What should I do if my dog eats a plastic bag?

An important note for dog owners

Most dogs are excessively curious, especially young dogs. Often they “taste” everything they come across. Therefore, there are situations when four-legged pets swallow an inedible object, including a plastic bag.

Most often this does not cause problems, because the foreign object, having passed through the gastrointestinal tract, comes out naturally. But there are cases where the object gets stuck in the stomach or intestines. What do I do if my dog eats a plastic bag completely?

There are signs that indicate an obstruction of the stomach or intestines. They don’t always correspond only to this condition, but should be an “alarm bell” for the owner to examine the dog.


  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Abdominal soreness;
  • Lack of appetite;
  • Tension when defecating;
  • Weakness;
  • Changes in behavior;
  • Coughing.

Dog ate a plastic bag, what to do

If you see that your pet has eaten a bag, do not immediately panic. There is a good chance that he will come out on his own with the next stool, especially if the bag has been chewed.

However, the bag can stay inside the stomach for a long time. This option is possible, especially if the dog is small and the bag is large. At best, it will lead to gastritis. But it can result in gastric or intestinal obstruction, rotting of the food, or peritonitis. Each of these situations can lead to the death of the pet.

If a plastic or cellophane bag is eaten, the pet may choke or choke, causing choking.

If, within two days of watching your pet, you are convinced that the bag has not come out, be sure to see your veterinarian.

The clinic will offer you x-rays with contrast, which may reveal an intestinal obstruction. This procedure takes several hours. Therefore, the dog will have to be left in the hospital or come to the doctor several times. An x-ray without contrast will not give a result because polyethylene does not retain the x-rays. If an intestinal blockage is diagnosed, surgical intervention is required.

In rare cases, the bag remains in the stomach for a long time without manifesting itself in any way. After a certain period of time, it moves out of place and clogs the intestines. Therefore, if the dog is unwell (vomiting persistently), even if you are not sure that the dog ate the bag, it makes sense to take an X-ray.

An ultrasound does not always reveal an intestinal obstruction – an x-ray with contrast is a more reliable procedure for diagnosis.

It is possible that the dog ate the bag and is not bothered by anything. Then you just need to wait for the natural release of the foreign body. To speed up the process, you can give the pet pet Vaseline oil, which facilitates the exit of the feces. The oil should be given orally two to four times a day, one teaspoon per 22 lbs (10 kg) of your dog’s body weight, until he passes stools. Vaseline oil should not be given for more than two days – it interferes with normal absorption in the intestines.

If you notice during defecation that only part of the bag came out, do not pull on the protruding part of it. You should cut the dangling part with scissors and wait until the whole bag comes out by itself.

How to prevent a plastic bag from getting into your dog’s system

You should avoid situations in which your pet could ingest a plastic bag:

  • The trash can should be in a locked place that your dog cannot open on his own;
  • Bags and bags of food – meat, sausage, etc. – should not be left in the package;
  • Packaging from tasty foods, from the dog’s point of view, should be thrown away immediately after unpacking in a place inaccessible to the pet. As a rule, packages without an appealing odor are not swallowed by dogs (but it is also possible);
  • The dog’s diet should be balanced, so that he will not look elsewhere for the elements he needs;
  • Proper training should be done to make your dog dislike plastic bags;
  • Walk your dog on a leash or muzzle;
  • Keep an eye out for sudden behavioral changes and changes in the pet’s condition so you can take action in time to prevent the death of the pet.

Reyus Mammadli/ author of the article

I have had pets since childhood: cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, geese, chickens, ducks, parrots, aquarium fish and dogs (in the yard). Of course, I constantly encountered diseases of pets and treated them. Glad to be able to share my skills and experience, as well as advice on caring for and adapting these critters and birds.

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