Dogs have a habit of eating things they shouldn’t. If your pooch has eaten wire, you are probably worried. Will it hurt them? Should you rush them to the vet, or wait and see if they are ok?
What happens if a dog eats a wire?
What happens if your dog eats a wire depends on the type of wire, the size of your dog, and how much they ate. Most dogs are fine after ingesting wire, but there are some concerns you should be aware of.
One of the biggest concerns with a dog eating wire is electrocution. If they ate a power cord that was plugged in, they may get electrocuted. One of the scariest issues with this is that the symptoms aren’t always apparent immediately after the incident.
The symptoms of electrocution include vomiting, excessive drooling, and heavy breathing. Involuntary muscle spasms, seizures, or loss of consciousness can also occur. Crying or yelping and mouth irritation are other signals.
Lastly, your pooch may have singed hair. You may see burn marks or smell burning hair.
Copper Toxicity Wire
Electrical wires often contain copper wire, which can lead to copper toxicity.
Unfortunately, copper toxicity doesn’t typically show symptoms until the damage is already done. Copper toxicity damages the liver.
The symptoms of copper toxicity include abdominal pain and swelling, appetite loss, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Behavioral changes, including depression, disorientation, and confusion. Anemia and blood in the urine are also symptoms. They may have excessive thirst and urination as well. Because it damages the liver, jaundice also occurs. This causes the whites of the eyes to become yellow.
Metal wire can also cause toxicity. If your pooch eats metal wire, like fencing wire, it can cause lead or heavy metal poisoning.
Neurological symptoms of heavy metal poisoning include seizures, disorientation, loss of muscle coordination, and confusion.
Gastrointestinal symptoms can include stomach pain, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
If your pooch eats wire, particularly metal wire, they are at risk of an intestinal perforation.
This occurs when your dog eats something sharp. As it goes through the digestive tract, it can puncture a hole, particularly in the intestines.
Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and dehydration. They may also have diarrhea, which can be bloody. They may also be weak or lethargic.
An intestinal blockage can also occur when your dog eats wire. Your pooch can’t digest the wire, so the only way to pass it is intact. It may not be able to get through the digestive tract. In this case, it causes an intestinal blockage.
The blockage can be complete or partial. A partial blockage allows some food or waste to pass through, while a complete blockage completely blocks the intestines.
The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. Stomach pain and whining are also common symptoms.
What to do if my dog eats a wire?
If your dog eats a wire, they may need veterinary care. How to help your pooch will depend on the type of wire they ate, and any symptoms they may be experiencing.
If your pooch was electrocuted by an electrical cord, you’ll need to act quickly.
Turn Off the Power
First, turn off the power. Do not grab the cord or your dog. This can cause you to get shocked as well.
Instead, it’s best to turn it off via the breaker. Once the power is off, remove the cord from your dog’s mouth.
Unconscious or Conscious
If your pooch is unconscious, you’ll need to get them to the vet immediately. If your pooch is conscious, check their respiration and pulse rate.
To check your pooch’s respiration, you’ll need to listen to their breaths. Count each breath for 15 seconds, then multiply by 4 to get the breaths per minute, or bpm.
Small dogs, puppies, and large dogs should all take 15-30 breaths per minute. If your dog is taking 10 or less breaths per minute, or more than 60 breaths per minute, you should take them to the vet immediately.
Place 3-4 fingers on the inside of their leg. This is the femoral artery. You should feel it pulsing. If you don’t you may need to reposition your fingers. You can also place your hands on their chest to feel their heart beat.
Count the beats for 15 seconds, then multiply it by 4 to get the beats per minute, or bpm. Small dogs and puppies should have 100-140 bpm. Large dogs should have 70-120 bpm.
If the pulse is more than 20 bpm outside this range, your pooch needs veterinary care.
Copper or Metal Toxicity
Copper or metal toxicity must be treated by a vet. If your pooch has eaten copper or metal wire, you should bring them into the vet immediately.
They will perform tests to determine if your dog has toxicity. If they do, they will treat the toxicity. Medications like EDTA can chelate heavy metals, removing much of it from your dog’s system.
Blockage or Perforation
If your dog has symptoms of a blockage or perforation, they need immediate veterinary care. They may need surgery to remove the blockage or repair the perforation.
How to prevent my dog from eating a wire?
Prevention is the best form of treatment in this case. There are some steps you can take to be sure your pooch doesn’t eat wire.
Hide or Move Cords
First, move or hide all cords, particularly electrical cords, out of reach of your pup. Whenever possible, place them behind furniture or above your pooch’s reach.
If they are eating metal wire, then keep it well out of their reach. High shelves are typically the best place to put things you don’t want your dog to get ahold of.
Get Cord Covers
You can also purchase cord covers. These are designed to prevent dogs from chewing on the cords, protecting them. If you can’t move an electrical wire out of the way, this is the best solution.
Make Wires Unappealing
If your dog loves to chew on wires, spraying a bitter spray on them can be a deterrent. These sprays taste bad to dogs. Most dogs will quickly decide it’s not worth the bad taste, and will find other ways to occupy themselves.
Train Your Pooch
You’ll also need to train your pooch. If you find them chewing on something they shouldn’t redirect them. Give them something they are supposed to chew on. Be sure to remove access to the object they shouldn’t chew.
You can also work on training them by teaching the sit or stay commands. If you see your dog chewing on something off limits, use sit or stay to get them to stop and sit down.
Give Them Options
Be sure to give your dog things they can chew on. Chew treats or toys should be available so your dog has something appropriate to chew. Remember different dogs prefer different types of materials.
If they prefer rubber, rope, or leather chews, keep these around for them.
Keep Them Entertained
A bored dog will get into trouble. It’s a rule of the universe. They are much like a small child. If they are left to their own devices, they will do things you don’t want them to do, including chewing or eating things.
You can keep your pooch busy by giving them plenty of exercise and play sessions. Puzzle toys and walks are also helpful. Dogs require both mental and physical stimulation to stave off boredom.
If your pooch has a habit of eating non-food items, they may have pica. It can be caused by a physical or behavioral issue. If you suspect your dog has pica, the first step is to take them to the vet.
They will perform an exam, and determine if there’s a physical cause for the pica. If there’s no physical cause, it must be handled from a behavioral perspective.
Keeping your pooch busy with plenty of physical and mental activity. Try to eliminate or reduce stress, as this can also trigger pica. You may need to work with a trainer or animal behavioral therapist.