My Dog Ate An Ornament: Are they OK? (Solved & Explained!)

Some animals will eat just about anything, from human food to bits of trash, to things like Christmas ornaments and knick-knacks. It can be a bit alarming, especially if you don’t know if the things they’ve eaten are going to hurt them or not.

If your dog eats an ornament of any kind, they may not be in any danger, but there are certain things you’ll need to watch for if you can’t convince them to spit it out.

This article looks at the risks and considerations you’ll need to think about if your dog eats an ornament.

My Dog Ate an Ornament – Will It Hurt Them?

A lot of times, dogs can be convinced to spit out harmful objects, either because they hurt their mouths, or because they don’t taste good. However, if your dog does eat an ornament and doesn’t spit it out, the risks are usually minimal.

Most ornaments, or pieces of ornaments, can pass through a dog without harming them. Even ornament hooks and glass fragments can usually make the trip without causing much damage, if any.

Most ornaments are also fairly non-toxic to dogs. The main materials, such as glass, plastic or fabric are non-toxic, even if they aren’t particularly good for your dog.

Are There Elements of Ornaments That Will Make My Dog Sick?

Some paints contain certain chemicals or pigments that can be harmful to dogs, so if your dog eats an ornament that’s been hand-painted, you may want to check what paints were used.

Likewise, ornaments containing certain types of pine – Norwood pine in particular – or mistletoe and holly, can prove toxic to your dogs and make them very ill if ingested.

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What Are the Dangers of My Dog Eating Ornaments?

The biggest danger if your dog has eaten an ornament is the risk of obstruction in the GI tract. Since the ornaments can’t be digested, they also may not pass through the dog’s system and wind up causing a blockage.

If your dog develops intestinal blockage due to an ornament, it will most likely require surgery to remove.

Are There Specific Risks Involved with Glass Ornaments?

Glass ornaments will most likely break, unless they are very small, or your dog is large enough to swallow them whole.

There is a chance that glass fragments might lacerate internal organs, even if they don’t cause an obstruction. This can cause internal bleeding, which can be difficult to treat and extremely painful for your dog.

Are There Specific Risks Associated with Plastic Ornaments?

Some plastic ornaments are brittle enough to break, though usually not with the sharp edges you’d get from glass. They’re also usually made of non-toxic or low toxicity materials.

Plastic ornaments are generally the least harmful ornaments for a dog to swallow, aside from the risk of blockage.

Are There Specific Risks Associated with Painted Ornaments?

In general, painted ornaments are a mixed bag. Most of them are some sort of ceramic or glass, meaning they can break and result in sharp edges. The paint itself is not always toxic, but it depends on the color and the type of paint.

If you think your dog has eaten a hand-painted ornament, see if you can find out what type of paint was used. Acrylics are usually not too much of a problem, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.

Some types of paint contain things like turpentine, and that might be a problem. If you aren’t sure what kinds of pain were used, call your vet.

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Are There Specific Risks Associated with All-Natural Ornaments?

It depends on the ornament. A metal ornament is most likely to cause blockage, but it may also contain metals that are harmful to dogs, such as zinc or copper.

A fabric ornament poses little risk, and will most likely pass through the system, rather like fibers from a rope bone. However, you will want to watch for blockage in this case as well.

Wooden ornaments may be slightly more dangerous, as some woods, such as Norwood pine, can be toxic to dogs. If your dog eats a wooden ornament, see if you can identify or remember the wood it was made from, and consult with an expert.

Concerns involving wooden ornaments also extend to decorations made of real holly or real mistletoe. Both of these are dangerous to dogs, and if you think your dog has ingested something like this, see the vet as soon as possible.

What if My Dog Ate Tinsel?

TInsel is usually plastic or aluminum, which is non-toxic to dogs.

The same is true of the long ropes of greenery you might see draped around windows or wrapped around a stair rail.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate an Ornament?

Call emergency veterinary services immediately. Give them as much information as you can, and they will guide you through the proper procedure.

Do not attempt to handle it on your own without consulting an expert, as this can be dangerous to your dog.

If you can, it’s a good idea to take your dog directly to the veterinary clinic so they can take care of your pet.

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What Signs Should I Look For, if I Think My Dog Ate an Ornament?

If you think your dog ate an ornament, but you aren’t sure, you can look for certain signs. For example, if your dog bit down on a glass ornament, you might find glass fragments in their mouth, or small cuts.

It’s not unreasonable, if they chewed the ornament at all, to find little fragments in their teeth.

They may also vomit up the ornament of their own volition, if it makes them feel uncomfortable enough.

What Signs Indicate My Dog Might Have Intestinal Blockage?

If you see these signs, you’ll need to take your dog to the vet right away:

Signs of  intestinal blockage include:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea or straining to poop and being unable.

What Signs Might Indicate Internal Injury?

Internal injury can be identified by:

  • Pale gums
  • Tight, swollen abdomen
  • Weakness
  • Trouble Breathing

If your dog eats an ornament, there’s a good chance they’ll either cough it up or pass it through their system on their own. Even so, it’s a good idea to consult with a vet and take extra precautions for the safety of your pet.