My Dog Ate Aluminum Foil: What Should I Do Now?

We know that everyone will definitely agree that dogs are pretty much careless in everything that they eat. Whatever smells and looks appealing is instant food for them. 

This time, if your canine companion has aluminum foil ingestion, it has a higher chance of getting sick. This is because aluminum or tin foil can cause choking, especially for small breeds. It may also contain a harmful substance that leads to food poisoning. However, most of them will just poop it out but some will, unfortunately, be needed to have professional veterinary help. 

But do you already know what to do if your dog ate aluminum foil?

If not, read more to find out!

See how Much Chocolate your dog can eat before you must call the vet?

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Aluminum Foil?

1. You have to calm down and breathe

No need to panic, it won't do you good. Know that most of the dogs, specifically the large breeds, will eventually poop it out and feel nothing at all. 

2. Know how much your dog has ingested

The second thing that you should do is check how much aluminum foil it has eaten and check if there are any traces of food left. You should probably know what kinds of food that causes poisoning to dogs. Because most of the time, the food in the aluminum foil is what makes the dog sick, especially garlic and chocolates. 

3. Observe any changes in behavior

Another thing to do is to check your dog's behavior and health. Signs of food toxicity or poisoning are diarrhea, restlessness, and vomiting. If you observed that your dog has been showing weird behavior, then consult your nearest veterinarian immediately. If not, just relax and keep monitoring your dog. 

4. Keep on monitoring

Usually, the aluminum foil will bring no harm to your dog will just be digested together with other food. You may not see it in his poop, but it will probably be eliminated within a couple of days and see your dog stable and breathing. But as mentioned, if your dog keeps showing signs of pain and food poisoning, then take him for a veterinary examination. 

5. Prevent access

Make sure to put away any piece of foil within your dog's reach. Keep it inside a sealable container, drawers, cabinets, pantry, and place it as high as possible. Do this not just for the aluminum foil but for any toxic food or anything that may cause harm to your fur buddy. 

Can Aluminum Foil Kill A Dog?

It depends. According to research, most dogs are able to digest aluminum without harmful effects. Meaning, there is nothing to worry about as long as your dog is doing just fine after the incident. But the worst thing that it can do to your dog is to cut a portion of your dog's intestine and lead to bleeding and death. Moreover, here are some dangers that aluminum foil can give to your dog:

  • Risk of choking

Puppies or smaller dogs are more prone to this risk. Eating a large quantity of aluminum foil may have a chance of being crumpled and cause blockage in the throat. Aside from breathing difficulty, it will also cause intestinal obstruction or gastritis; hence a veterinarian is needed. 

When a dog has a blockage in the intestine, it will not be able to eat and eliminate waste properly. While gastritis can lead to severe inflammation in the stomach and may become chronic. 

However, if your dog has eaten a very small amount of foil, then it is probably safe enough.

  • Food poisoning

As mentioned above, the food wrapped with aluminum foil is what makes it dangerous to your dog, too. Some foods that are toxic to your dogs are chocolates, onions, garlic, salt, beans, nuts, corn cub, grapes, raisins, and more. 

For instance, if a bar of chocolate has used aluminum or tin foil as a wrapper, then it will certainly poison your dog, especially if consumed in a large amount. This can result in inflammation in the digestive system and should be consulted immediately to a vet. 

  • Aluminum Toxicity

Though it has not been proven by veterinarians that aluminum can kill animals, non-edible foods are still toxic to dogs. Medical professionals have always been keen on reminding us that toxic metals, like aluminum, can alter nutrient minerals in enzyme binding organs if consumed in high quantity since it does not occur naturally inside the human and animal body. 

What Signs Might I See After My Dog Has Eaten Aluminum Foil? (Symptoms)

These are the following signs that your dog might manifest after ingesting aluminum foil:

  • Vomiting

If your dog has been vomiting for more than a day, you might need to bring it to an emergency vet. However, if it has vomited only once, it is usually a normal reaction of indigestion. 

  • Constipation

This is a sign of a blockage in the intestine area and will usually result in bloating of the abdomen. Thus, it can have a swollen stomach and feels pain when you rub or touch the belly area. It can also have a hard time lying down, sleeping, or resting as it used to.

  • Blood excretion

This is not a good sign since stools with blood are signs of bleeding in the internal organs. Immediately consult your veterinarian and conduct further testing.

  • Diarrhea

Recurring diarrhea is a sign of food poisoning; hence you should check the stools if it has blood, aluminum foil, and other weird signs. Make sure to make your dog drink enough electrolyte to prevent dehydration.

  • Breathing difficulty

This could be a sign of suffocation due to an allergic reaction or blockage caused by the sharp edges of the foil. If this is the case, rush your pet to a veterinary hospital.

  • Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite or uninterested in his favorite dog food can be a sign of indigestion from aluminum foil since it cannot discharge and will always feel full and nauseated. This can lead to dehydration and lethargy.

  • Lethargy

Weakness and fatigue can happen to your dog due to the release of chemical messengers called cytokines. This is usually the feeling when it does not eat well during mealtime.

  • Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity during food poisoning means your dog is panicking, becomes restless, and whiny due to discomfort in the body.

If your dog shows a couple of these symptoms, it might need urgent medical attention. 

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Poop Out Something He Ate?

According to Dr. Ingrid Pyka of Pet Insurance, it normally takes up to 10 to 24 hours for a swallowed foreign object, including aluminum foil, to poop out from the entire digestive tract of the dog. However, some objects, especially large ones, can stay in the stomach for a longer time, even months.

A normal digestion process will smoothly pass through the mouth, then to the esophagus, down into the stomach, through the long small intestine, and then forming a stool in the colon, and easily goes out to the rectum. 

If a large quantity of aluminum foil is eaten, it will probably obstruct the stomach outflow or within the small intestine. Also, excreting large and sharp-edged objects may result in a painful or abrasion in the rectum, which may need veterinary assistance. 

How Do You Clear a Dog's Blockage?

The American Kennel Club suggested that if your dog has been showing any symptoms of blockage due to ingesting foreign or non-edible objects, you should let your veterinarian perform a physical exam such as a radiograph, endoscopy, or ultrasound to confirm any presence of a toxic object in your dog's body. 

Professionals will also have the chance in giving your dog fluids to prevent dehydration and to lessen vomiting and nausea as well. The worst solution for a blockage is to do surgery under anesthesia to fully open up the abdomen or intestine to save your dog from further danger. 

After conducting tests and treatment, you should strictly follow any professional advice and recommendations. Also, keep on monitoring your dog if there are any recurring symptoms. Another way is to prevent your dog from doing stressful activities like running and long walks. Make sure to replenish fluids and provide soft meals in the recovery period.

Final Thoughts

Aluminum foil might not cause your dog to die in most cases, but it can certainly bring harm to its health. There are too many unpredictable consequences of eating non-edible objects, especially for dogs who have sensitive stomachs. We all know how prevention is way better than cure, right? So, better get off any toxic objects that you think might bring harm to your buddy. 

Also, consider buying a dog-proof trash bin to stop your dog from digging dirty and toxic waste. Remember that it is your responsibility to keep them safe and healthy at all times. 

Julia is an animal volunteer and a Vet Tech she helps us with research and product evaluation. She also have worked in technical roles that help her sift through the marketing smoke screen. She is passionate about all animals and often helps out at shelters.