Help! My Dog Swallowed Stuffing From His Toy!

Plus what to do when you hear that telltale “riiiiiip” sound 🤦‍♀️🧸

dog swallowed toy stuffing

It happens all the time.

Your dog is playing around with her favorite plush toy when all of a sudden you hear, “Riiiiiiiiiiip.”

Next thing you know, she’s throwing the stuffing around like that’s the toy. But what happens if she accidentally swallows some in all the excitement of tearing the toy apart?

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Clarissa B. Lyon, a veterinarian at Larklain Mobile Veterinary Services in Pennsylvania, to find out when you should actually panic.

What happens when your dog swallows stuffing

Swallowing some stuffing isn’t always cause for alarm.

“A very small amount of stuffing likely will pass. It may not be as serious as a piece of ribbon or rope or string,” Dr. Lyon told The Dodo.

However, your dog’s prognosis depends on the amount of stuffing swallowed, and the size of your dog.

For example, if a tiny dog ate a large amount of stuffing from a toy, you’re going to want to call your vet, because it’s more likely that could result in an internal blockage.

Of course, sometimes it’s hard to tell how much they ate, so when in doubt, call your vet.

“Our primary concern with stuffing is … a large amount causing obstruction in the intestinal tract,” Dr. Lyon explained.

And if you’re concerned about it being toxic at all, there’s always a risk whenever your dog eats something that’s not food. But odds are if you’re buying toys from a reputable brand, the stuffing probably won’t be harmful in that way.

“Could it be toxic? Perhaps, but our primary concern would be the actual physical obstruction that a significant amount of stuffing might cause,” Dr. Lyon said.

Signs of a gastrointestinal obstruction

If your dog is experiencing a gastrointestinal obstruction, she might experience symptoms like:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Abdominal pain

If you notice your pup exhibiting these signs, contact your vet right away. Your dog may need emergency surgery to remove the obstruction.

How to keep your dog from eating stuffing

You should always keep a close eye on your dog, especially when she’s playing.

And if your pup tends to get all destructive with her toys, make sure you’re upping your supervision, and be prepared to act quickly when the shredding starts.

You can also try stuffing-free plush toys designed for heavy chewers — like this cute set from Amazon.

“Whenever your dog rips open a toy, we recommend removing that toy from the toy collection and making sure your dog no longer has access to the damaged toy,” Dr. Lyon explained. “Please do not permit dogs to continue to chew [or] play with toys which have exposed stuffing or internal squeakers.”

Which makes perfect sense — the longer you let your dog play with choking hazards, the more likely she is to actually choke.

“Once your dog chews the [toy] open, that [toy] is done. It’s no longer in the rotation of toys,” Dr. Lyon said.

If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you could always attempt to perform dog toy surgery. Otherwise, it’s on to the next toy.

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