of carpet, an inch at a time. Nothing to be found.
The only conclusion is that Max, in all his infinite intelligence and wisdom, has gone and swallowed the squeaker.
Great, now I’ll have a squeaky dog, I think to myself.
But then I find myself worrying in earnest, “Just how long does it take for a dog to pass a squeaker? Will Max be in any danger at all?”
Thankfully, it was only a small squeaker, and Max pooped it out the very next day.
I should know, since I was the one doing the unfortunate checking. My dog, my responsibility and all that- I still love him, even when I have to fiddle through his poop on surprisingly frequent occasions.
If your dog ate a squeaker too, you can give it easy-to-digest foods like pumpkin paste, boiled lean meat and rice to help speed up the bowel movement processes. Usually, it will take around 10 to 24 hours for the toy part to travel out of a dog’s system.
However, squeakers do have the potential to clog up a dog’s stomach- especially if it is a big piece of plastic, or if the dog is small. You may want to induce vomiting just to be safe, which can either be done by yourself or by a vet.
Stomach blockages are very serious in dogs and can become fatal very quickly, so as soon as you see signs of lethargy, stomach pain, straining or constipation, you should be taking your dog to the vet ASAP.
- Can A Dog Pass A Squeaker?
- What Will Happen If My Dog Eats A Squeaker?
- What Should I Do If My Dog Ate A Squeaker? The 2 Options
- When Do I Need To Take My Dog To The Vet?
- In Summary
Most likely, yes. Dogs should be able to pass the majority of squeaky parts they encounter in their toys, since most are small, smooth, and rounded. This is in contrast to other objects that dogs have a tendency to swallow, like pins, dental chews, or tree bark.
The size and shape of squeakers lend well to a quick and uncomplicated trip through your dog’s GI tract and out the other side. Since they have a soft texture and usually don’t possess any sharp edges, there is little to no danger that they will tear intestinal walls as it travels through.
Problems can potentially arise when the piece of plastic is too big, or if your dog ate multiple parts all at once. This can lead to a potential intestinal blockage, which would then need to be resolved either through an endoscopy or surgery.
Assuming your dog successfully swallowed the squeaker and is in no present danger of choking, the component will now be sitting in your dog’s stomach.
It could be completely intact if your dog ingested it without chewing, or your dog could have torn it into little pieces if it was feeling especially zealous.
If the squeaker is in small pieces, then there will be very little danger to your dog’s wellbeing. There is nothing toxic about the plastic and it will simply be excreted with the rest of the food in your dog’s stomach at some point.
It will usually take somewhere between 10 to 24 hours for the plastic squeaker to see the sights and transit through a dog’s digestive system.
If instead the squeaker was eaten whole, your dog may be at risk of developing a pyloric obstruction, where the passageway from the stomach to small intestine becomes blocked.
This could either be a partial obstruction, where some fluids and gas are still able to transfer through, or a full blockage where the opening is completely sealed. A complete obstruction is obviously a very dire situation that can result in rapid, severe consequences.
If an area of the bowels is completely blocked off, blood flow to the area becomes seriously impaired and the surrounding organs will begin to experience permanent decay and bacterial infection.
The dog is also in danger of becoming dangerously dehydrated since it may have difficulty keeping food or water down.
The most common symptom of intestinal blockage is persistent vomiting, which will often be accompanied by lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, stomach bloating, constipation, and straining when trying to make a bowel movement.
Dogs with a complete obstruction will typically survive only 3 to 4 days without treatment, while those with partial obstructions could live up to 3 to 4 weeks as long as it keeps drinking water. However, it will be in significant discomfort all throughout that time and will lose weight at a startling pace.
There are two main options that you can choose between if your dog happens to swallow a squeaker:
- Make your dog throw up; or
- Wait and see if the part will pass naturally.
While you should always double-check with a vet first before trying to induce vomiting, it should generally be safe to do so when a small squeaker part is involved. Its small, rounded size and shape means that there won’t be much risk in it damaging a dog’s throat on the way up.
If your dog is a toy/small breed, ate multiple squeakers, or if you are just feeling extra worried and want to get that piece of plastic out of your dog as quickly as possible, inducing vomiting may be a good course of action.
The procedure is usually done with 3% hydrogen peroxide at a dose of one teaspoon per five pounds of body weight. The solution needs to be fresh, and can be administered with a syringe or a turkey baster by inserting the apparatus into the side of the dog’s mouth.
Another way to give hydrogen peroxide, if you are having trouble getting your dog to take it, is to mix it with a couple of teaspoons of milk or to soak a few pieces of bread with it. Usually by doing so the dog will be much more willing to down the liquid.
After making sure that your dog has swallowed the solution, allow it to move around for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the hydrogen peroxide to bubble. The bubbling will then cause your dog to throw up the contents of its stomach- hopefully with the squeaker included.
If your dog does not throw up the squeaker, or does not throw up at all, you can use the same process again to induce vomiting once more. The procedure can be repeated up to 3 times if no results are shown.
Once the dog has thrown up successfully, give it Pepcid-AC (famotidine) at a dosage of 0.25mg/pound of body weight to help settle its stomach and make it feel more comfortable.
If after 3 attempts your dog still does not throw up, you can either let it rest and go to the second option below, or take it to the vet for apomorphine-induced vomiting and X-rays.
Generally, if your dog is not a toy/small breed and only swallows the squeaker of one toy, then it will be quite safe to simply wait out the component.
It will take around half a day to a day (or more) for the part to make its way through a dog’s digestive tract.
You can help to make it easier for your dog to pass the squeaker by giving it the right foods over its next few meals. Changing its meals temporarily to a bland diet of 75% rice and 25% lean boiled chicken or beef will bulk the feces and assist your dog to move the squeaker more easily.
One tablespoon of plain pumpkin paste or a teaspoon of psyllium husk can also be added to the meals to supplement additional fiber into its diet. Wheat bread can also be fed. The extra fiber will hopefully bind the squeaker and help it to pass in the feces.
From this point on, there’s not much more to do and it becomes a waiting game- hopefully one that you won’t have to play for too long.
You need to take your dog to the vet immediately if it begins to show any signs of internal blockage, which as mentioned above can include:
- Persistent vomiting (without being manually induced)
- Stomach pain and bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Fever (over 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit).
It would also be a good idea to pay a visit to the vet if it’s been over two days since ingestion of the squeaker and it still hasn’t been excreted.
The vet will be able to run imaging on your dog through the use of standard X-ray, contrast X-ray, ultrasound or endoscopic exam to determine the existence and location of the foreign object.
Once the status of the foreign body has been established, the vet will be able to formulate the best treatment plan going forward. In more severe cases of complete obstruction, this could involve surgery to remove the offending component or to remove damaged intestinal sections.
If your toy/small breed dog just ate the squeaker and you can literally feel the part in the stomach with your fingers, you should take it to the vet right away as well.
This is because there is a chance that the vet will still be able to retrieve the piece of plastic from the stomach with an endoscope, without the potential later need for expensive and risky surgery.
If your dog ate a squeaker, it should take a day or two at most for it to pass naturally. You can provide foods such as bland meals of boiled rice and lean meat, pumpkin paste, wheat bread, and fiber-supplements to help it to move the squeaker in its feces more easily.
Beyond that timeframe, it could be possible that the toy piece has become stuck in your dog’s stomach or intestines, potentially causing a partial or full blockage.
If your dog is experiencing symptoms such as constant vomiting, lethargy, stomach pain, constipation, fever, and irregular bowel movements, you need to take it to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Doing so with proper urgency could save your best pal’s life.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.