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Check for These Signs
See if you can find the remainder of the balloon. If your dog has only swallowed a portion of it, then this is a good sign and it means that you might even still be able to clear their breath passages.
Check your dog’s mouth for any sign of foreign matter. Though you’ll need to be careful, you might be able to pull out the remainder of the balloon from their throat.
You’ll want to pay close attention to any stools they pass, because there’s a good chance that there will be at least some portion of Mylar or rubber in it. If that’s the case, then you may end being able to tell how much your dog has remaining inside of him or her.
Keep an eye out for shaking or shivering, which could be a sign of an infection. When objects like balloons get lodged in a dog’s system, there’s always a risk that the inflamed area might end up becoming infected.
Pay close attention to their breathing patterns as well. Dogs with balloons in their throats may occasionally choke, but they may do so only intermittently depending on where the object is currently stuck.
When dogs try to eat balloons, they usually find them to be far too chewy and simply spit most of the material out. Dogs that actually succeed in consuming at least some part of a balloon will often experience the following side effects:
- Drooling: This might indicate that the balloon is stuck in your dog’s esophagus
- Intoxication: Coatings from balloons may have unusual effects on dogs
- Vomiting: Most dogs will try to purge the balloon from their system
- Lack of Appetite: Balloons can cause intestinal irritation, which will make your dog not want to eat
- Lethargy: Lodged balloons can cause infections, which can quickly zap your dog’s energy
- Abdominal Discomfort: Since it’s difficult to pass a balloon, dogs might experience pain in doing so
- Blood in Stool: Eventually, the balloon may pass along with blood and other material
Some veterinarians actually recommend checking your dog’s droppings in the hopes of finding the object, which would indicate that at least some of the danger has passed.
What to Do
First, make sure that you’ve taken as much of the balloon as possible out of your dog’s mouth. Considering how long some balloons are, you might be able to pull it out completely even if your dog has already tried to swallow a portion of it.
Try to see if you can figure out what the balloon was filled with. Regular toy balloons that are filled with air or helium will just vent their contents the moment that they’re popped, though the noise of them doing so is usually quite disconcerting to dogs.
Some novelty balloons used at parties, however, might actually contain substances like alcohol that are far more hazardous to your dog’s health. You need to see if your dog may have ingested any of these potential contaminates.
You may be directed to induce vomiting by giving your dog a small dose of standard consumer-grade 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with a plastic syringe. You’ll want to remove the needle, if applicable, and give your dog 1 ml of it per every pound of their weight.
Never exceed more than 45 ml even if you have a huge dog. You won’t want to administer any solution unless prompted by a vet.
Do I Need to See the Vet or Go to the Emergency Animal Hospital?
Contact your normal family vet if your dog has swallowed a balloon. It might be best to call them even if they haven’t ingested the whole thing, because some of the coatings and powders used in balloon manufacturing could also be potential intoxicants to dogs.
Your vet will provide further advice based on the specific situation. There are so many variables at work in this case that it’s difficult to provide one blanket recommendation.
Depending on the size of your dog and what kind of balloon was swallowed, your vet may recommend that you induce vomiting. Only do so if they do indeed recommend it and make sure to follow any of their suggestions when doing so.
Watch your dog carefully to make sure that he or she doesn’t hurt themselves while they’re vomiting. You’ll want to withhold food for a while, but your dog probably won’t be in much of a mood to eat anyway.
Over time, you can reintroduce soft mild foods at first before finally returning your dog to harder traditional food. You may need to slow your feeding schedule down a bit depending on how much balloon matter your dog was able to digest.
Safe Alternatives to Eat or Play With
Some dogs naturally gravitate toward balloons because they’re soft and have an interesting texture. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to look into unusually shaped dog toys that have a sturdy cloth exterior.
Certain types of rope-like dog toys can provide the same experience without any significant danger. Your dog might also be interested in dog toys that are plush but don’t have any stuffing, which helps to reduce the risk that they’ll choke on it.
Most dogs don’t ever go after balloons when they’re hungry, but providing your dog with an appropriate source of food should stop them from looking for other things to eat. That being said, you may consider asking a vet about the possibility that your dog has developed a form of pica if he or she continues to avoid your safe alternatives in favor of unsafe things like balloons.
If your dog shows a preference toward any particular shape like the cushy one of a balloon, then you might want to also look for toys that have the same shape. Dogs who are distracted by fun toys usually won’t look for other items to chew on.