How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Pass a Foreign Object?

How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Pass a Foreign Object

I’ve written before about how my own dog managed to eat various items such as bits of Lego, plastic squeakers and such like. Every time it has happened, it’s induced a lot of panic in our household, because we’re quite rightly worried about him swallowing a foreign object and it getting stuck and hurting him. We’ve been lucky though, as each time the foreign object has passed and we’ve found it in his poop.

But it won’t always be this way and can depend on the size and shape of the foreign object and individual circumstances. So, please do call your vet for immediate advice as I outline in this post if your dog has swallowed one.

However, if it is small foreign object, it could possibly pass through your dog in quick time, but just how fast will this happen?

I decided to research how long it takes for a dog to poop out a foreign object and here’s what I discovered…

How long does it take for a dog to pass a foreign object? It is possible for a dog to pass a foreign object in as little as 10 to 24 hours. This is only if it is small enough to pass through the digestive tract and doesn’t become stuck. Due to the dangers of internal blockages you should call a vet for an expert view.

The answer above what will happen in the best-case scenario.

But your dog might not be able to poop out the foreign object, particularly if you have a small dog, or the foreign object was big or an odd shape. I can’t stress this enough; call your vet to get a professional opinion and diagnosis.

can dog poop out ring
Wedding rings are one of the most common things that dogs will swallow.

Can a dog poop out a foreign object?

Before I get into more detail about the mechanics of how long it takes for a dog to pass a foreign object, the first question to answer in more depth, is whether it’s even possible for it to be pooped out.

The answer is, it depends.

Some foreign objects are bigger than others, and some dogs are small. When you look at the shape and design of the foreign object, you need to consider whether it has sharp sides that can snag and tear your dog internally or whether it will be too large to pass through the colon. Whilst it might be swallowed easily, getting through your dog completely is another story.

Very small and smooth foreign objects can pass through a dog’s digestive system easily in many cases.

This is good news of course, but there will be other foreign objects which have design features that can make the situation more complicated.

So, your dog can poop out a foreign object in theory, but whether it does will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Is the foreign object small enough to pass through your dog’s system?
  • Is your dog large enough for the foreign object to pass?
  • Will the foreign object pass through your dog without getting snagged by the nozzle?
  • Does the foreign object has sharp sides or strange angles and points on it?

With my own dog, the stars aligned, and my vet was quite happy that my dog was able to poop out the foreign object due to the way it was positioned internally.

You might not know if the position is good unless your dog has X-ray or ultrasound at the vets to check the foreign object hasn’t become stuck.

The bottom line is this:

  • Some small foreign objects will be small enough to pass through your dog without the need for intervention.
  • Other larger foreign objects like socks can get stuck and might require surgical procedures to remove (or vomiting if still in the stomach).
can a dog poop a coin
Dogs will eat anything, even hard metallic coins!

How can I get my dog to pass a foreign object?

  1. Call the vet immediately: As soon as you see your dog has swallowed a foreign object, you need to act. Vets say you have around 2 hours before the toy or foreign object gets to their intestines, so this time is critical. Whilst you should remain calm, that doesn’t mean you should simply sit it out to wait if the foreign object passes through in your dog’s poop.
  2. Can you see the foreign object? If you can see the foreign object in your dog’s mouth and it’s not yet been fully swallowed, see if you can gently pull it out. If it’s anywhere near in the throat, do not attempt to fish it out as you could push it down further.
  3. Is your dog choking on the foreign object? If choking starts and you were unable remove the foreign object from your dog’s mouth, you can attempt a Heimlich maneuver. There’s a video on YouTube which shows you how to do it as well as a further video on PetMD.com.
  4. Do not induce vomiting unless your vet says: Whilst it might be tempting and makes sense to make your dog throw up, do not do it unless your vet tells you to. This is key, because if it’s a sharp object, it might cause more damage on the way back up… so describe the foreign object to your vet and wait for guidance. If you do decide to induce vomiting, your vet “might” recommend you give the dog 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to make them sick (according to JustAnswer.com).
  5. What happens at the vets? If you do end up at the vets, a number of things will happen. Depending on the diagnosis, your vet could induce vomiting at the clinic. It’s possible they would perform an X-ray or ultrasound first to see where the foreign object is before making a decision.

When vomiting isn’t an option and the vet does not think the foreign object will pass in your dog’s poop, surgery is performed if the item reaches the intestines.

This will mean sedation and the removal of the foreign object.

How can a foreign object get stuck?

Your dog has a digestive tract which starts at the mouth, goes down the oesophagus, through the belly and small intestine, into the colon, and eventually the rectum. This is the point a foreign object could get pooped out… if it gets that far.

Whilst the majority of foreign objects will pass through a dog by the 24-hour point, some objects can get stuck inside your dog for longer.

For example, if the foreign object can’t pass into your dog’s intestine, it will stay in the stomach for months possibly. When in the stomach, a lodged foreign object can result in intermittent chronic vomiting.

According to the Zoetis website:

“If the object becomes lodged and completely blocks the intestine, an urgent situation develops as the surrounding intestine deteriorates, and the animal’s condition may worsen rapidly. This can happen within hours of ingesting a foreign object or more commonly will happen later on and worsen over time.”

If the dog’s intestine then gets perforated, the animal can quickly deteriorate and could result in death.

But many times, a foreign object will pass through a dog and get pooped out if small enough. If the foreign object can reach the colon, it should pass through completely. If it’s too big, it will often get trapped in the stomach or small intestine.

How to tell if the foreign object won’t pass and be pooped out

Just as the foreign object might pass through your dog, there’s also a chance that it won’t be pooped out; you should always talk with a vet first.

There are some stark warning signs that things aren’t right, which indicate the foreign object won’t be passing through such as:

  • Your dog is vomiting.
  • Your dog is pawing at his mouth.
  • Your dog is hacking up or choking.
  • Your dog is drooling more than usual.
  • Your dog has a loss of appetite.
  • Your dog is acting strange, including lethargy.
  • Your dog has diarrhea.
  • Your dog has constipation from a blockage.
  • Your dog is showing obvious signs of pain.

Please Note: This content here is not intended to replace veterinary advice. It is based on my own personal experience and online research.

Conclusion

If your dog has swallowed a foreign object, please call a vet. Chances are your dog will be fine but should never take any chances. There’s no guarantee it will be pooped out.

Whilst my dog pooped the foreign object out and is passed inside of one day, he might not have been that lucky.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things I've learned about owning a dog, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips I've picked up along the way.

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