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What happens if a dog eats Orbeez?

My child loves Obeez. She puts the beads in water, and is endlessly entertained by squishing and playing with them.

When my pooch took an interest in them, I started to wonder if they pose a risk to dogs. It turns out there’s some things you should know about your dog and Orbeez. 

What happens if a dog eats Orbeez?

Of course, kids love Orbeez. Because they are safe for kids, you may assume that they are safe for your pooch as well. However, they can pose a danger to your furry friend. 

What are Orbeez? 

Orbeez are also known as water crystals or water beads. Orbeez is actually the name of the brand that popularized the toy. 

These beads start out small. When placed in water, they grow up to 100 times their original size. This is because they are made of a highly absorbent polymer. 

This type of polymer is also used in baby diapers due to its absorbent properties.

Are Orbeez Toxic? 

No, Orbeez aren’t toxic. The type of polymer that they are made from is safe for both humans and dogs. 

The problem occurs when a dog ingests dry Orbeez, which expand in their stomach. 

What Happens if a Dog Eats Orbeez? 

 If a dog eats Orbeez, they can swell up in their stomach and cause an intestinal blockage. When they swallow the beads, they are very small. 

When they reach your dog’s stomach, they are exposed to gastric juices. These juices function the same way water does. The beads will absorb the moisture, and swell to many times their size. 

When they swell, they can’t pass through your dog’s system. Your dog’s stomach is designed to digest food into small pieces before it enters the intestines. Due to this, the intestines are designed to accommodate small pieces of food. Large materials like Orbeez can’t make it through the system because it’s too large. 

This creates a blockage. Once a blockage occurs, food and waste can no longer move through the system. This can be life threatening and requires prompt treatment. 

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage 

If your pooch gets an intestinal blockage, they will begin showing symptoms once things begin to back up. Many symptoms of a blockage are gastrointestinal. 

These include vomiting and abdominal pain. Your dog may not be able to poop due to the blockage. Their stomach will become painful to the touch, and they may whine or become aggressive if you touch their stomach. 

Other symptoms of intestinal blockage are behavioral. These include restlessness, whining, and loss of appetite. They may also become dehydrated.  

Dale’s Story

Dale Fisher is a 12 year old who loves his dog Prince. His family rushed Prince to the vet after he became very ill, and discovered that the problem was Orbeez. 

The type of Orbeez he swallowed began small, with a size of 3mm. When exposed to water, or stomach acid, it can grow to the size of a golf ball. 

In Prince’s case, an Orbee ball had gotten lodged in his intestine. Dale says Prince was vomiting and lethargic, even looking lifeless, which prompted him to visit the vet. 

The vet detected a lump in his lower abdomen. Prince required major surgery to remove the Orbee. The vet stated that the Orbee could have killed Prince had it continued to grow larger. 

Prince has now made a full recovery, but Dale is sharing his story to warn other pet owners. Orbeez may seem harmless, but they can cause your pooch serious harm if they ingest them. 

What to do if my dog eats Orbeez?

If your dog eats Orbeez, it’s best to take fast action. If the Orbeez aren’t quickly removed from their system, they can cause an intestinal blockage. 

Inducing Vomitting

The best thing to do if your dog has recently eaten Orbeez is to induce vomiting.  Generally, you can induce vomiting if it’s been less than two hours since your pooch consumed something they shouldn’t eat. 

In this case, it’s important to induce vomiting fairly quickly. It takes about 4 hours for Orbeez to grow to their full size in water, but it’s not known how fast or large they will grow in your dog’s stomach. 

If they become too large before you induce vomiting, it can cause your dog to choke when attempting to vomit them up. 

Induce vomiting within 1 to 2 hours after your dog consumes Orbeez. 

You can induce vomiting with something you probably have in your medicine cabinet. 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

Hydrogen peroxide induces vomiting because it breaks down into hydrogen and water in the stomach. This process causes it to bubble and foam, just as it does if you apply it to a cut. 

The foam will make your dog’s stomach feel too full. Naturally, the stomach will vomit up the contents to relieve the pressure. 

To get your pooch to vomit, give them 1 teaspoon of peroxide per 10 pounds of body weight. Walking them after giving them the peroxide can speed the process.

It typically takes 15 to 30 minutes after ingesting peroxide for vomiting to occur. If your pooch doesn’t vomit within 45 minutes, you can repeat the process one time. 

Be prepared for a mess. It can take up to 45 minutes for your dog to stop vomiting once they begin. It’s an unpleasant process, but much better than the alternatives. 

Vet Visit 

If your dog eats Orbeez, the best course of action is a vet visit, particularly if you can’t induce vomiting yourself. If you get them to the vet within a few hours after eating Orbeez, and you haven’t induced vomiting, your vet probably will. 

If it’s been longer than a few hours, your vet will probably perform some tests to check for a blockage. This may include blood work, x ray, MRI, or ultrasound. Diagnostic imaging tests like ultrasound and MRI can show the location of a blockage, if one occurs. 

Blood tests will tell the vet if the blockage is causing negative health effects for your pooch. 

Treatments for intestinal blockage vary based on the location and object. In the case of Orbeez, it will depend on how many your pooch ingested, and exactly where the blockage is. 

Some blockages will pass on their own. Others may be removed through endoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure. Others will require regular surgery to remove. 

If your pooch gets treatment for the intestinal blockage before lasting damage can occur, the prognosis is usually good. Many dogs make a full recovery.