Your dog swallowed a battery – a nightmare scenario for pet owners everywhere. This can be a scary situation and your dog will need immediate medical attention. Before panic sets in, you must know the steps to take so you can keep your dog safe. Read below to learn about the effects of ingestion and what to do if your dog ate a battery so they can safely recover.
Effects of Battery Ingestion
If a battery is punctured, acidic or alkaline material will leak out. The most common battery ingested is an alkaline dry cell battery. Common alkaline dry cell batteries are AA, AAA, button/disc batteries, 9-volt, etc. Sodium or potassium hydroxide are common ingredients found in batteries. Both of these ingredients can cause severe ulceration to exposed tissues if ingested.
If swallowed, button-shaped batteries have the potential to conduct an electric current internally, leading to current-induced cell necrosis that results in tissue damage or perforation of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, or small intestine. Heavy metal toxicity can be caused by batteries that contain zinc, mercury, cobalt, nickel, or lead. Battery ingestion can also cause an intestinal blockage. If this occurs, surgery will be needed to remove the battery.
Symptoms of Battery Poisoning
If your dog swallowed a battery, check their mouth and tongue to see if the materials and corrosive effects are visible. Ulcers in the mouth may not be noticeable for hours after ingestion. Common signs of poisoning include:
- Oral pain
- Pawing at the mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Burns in the mouth
- Abdominal pain
You must act immediately if your dog has swallowed a battery. Contact Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian right away for life-saving advice. With caution, flush the mouth with lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes to remove traces of the battery. Don’t attempt to induce vomiting as this can result in burns to the esophagus. Take your dog to the veterinary clinic immediately for prompt treatment.
Your veterinarian may need to perform exams and X-rays to confirm whether the whole battery was swallowed or just its materials inside. If there’s a blockage, surgical removal will be required and administration of anti-ulcer medications for 5 to 7 days. A high fiber and bland diet is recommended following treatment. Don’t hesitate to call Pet Poison Helpline if you have any further questions or concerns.