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What happens if my dog eats nail glue?

You are doing your nails, and someone knocks at the door. You lay your nail glue aside, and answer your door. When you come back, you find that your dog has eaten your nail glue. 

You are much more concerned about your dog than your half-finished nails. Can nail glue harm them? Will they be ok? 

What happens if my dog eats nail glue?

Unfortunately, nail glue does pose some health risks to your pooch. How much danger your pooch is in depends on how much they ate, their size, and general health. 

Ingredients in Nail Glue

The ingredients in nail glue include ethyl cyanoacrylate, BHA, citric acid, and hydroxypropyl methacrylate.

Ethyl Cyanoacrylate

Ethyl cyanoacrylate is an ingredient in many glues, including superglue. It is an irritant. If it is swallowed or gets into your dog’s mouth, it can cause serious irritation to their mouth and digestive tract. 


Surpisingly, BHA is a common chemical in beauty products. It is known to cause allergies, immune  system disorders, and organ damage. It increases cancer risk, and can affect the brain and immune system. 

It’s not clear how much BHA can be toxic. In small amounts, your pooch will likely be fine. However, if they consume a large amount, it is concerning. 

Citric Acid

Citric acid is not toxic. However, it is highly acidic, and can cause irritation to your dog’s skin or digestive tract. 

Hydroxypropyl Methacrylate

Hydroxypropyl methacrylate is another irritant. Like citric acid, it’s not truly toxic, but can cause irritation and discomfort. 

Stomach Irritation and Upset

If your pooch ingests nail glue, there’s a good chance they will experience stomach upset. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are dealing with a toxic substance. 

Instead, it’s often caused by stomach irritation. The ingredients in nail glue can irritate the stomach and digestive tract, which can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. 

Your pooch may require a bland diet and stomach medication to treat digestive upset caused by nail glue. 

Mouth Irritation or Injury

Your pooch can also experience mouth irritation or injury from eating nail glue. Just like the stomach, the mouth can become irritated due to the chemicals in nail glue. 

You may notice redness in your dog’s mouth. They may also whine while eating or not want to eat. This is because eating is painful when the mouth is irritated. 

If you’ve ever had a toothache or mouth infection, you know how this feels for your pooch. 

The other concern when your dog eats nail glue is that it can glue their mouth shut. This can be a scary experience for you and your pooch. 

Bowel Obstruction 

When your dog eats glue, it ingests it in liquid form. After it gets into your dog’s system, it can become a solid mass. Think of glue when it’s dry. It becomes solid. 

Once it solidifies, it can cause an intestinal blockage. The blockage can be either complete or partial. A partial blockage will allow some food or waste to pass through. A complete blockage doesn’t allow anything to pass through the system. 

The symptoms of a bowel obstruction are vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. They may also experience loss of appetite, weakness, lethargy, and inability to poop. 

What to do if my dog eats nail glue?

If your dog eats nail glue, there are some things you should do. Most dogs will recover from eating nail glue with no lasting issues, but they may require veterinary treatment. 

Remove the Glue

The first, and most obvious step, is to remove access to the nail glue. This will prevent your dog from eating more of the glue. Be sure to put it in a place where your pooch can’t reach the glue. 

Check Their Mouth and Airway

It’s possible that your dog’s mouth can become glued shut when they eat nail glue. Be sure to check their mouth. If their mouth opens, look inside. Be sure there’s not a mass of glue within their mouth. 

You should also listen to their breathing. Be sure they are not struggling to breathe, because this indicates an airway obstruction. 

If their mouth is glued shut or their airway is blocked, bring them in to the vet immediately. 

Give Water 

It’s a good idea to make sure your pooch has access to water immediately, assuming that their mouth isn’t sealed shut. This may reduce the irritation caused by the glue. 

Contact A Professional 

Now that the immediate steps have been completed, it’s a good idea to get some professional help with the situation. You have two options. The first is to call your dog’s vet. 

They will ask about the glue and how much you think your dog ate. Then, they will let you know if you should monitor them or bring them in for an evaluation. 

The other option is to contact animal poison control. You can contact the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 764-7661. They have a database of toxic substances. 

They will ask questions about your dog’s age, size, and health, as well as the glue they ingested. They can then advise you on the next steps to take. 

If they recommend veterinary care, they can work with your vet to determine a treatment plan. There is a fee for the service, but it can be less expensive than a vet bill. 

Monitoring Your Dog

If your pooch doesn’t need immediate veterinary care, the next step is to monitor them. Some digestive upset, including vomiting and diarrhea, is common after ingesting nail glue. 

If the symptoms are severe, they need to see a vet. You should also watch for other signs of toxicity. These include lethargy, weakness, and difficulty breathing. 

If your pooch seems unwell, it’s best to get them checked out. Follow your instincts. If you are concerned, it’s best to err on the side of caution. 

Treating Digestive Upset 

If your pooch has mild digestive upset, you can treat this at home. You can do this with over the counter medication and a bland diet. 

The best bland diet is simply boiled chicken and rice. Feed 2 parts rice to 1 part chicken. If you feed them 1 cup of food, you’ll give them 2/3 a cup of rice and 1/3 cup of chicken. 

After a few days, slowly transition them back to their regular food. Begin by giving them 1/4 regular food and 3/4 bland food. Every 1 to 2 days, increase their regular food by 1/4, until that’s all they are eating. 

Famotide can be very helpful in this situation.  It’s an antacid which will help calm the irritation in your pooch’s stomach. Give them .5 mg per pound of body weight. 

A 10 pound dog would get 5 mg of famotide, for example. You can repeat the dose every 12 hours as needed.

Peptop Bismol is also helpful. It coats the stomach, which can help soothe it. Give your pooch 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight. You can repeat the dose every 6 to 8 hours. 

How to prevent my dog from eating nail glue?

The best way to deal with your dog eating nail glue is to prevent it from occurring. Dogs can be ingenuitive, and they are curious creatures. Nail glue is probably the last thing you would think your dog would want to eat. 

Remember, they explore the world with their nose and mouth. This makes it understandable that they would eat things that would be unappealing, in an effort to understand what the substance is. 

Keep It Out  of Reach 

The best way to prevent your dog from eating nail glue is to keep it out of their reach. Dog proofing your home is very similar to baby proofing. Put anything you don’t want them to eat, including nail glue, in a place they can’t get to. 

The easiest way to do this is to place it on a high shelf. Your dog can’t grab a stool, so anything above their height is relatively safe. 

Don’t Leave It Unattended 

Don’t leave nail glue unattended. If you are doing your nails, don’t walk away from the nail glue if your dog is around. They may take the opportunity to eat the nail glue. 

Keep Them Entertained 

Lastly, keeping them entertained can help prevent them from getting into harmful things. A bored dog will find a way to entertain themselves. Be sure they get plenty of mental and physical stimulation. 

Walks, play sessions, and puzzle toys are great ways to keep your pooch happy, healthy, and entertained.