My Dog Ate Kinetic Sand: Are They OK? (Solved & Explained!)

Dogs love spending time with their family and time with the kids can introduce them, unfortunately, to a few things that you probably didn’t know the dog would try to eat. What happens if the dog ate kinetic sand while playing with the kids?

With medium or large-sized dogs, ingestion of a small amount of kinetic sand should normally be safe – for the most part. The coated sands typically pass through their bodies, though there is a small chance of it pooling and causing impaction and that is increased with more sand ingested and with smaller dogs.

In order to give you all of the information that you’ll need to make a judgement on what to do if your dog eats kinetic sand, we’ve compiled some useful tips and facts that you can take advantage of. While the risk of impaction is low, a vet visit is still the best course of action – let’s look at the facts to see why!

blue kinetic sand

What is kinetic sand made of?

In 1981, a product called ‘Magic Sand’, was released, and kids and adults alike really love the stuff. You could drop the colored sands into water and instead of dispersing the way that normal sand would, the coated granules pile in a pleasant way under the water.

The granules of the sand were coated with dimethylsiloxane and this coating added a little weight and waterproofing. Fast-forward to 2014 and ‘Magic Sand’ got a serious upgrade in the form of ‘Kinetic Sand’, which thickened up the coating so that you could get the ‘wet sand’ effects without adding water.

The goal of this was to make the sand stick together, so that kids could play with wet, colored sand, without ending up with sand granules between theirs and their parent’s toes for possibly the next entire year.

The granules and their hydrophobic coating are non-toxic, basically amounting to coated, clean sand, although technically if ingested in large enough amounts then a human could become ill and by extension, a dog that gobbled up the coated sand might as well.  It’s not so much toxicity, however, as the space it takes up – let’s expand on that.

smiley faces in kinetic sand

Is kinetic sand harmful if swallowed?

In small amounts, Kinetic Sand should not be harmful to medium or large sized dogs, although with very small dogs there is more of a risk. It’s not that the product is poison – it’s designed for kids and kids-at-heart to play with, but it’s still basically a foreign object to a human or canine gastrointestinal system.

Where the problem arises is with the behavior of the product. It’s designed to stick together and to pool in places, and so if enough volume is ingested, then there is a possibility of the Kinetic Sand doing what it’s supposed to do – clumping together – but inside of your dog!

Anything that can block the intestines, of course, is a worry, and while dogs normally wouldn’t seek out the stuff, accidental ingestion could certainly occur. For instance, if a kid made a ‘mock sundae’ out of Kinetic Sand and put a real fruit on top that the dog wanted, they might end up gobbling up a bit.

If your dog is a ‘greedy’ eater, then it might take them a moment to mentally say ‘wait, yuck!’, but by then the Kinetic sand has been ingested and you’ve got a problem on your hands. There’s also a risk that your child might be afraid to tell you, so it’s a good idea to know symptoms of impaction.

child playing with kinetic sand in dog shape

How do you know if your dog has sand impaction?

Knowing the symptoms of sand impaction is a useful thing. It applies not just to Kinetic Sand, but also plain, old beach sand, which dogs accidentally eat from time to time if someone has dropped a sandwich or other choice morsel in the sands.

Let’s take a look at the symptoms that might indicated sand impaction:

  • Vomiting
  • General Lethargy
  • Abdomen pain
  • Constipation (or pained defecation, often with sand present)
  • Loss of appetite (pooled sand in the tummy can make your dog feel full)

If you see any of these symptoms, then you should go ahead and get your dog in their crate and bring them in for a vet checkup. Your veterinarian has lots of useful tech to take a peek inside your dog’s body to make sure that there isn’t any sand present, ‘gumming up the works’ and endangering your dog’s health.

How do you treat sand impaction in dogs?

While your dog might well just poop it out, this will be a difficult process for them if they have ingested a goodly amount. The good news is that hydrophobic coating is non-toxic, as is the sand itself, and that coating makes the granules smooth, rather than abrasive – so there is only a small chance of internal bleeding.

It still takes up space, however, and it’s going to be hard for your dog to defecate, so your vet should be apprised of the situation so that they can help to get the sand safely out and to treat impaction symptoms during this process.

This will typically involve medications for the pain and for nausea, and your dog will likely receive intravenous fluids as the sand will likely affect their appetite and thirst but beyond this, it’s basically boils down to making your dog comfortable enough to safely pass it on their own.

While it’s possible that more steps might be required, unless it was a very large amount or your dog is older, too young/under-developed, or simply small, then likely they should still be able to pass the sand out safely with a little helping hand.

Some closing words on kinetic sand and your dog

So, there you have it! Kinetic Sand is, thankfully, non-toxic and considered to be a very minor risk. While it can cause impactions inside of your dog in large enough amounts, with smaller ones it will generally pass into their stool, though it might be a bit uncomfortable for your dog.

If you spot any of the symptoms which we’ve listed today or simply if you are worried, then it’s best to get your vet involved right away.

They can check your dog’s insides and at the very least, you’ll breathe better knowing that your dog’s health is not at risk or if there is a problem, that your veterinarian is taking care of it.

 Your dog will likely be fine but as with any potential threats to their health, it’s always good to have medical technology on your side!