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Batteries

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Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Oral pain
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Inappetance
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lack of defecation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

Batteries can be very dangerous when ingested by dogs. When a battery is punctured or swallowed, there is risk for the alkaline or acidic material to leak out, resulting in severe corrosive injury. The most common types of batteries ingested or chewed on by dogs are alkaline dry cell battery (e.g., 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA) or button/disc batteries. Disc-shaped batteries or lithium batteries are also very dangerous due to corrosive injury.

If a battery is ingested, the mouth should be carefully flushed for 15-20 minutes with tepid water. Dogs that ingest batteries should not have vomiting induced, as the corrosive liquid can rupture or severely damage the esophagus! Immediate veterinary attention is required after initially flushing of the mouth. X-rays should be performed; if the battery is seen in the body based on the x-rays, prompt removal is important (e.g., by endoscopy or surgery). Note that ulcers in the mouth may not be observed for hours after battery ingestion.

If you think your dog ate a battery, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for treatment recommendations.

Poison type: Household Items

Alternate names: AA, AAA, dry cell, lithium, battery, disc, alkaline, acidic, corrosive, button battery, batteries, heavy metal, corrosive