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What happens if my dog ate a glue stick?

Dogs are notoriously curious creatures. Since they explore their world largely with their mouth and nose, they tend to eat things they shouldn’t. Glue isn’t something you would expect a dog to find appealing, but it’s fairly common for them to eat it. 

What happens if my dog ate a glue stick?

Your child is happily making a creation with construction paper and a glue stick. They are finally old enough to know not to put the stick in their mouth, so you get a few minutes to yourself. 

When you come back, you notice a problem. Your child didn’t eat the glue stick, the dog did. What can you expect to happen? 

What Are Glue Sticks? 

First, let’s take a look at what’s meant by glue stick. Typically, a glue stick is a stick of glue, often used by kids because it’s easier to work with than glue from a bottle. They resemble a large lipstick tube. In addition to the glue itself, some dogs will eat the plastic tube that houses the glue. 

 However, it can also mean a hot glue stick, which is used in a hot glue gun. We’ll take a look at both types, and the potential effects on your dog. 

What’s In a Glue Stick?

The first concern when your dog ingests anything they shouldn’t be eating is toxicity and the ingredients it contains. 

Nearly all glues are made from a polymer, with other chemicals added to form the glue. These different polymers and ingredients determine the type of glue and its properties. 

Glue sticks are typically made from an acrylic polymer. This is nontoxic to dogs and humans. The chemicals added often have long, complex names, but they are also nontoxic. 

Hot glue sticks are made from different polymers than regular glue sticks. They are typically made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), polyesters, polyethylene, and ethylene-methyl acrylate (EMA). These polymers are also nontoxic. 

Risk of Gastroenteritiis

The problem with your dog eating glue sticks of either type is gastroenteritis. Even though they aren’t actually toxic, they can cause stomach irritation. Stomach irritation and inflammation is known as gastroentertitis. 

Bodies are designed to expel anything foreign or harmful. This is why stomach viruses and bacteria cause diarrhea and vomiting. The body is trying to rid itself of the pathogen. If you’ve ever had food poisoning, you know just how determined the body can be. It’s very unpleasant. 

When your dog eats a glue stick,depending on their size and how much they consumed, you can expect them to have vomiting and diarrhea. If they only ate a small amount, they may experience no symptoms at all. 

If they’ve eaten a larger amount, then vomiting and diarrhea are likely. 

Are glue sticks toxic to dogs?

No, glue sticks are not toxic to dogs. However, they can experience some stomach upset due to gastroenteritis caused by stomach irritation. 

Other Types of Glue

The glue used to make glue sticks is nontoxic, but other types of glue can be very dangerous to your dog. Super glue is not toxic, but it can be fatal to your dog. 

It can cause parts of their mouth or esophagus to seal shut. Once it makes its way into the stomach and intestines, it can become a large mass that creates an obstruction. This can be fatal if not treated quickly with surgery. 

Polyurethane glues also pose a serious risk to your pooch. The most well known polyurethane glue is Gorilla Glue. Again, the problem isn’t toxicity. 

Instead, the glue has a chemical reaction with stomach acid. It turns into a foam. This foam expands, and then hardens. This creates an obstruction that must be removed surgically. 

What to do if my dog eats a glue stick?

If your dog has eaten a glue stick, you’ll need to take some precautions. These basic steps will have you and your dog navigate this situation. 

Remove the Glue Sticks

The first step is to make sure your dog can’t eat any more glue. Remove any glue sticks, and store them out of reach of your dog. 

Check the Ingredients

Next, check the ingredients on the label. Most glue sticks will say nontoxic. However, you’ll need to write down any ingredients listed on the label. This will be helpful if you need to contact your vet or poison control. 

Monitor Your Dog

Assuming they ate a typical glue stick that has no toxins, the next step is simply to monitor them. You’ll want to watch for the symptoms of poisoning, which we will look at in the next section. 

Vomitting and diarrhea are nothing to worry about. However, if it’s severe, or you notice other symptoms, you’ll need to seek professional help. 

