Dogs love to chew, and this is actually necessary to keep their teeth in good condition; but they do need to be provided with appropriate things to chew on! Some dogs will chew on anything they can get hold of, even if it turns out to be harmful for them; like batteries.
As all of us have batteries of some sort in use in the home in places, it is a good idea to learn about the danger these can pose to dogs, and to keep batteries well out of your dog’s reach.
So, is it dangerous if your dog chews a battery? Yes, it certainly can be. This article will tell you why, and what to do if your dog chews a battery. Read on to learn more.
The types of batteries a dog is most likely to see as an inappropriate chew toy are the ones that are small enough to fit into their mouths, and that they’re likely to come across in some capacity in their everyday lives.
This means two different types of small batteries, being dry cell alkaline and lead acid batteries like 9 volt batteries, and AA, AAA, D and C batteries.
These are a few cm long, cylindrical or square, and the types of batteries we use in all sorts of things around the house.
Most of us also have a junk drawer with any number of odd and possibly non-functional batteries of these types in them too, and they’re the sort of batteries we use in things like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, torches, clocks, kid’s toys, portable fans, and any number of other things too.
The other type of batteries you might have around the house in various things (including that junk drawer) are button or disc-type batteries. These power things like watches and thermometers.
Yes, batteries of the types outlined above can be very dangerous to your dog if your dog chews or eats them, and in a couple of different ways.
When it comes to those little disc batteries, there’s another risk too; they’re round and flat, and so depending on the size of the battery and the size of your dog, might lodge in their throat or windpipe and occlude their air supply and pose a choking hazard.
The other and perhaps main danger of alkaline and lead acid batteries is that when your dog chews them they will release the acid or alkaline, which is caustic and will cause a corrosive burn to your dog, either their mouth, an area of the skin the battery comes into contact with or worse, internally if swallowed.
A battery of this type that is very old or damaged might release the acid or alkali even without being chewed too.
If you spot your dog chewing a battery, take it off them immediately, check to see if it was damaged (wear gloves when handling it to protect your own skin) and contact your vet if you can see that the battery was leaking, or if you’re in any doubt, even if your dog looks and appears fine.
If you’re not sure if your dog chewed a battery but they’re displaying some symptoms and you’re not sure why, there are a number of potential diagnoses your vet will need to consider before reaching a conclusion and beginning treatment.
If your dog swallowed a disc battery or it is lodged in their throat, look for coughing, retching, laboured or erratic breathing, an ability to feel the obstruction externally, and other signs they’re choking or have a blockage, even if not fully. This constitutes an extreme emergency as it might fully occlude their airway, so call your vet immediately and prepare to take your dog to the clinic.
If you see your dog chewing a battery and that the battery has been punctured, or if they have swallowed a battery and so you can’t tell if it was damaged, the first thing to do is to wash your dog’s mouth out for several minutes using nothing but lukewarm water, and to call your vet (or ideally ask someone else to do this) for advice on what to do next.
You should never attempt to make your dog sick if they’ve eaten a battery or you think they’ve swallowed battery acid, as all this will achieve is to cause further corrosive damage when it comes back up, should you be successful.
An acid or alkaline burn or other damage from chewing a battery might not appear instantly; if it did, your dog would soon stop their chewing. So be aware that symptoms might not develop for a few hours, which can make it harder to identify the problem.
Always call your vet if you’re unsure, or have suspicions that something is amiss.