Pet owners should be aware of the serious risks associated with dogs and batteries. Not only can a battery’s corrosive chemicals cause severe damage to their internal organs, but it may also present a choking hazard if swallowed. It is vital that responsible pet owners take steps to ensure their animals are kept away from all hazardous items such as remote controls and children’s toys that could contain potentially dangerous disposable or rechargeable batteries. If you suspect your dog has ingested any type of battery, seek professional medical assistance immediately by contacting both your veterinarian as well as Pet Poison Helpline® for further information and advice on how best to proceed in this situation.
The Risks of Ingesting a Battery
While battery leakage might seem like a benign problem, it can be quite dangerous for our four-legged friends. Common alkaline dry cell batteries such as AA, AAA and 9-volt contain sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide – both of which when ingested by pets cause serious ulceration to exposed tissues. Button shaped batteries are capable of conducting electricity internally if swallowed, potentially leading to tissue damage and even perforate the sensitive walls in their mouths, esophagus, small intestines or stomach.
Batteries also contain toxic metals, such as zinc, mercury, cobalt, nickel, or lead, that can cause heavy metal toxicity. Consuming batteries can cause an intestinal blockage that requires surgical removal. If you suspect your dog has swallowed a battery, it is imperative to contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® immediately.
Symptoms of Battery Poisoning
If your dog has swallowed a battery, you may be able to visibly see the materials and corrosive effects of the battery on your dog’s mouth or tongue. Common signs of poisoning include:
- Oral pain
- Pawing at the mouth
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Burns in the mouth
- Abdominal pain
Treatment for Battery Poisoning
Don’t take chances if your pup has ingested or punctured a battery – it’s an emergency situation. Contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and reach out to your veterinarian right away for advice on first aid. Then, carefully flush the mouth with lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes. Attempting to induce vomiting could cause further harm. Following this essential initial step in treatment, prompt veterinary care is needed without hesitation.
To confirm whether your dog has swallowed a battery or only ingested its chemicals, it’s essential to involve trained professionals in the form of an oral and physical exam – with the possibilities of X-rays. If required, treatment could include removal of said object along with anti-ulcer meds for 5–7 days. Depending on symptoms shown after ingestion, a high fiber/bland diet may be recommended by your veterinarian. Surgery might need to take place if the battery doesn’t pass naturally through their system. Contact the experts at Pet Poison Helpline® if you have any further questions or concerns.