As much as we love our dogs, we have to admit that they can be dumb sometimes and do the stupidest things. Like for instance, swallowing a squeaky toy that was meant to keep them entertained and was not intended as an afternoon snack.
Why do they do this? Well as we’re unable to communicate with dogs we’ll always be left in the dark about this, but we’re pretty sure it’s because they love for us to be worried about them.
For real though, squeaky toys are great for keeping your dog occupied during the day. The high-pitched squeaker reminds them of possible prey and gives them great satisfaction, which is probably the real reason why they think it’s a good idea to swallow the squeaker inside.
Dogs swallowing their squeakers for squeaky toys is such a common issue, that manufacturers even market their squeaky toys as ‘indestructible’, however, I think my dog would beg to differ from this claim.
If your dog has eaten a squeaker or the squeaky toy entirely, or maybe you’re anxious about this ever happening in the future, this guide will be able to tell exactly what to do to help them out (and help the squeaker come out as well).
What To Do If Your Dog Swallows A Squeaky Toy
So, it’s happened, your canine companion has swallowed a squeaky toy. Welcome to the club, but please don’t worry as we’ll be able to give you everything you need to know to get through this process without the need for hysterics.
Always Call The Vet First
If you’ve seen your dog swallow a squeaky toy, or maybe it’s mysteriously disappeared and you’re suspecting that your pooch has enjoyed a light rubbery snack, then you’ll need to call your vet straight away.
They’ll ask a few questions like when your dog ate the squeaky toy, what kind of condition they are in, have they been choking? This will enable them to advise you whether to come in for an examination with your dog or to wait for the squeaker to pass in their poop at home.
It can take around 2 hours before a foreign object can move to their intestines and begin to cause problems, so as soon as you suspect something is wrong then you should call the vet immediately to see what the protocol should be.
Inspect Your Dogs Mouth
Check your dog’s mouth to see if they’ve fully swallowed the squeaker or if they’re just storing it in their mouth. Sometimes dogs like to carry around toys in their mouths to make sure no one else can play with them, so gently look around their mouth to see if they’re hiding it somewhere. If you do manage to find it, then gently pull it out and put it somewhere where your dog can’t reach to get hold of it again.
If you’ve found all of the toy or the squeaker, then ring the vet back to tell them you’ve found it and they’ll normally tell you to monitor your dog’s behavior to make sure they haven’t been affected or bring them in for a quick check over.
If you can see the toy or the squeaker near the throat, then you should avoid trying to pull it out as you could push it further down and cause them to choke. Chances are, if it is stuck near their throat they will be showing signs of choking or trying to regurgitate it so you may need to go straight to the next step.
Attempt the Heimlich Maneuver If Your Dog Is Choking
If your dog is choking or is making noises like they’re struggling to breathe, then you may need to take matters into your own hands to help out your dog. You may find an additional person would be helpful for this process as you’ll need to keep your dog’s mouth open whilst performing the Heimlich maneuver as well.
Remember to stay calm otherwise, your dog will also sense your distress.
If you’ve never performed the Heimlich maneuver on a dog before, then you can try other methods to help remove the squeaker. Vets and animal experts recommend smaller dogs to be held by the legs upside down and gently shaken to try and remove whatever it is their choking on. This is not easy or possible with larger dogs, so for them, you’ll need to lift their back legs so they’re in a wheelbarrow position to try and let gravity encourage the squeaker to fall out of their mouth.
The video below is very informative to help show you the exact way to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking dog. Every dog owner should watch this as you never know when a crisis might happen, whether it be your dog or a friend’s dog.
If you manage to dislodge the squeaker then you should still try to take your dog to be seen by a vet as foreign objects inside your dog’s body can cause damage to their throat.
If you’ve exhausted every method you can do by yourself and the squeaky toy is still inside your dog, then it’s time to get them to the vets as soon as possible.
What Will Happen To My Dog If They Have To Go To The Vets?
Once you and your dog have arrived at the vet’s, they’ll be able to perform a full physical examination and take x-rays to find out the location of the squeaker to know what to do next.
Your vet may try induced vomiting by giving your dog a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to make them throw up the squeaker or they tell you that you can wait for the squeaker to pass through your dog’s poop at home.
If the squeaky toy has already reached the intestines, then gastrointestinal surgery may be the only option to get the squeaker out safely. This will require your dog to be sedated and sometimes parts of the stomach or bowel have to be removed, but this is in very serious cases.
You should always make sure your dogs have pet insurance, especially if they love chewing their toys as pet insurance companies say this is some of the most common surgeries that pet owners claim for.
How Will I Know If My Dog Has Swallowed a Squeaky Toy?
If you didn’t see your dog swallow their squeaky toy and you can’t suspiciously find it anywhere, then there are some symptoms to look out for that point to your dog swallowing the squeaky toy.
Obvious signs that will alert this will be if they’re heaving, choking, or vomiting as they’ll be trying to bring the squeaky toy back up.
However, they managed to easily swallow it with no difficulty, then the squeaky toy may have traveled a bit further into the body and begun to cause other problems.
Your dog may act lethargic and be uninterested in things that they normally love, this is because they feel uncomfortable and just want to lie down to ease the pain.
If your dog has lost their appetite and doesn’t show any interest in their food or their favorite treats, then this could be a major concern and should be taken up with the vets immediately.
Your dog may also have diarrhea or even be constipated due to the blockage that’s currently in their body. Some squeakers are small enough to pass through the body and out through their poop, which may take a few hours, but other times they are too big and become lodged in the stomach or small intestine and require veterinary attention.
Should I Avoid Giving My Dog Squeaky Toys?
Banning your dog from having squeaky toys may seem a little extreme, however, if they cannot be trusted to play nicely with them without ripping them apart and swallowing them then it’s probably for the best.
You should always try and buy toys that are too big for your dog’s mouth so they cannot swallow them, although this may not always deter them from chewing it into smaller pieces to be swallowed. If you notice one of your dog’s toys starting to deteriorate then you should throw it out straight away and buy a new one to avoid them swallowing anything.
If you don’t want to ban squeaky toys entirely then you should resort to only allowing your dog to play with them when they’re directly under your supervision so you can watch everything they’re doing.
Our best advice if your dog swallows a squeaky toy, would be to always call the vet. In most circumstances, your dog will be absolutely fine, especially if you notice they’ve swallowed something straight away and even if they do have to induce vomiting or perform surgery to remove the squeaker, then your dog is in the best place possible and will be back up and running in no time.