Getting Help For Pet Poisoning

You have two options if your dog needs treatment for poisoning. The first, and most obvious, is your vet. However, your vet may not be experienced with the substance your dog consumed. The good news is, there’s another option. 

The Pet Poison Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anytime you are concerned about a substance your dog has ingested, they can help. 

They have an extensive database of potential poisons. Simply tell them what your dog ate, including any ingredients you find listed. You’ll need to tell them how much your dog ate, and their size. They may also ask about your dog’s age, breed, and medical history. 

Once they have this information, they will guide you in the next steps. They can tell you if your dog needs veterinary care. If they do, Poison Helpline will work with your vet to design an appropriate treatment plan. 

The service is fee-based, but it can literally be a lifesaver. It can also save you a trip to the vet if you can treat your pet at home. You can reach the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

Inducing Vomitting

Some vets recommend inducing vomiting if your dog eats a glue stick. Do not induce vomiting if your dog is lethargic or unconscious. If it’s been more than 3-6 hours since they ate the substance, vomitting will do little good. It’s already been absorbed into the system. 

Never induce vomiting if your dog has ingested a caustic substance, like bleach. This can cause more damage. This also applies to sharp objects, as well as items that could choke your dog when coming back up. 

It’s advisable to contact your vet or poison control before inducing vomiting. If you want to proceed, you’ll need hydrogen peroxide. 

Nearly everyone has hydrogen peroxide in their medicine cabinet. This is all you need to get your dog to vomit up what they shouldn’t have eaten.

You’ll want to give your dog 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide for every 5 pounds of body weight. If they weigh 45 pounds or more, give no more than 3 tablespoons. 

If your dog hasn’t puked within 15 minutes, you can administer another dose. Never give more than two doses. Be sure that the hydrogen peroxide is 3%, which is the common concentration for home use. Higher concentrations can be toxic to dogs.  

Vomitting can last up to 45 minutes, so be prepared to stay with your dog and clean up after them. 

What are the signs of poisoning in dogs?

Poisoning is a scary situation for you and your dog. If you suspect your dog has been poisoned, you need to contact your vet or poison control immediately. 

It’s important to note that the signs of poisoning can vary greatly depending on the substance. These symptoms can also be caused by other medical issues. 

Mild Signs of Poisoning

If your dog displays mild signs of poisoning, you’ll need to monitor them closely. 

Vomitting and diarrhea are the most common signs of poisoning in dogs. You may also notice agitation. If these symptoms are severe, seek immediate veterinary care. If they are mild, you can monitor them at home.

Oral Signs of Poisoning

Oral signs of poisoning may be the first symptoms to occur, or they may appear following stomach upset. Oral symptoms of poisoning include drooling, oral irritation, and pale gums. Drooling can occur due to mouth irritation or stomach upset. Pale gums are often a sign of dehydration or reduced oxygen in the blood. 

Serious Signs of Poisoning

Serious signs of poisoning require immediate treatment. In addition to those listed above, symptoms include seizures, convulsions, or tremors. Unsteadiness or confusion are also concerning symptoms. 

Organ problems associated with poisoning include heart problems, abnormal heart beat, kidney failure, inability to urinate, and liver failure. These can cause excessive bruising, bleeding, and nose bleeds. 

Can a glue stick get stuck in a dog’s stomach?

The glue from a glue stick itself will not get stuck in the stomach. The plastic container, however, can be problematic. 

If your dog eats the plastic, it can cause perforations or obstructions. Sharp pieces of plastic, which can occur if it has been chewed into pieces, can cut areas in the digestive tract. 

If a large piece is swallowed, there’s a good chance it will get stuck somewhere in the system. If it goes through the esophagus, it can get stuck in the large or small intestine. This type of obstruction typically requires surgery to remove, and is life threatening. 

Hot glue sticks don’t pose much of a danger of getting stuck. They are flexible, and will soften slightly in the body’s warmth. There is a small chance it could get stuck in the digestive tract, but it’s unlikely.