If you suspect your dog has eaten a silica gel packet, you need to call your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 and they will be able to direct you further. Although silica packets are virtually non-toxic to both humans and animals, they should never be ingested; however, accidents do happen and it’s imperative that you take action quickly in order to ensure your dog gets the medical attention that he or she will surely need.
What is a silica packet?
Silica gel usually comes in small white packets and looks similar to sugar packets. Most of them have writing on them that says “do not eat”, which unfortunately won’t do much to deter your dog. Silica gel packets are extremely common and can be found in everything from shoes and clothes to medications, electronics, pet food and litter, etc.
Silica gel is used as a drying agent to prevent moisture in whatever item it has been packaged with. It’s extremely effective in preventing mold and other bacteria, and so it’s used frequently. This means that it’s also one of the most commonly-available synthetic substances and you should be vigilant about keeping it out of the hands (paws) of pets and children.
Why do dogs eat silica packets?
As we said before, silica packets are often packaged in items like vitamins and pet foods. Thus, they tend to smell like the objects in which they’re stored. If you dog gets into a package that they shouldn’t have access to, they’re not going to know the difference between food and a poison, especially if they smell the same.
What to expect if your dog eats a silica packet
If you suspect your dog has ingested silica gel, you’ll want to take the following steps:
- Remove them from the gel immediately.
- Try to determine how much they’ve consumed.
- Call your vet and/or the ASPCA poison hotline.
Don’t try to make them vomit- this could make the situation worse. Wait until you speak to a veterinarian about a course of treatment.
Symptoms to watch out for:
If your dog eats silica gel, they may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Lack of appetite
Will my dog be ok if they eat a silica packet?
Ingesting silica gel is serious, but not necessarily life-threatening. The seriousness of the event depends on how much your dog has eaten compared to their size. Larger dogs can eat bigger quantities of silica gel without being seriously affected as opposed to smaller dogs. Silica gel is virtually non-toxic, however it can irritate the skin, intestines, and respiratory tract if consumed. The packet itself can also be a choking hazard and can cause an intestinal blockage.
Depending on how much your dog has eaten, your vet might just suggest you monitor them at home for any of the above-listed symptoms. Alternatively, they might want you to bring the dog in for an exam, x-rays, observation and/or treatment.