I’ve mentioned before about how my own dog nearly managed to swallow my wife’s wedding ring. At the time we were in pure panic mode but just about managed to hook it out of his mouth before he swallowed it. After this scary event, I was speaking about it to a vet friend of mine. She explained how dangerous this could have actually been, but also how the wedding ring could have equally just passed through our dog in his poop.
My dog swallowed a ring: what happens?
And here’s the thing; whether the ring will pass through your dog’s system will depend on the size and shape of the ring, your dog’s size, and individual circumstances. So, please do call your vet for immediate advice as if your dog has swallowed a ring. Not only can it lead to a blockage or an internal tear, but your dog could also get zinc poisoning from the ring if it has zinc components.
However, if it is smaller smooth ring with no stones or decoration on it, it might possibly pass through your dog. And if it does, how quickly will this happen?
I decided to research how long it takes for a dog to poop out a ring and here’s what I found out this week…
How long does it take for a dog to pass a ring? It is possible for a dog to pass a ring 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 and tearing 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 ring. Even if they do poop it out, there’s a chance of zinc toxicity too or stones on the ring cutting your dog internally. Metal can stick to the walls of your dog’s stomach, and could tear the intestine and colon as it passes through. I can’t stress this enough; call your vet to get a professional opinion and diagnosis.
Can a dog poop out a ring when swallowed?
Before I get into more detail about the mechanics of how long it takes for a dog to pass a ring after swallowing, 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 rings are bigger than others, rings come in different shapes, metallic materials, and decorations on, some with sharper edges. Then the sizes of the dog will play a part too. For example, if my wedding band in the photo above was swallowed by a large dog, chances are it will pass easily. If my wife’s wedding ring with jewels on was swallowed by a small dog, it could lodge or even tear the insides.
In cases like this, only surgery can resolve the situation to remove the ring before it causes and long-term or serious damage.
Luckily many rings are smooth, which can help them to pass through a dog’s digestive system… but not all, so some might get stuck. Either way, don’t take any chances.
There is also have another risk which is zinc poisoning as this is a component of some rings and jewellery. That can make the situation more complicated.
So, your dog can poop out a ring in theory, but whether it does will depend on a number of factors including:
- Is the ring small enough to pass through your dog’s system?
- Are there any sharp edges, decorations, or stones on the ring that could cut your dog inside?
- Is your dog large enough for the ring to pass?
- Will the ring pass through your dog without getting snagged and lodged internally?
With many dogs, the stars will align and you should find that your dog poops out the ring due to the way it is 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 ring hasn’t become stuck, or isn’t likely to become lodged on its travels.
How can a ring get stuck after being swallowed by a dog?
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 small ring could get pooped out… if it gets that far.
Whilst the majority of very small foreign objects will pass through a dog by the 24-hour point, some large or odd-shaped objects can get stuck inside your dog for longer.
For example, if the ring can’t pass into your dog’s intestine, it can possibly stay in the stomach for months. 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 by a jewel or sharp edge of a wedding ring, the animal can quickly deteriorate and could even die.
But many times, a ring will pass through a dog and get pooped out. If the wedding ring 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.
Should you be worried about zinc poisoning?
Back in 1982, the United States government began minting coins using zinc with a slim copper coating, because it was far cheaper than copper to produce. Unfortunately for dogs, this puts their health at risk. When swallowed, your dog’s stomach acid can dissolve this thin layer of copper, meaning they are then exposed to zinc.
This means that coins are particularly dangerous when swallowed by dogs.
How does that relate to rings though?
Well, some rings are made from zinc alloy. Whilst it’s not the most common metal found in rings, it’s still worth considering.
Dogs with zinc poisoning from a ring that has not passed and been pooped will exhibit some very serious symptoms (and possible death) including:
- Pale gums.
- Yellowed eyes (jaundiced).
- Destruction of red blood cells.
- Leading to:
- Liver damage / liver failure.
- Kidney failure.
- Heart failure.
How to tell if the ring won’t pass and be pooped out
Just as the ring 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.
A vet will be able to perform an x-ray on your dog to locate the position and size of the ring. If you can tell the vet what type of ring it was too and describe it, that will help as it can indicate whether zinc toxicosis or internal tears are a possibility.
Many wedding rings have elaborate designs so might need to be surgically removed before they reach your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.
How do I know if my dog swallowed a wedding ring?
There are some stark warning signs that things aren’t right, which indicate your dog swallowed a ring, and it 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.
If your dog has swallowed a wedding ring, please call a vet immediately. You should never take any chances with things like this as there’s no guarantee it will be pooped out.
Whilst many dogs will poop the ring out and it will be passed inside of one day, not all of them will be that lucky.
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