My Dog Ate Styrofoam. What Should I Do?

It is the plight of every pet owner; no matter how many toys you get your pet, they tend to eat what they should not. Whenever you leave something around, your dog is likely to eat it. But what happens if what you left around is Styrofoam? What should you do if your dog ate it?

What Is Styrofoam?

You have probably used Styrofoam before. It is polystyrene or a piece of plastic foam generally used in packaging equipment.

There are many forms of Styrofoam, such as Styrofoam peanuts, beads, and Styrofoam blocks. The most common type of Styrofoam is the Styrofoam beads found in dog beds, bean bags, or toys. These are the most accessible to your dog; they can leak when they chew on a toy, causing them to ingest some of it.

There is also Styrofoam in some food packaging, such as meats. Your dog can chew on these because they have some of the food’s flavor on them. Your dog can also chew on food packaged in Styrofoam cups, trays, or plates. If you have any of these around, you have to be careful and ensure your furry friend does not come near them.

Eating Styrofoam is dangerous for your dog, so you should ensure they do not come close to it. Rush them to the vet as soon as you discover they ate it.

What Happens After A Dog Eats Styrofoam?

Here are some of the things likely to happen after your dog consumes Styrofoam.

  • Gastrointestinal Tract Blockage

The biggest danger a dog faces after eating Styrofoam is choking on it or a blockage in its gastrointestinal tract. Both small and large pieces of Styrofoam are dangerous to your dog. They can get stuck in their intestines or stomach, which can lead to a blockage, requiring immediate medical attention.

  • Dehydration

Styrofoam can expand in your dog’s stomach, causing them to become dehydrated. Dehydration is life-threatening for dogs. It can also make them drink too much water, leading to bloating, another life-threatening situation.

  • Chemical Effects

Styrofoam contains some chemicals that might irritate your pup’s mouth and throat. When ingested, the chemicals could leach into their stomach, causing more harm. This might make them uncomfortable and cause vomiting or diarrhea.

  • Airway Blockage

The Styrofoam can get stuck in their airway or nose, causing an airway blockage, which is another dangerous situation for your pup.

These risks are why you must rush to or call the vet to save your fur baby’s life.

Is Styrofoam Poisonous To Dogs?

There are many dangers to Styrofoam when it comes to dogs, such as a blockage. However, is it poisonous for them?

Styrofoam can be poisonous to your furry friend, depending on its chemicals.

The good news is that there are very minimal amounts of Styrofoam in most products that will risk your dog’s life. The biggest concern is the blockage. Despite this, you still need to be careful and watch your dog for any signs of chemical poisoning. Look out for:

  • Itching around or in the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Signs of gastrointestinal upset

Be even more careful with Styrofoam if you have puppies. They are more vulnerable to its effects because of their size. Your puppy is also at more risk of choking or experiencing blockages.

Symptoms Of Styrofoam Blockage

Some of the clearer signs of Styrofoam blockage include heaving or vomiting. Your dog may also lose interest in drinking water or partaking in its favorite treats.

Another sign that can show abdominal blockage is abdominal pain. Your dog’s sitting posture can help you tell if they are in pain. An example is if they have their bum in the air and chest on the floor, also known as the ‘prayer position.’ Lethargy is another sign to look out for.

These are important things to note even if your pup did not eat Styrofoam. They could be signs that they have ingested something harmful. It is important to notify the vet if you notice any of these signs to see if something is wrong.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Styrofoam?

If you think your canine friend has eaten some Styrofoam or see them snacking on it, you will need to take quick action. The following steps will come in handy:

1. Check Your Dog

It is important to look inside your dog’s mouth and nose to ensure they do not have pieces of Styrofoam stuck there. Also, ensure your pup is breathing properly and has nothing stuck in its throat.

2. Remove Obstacles

It would be best if you removed the Styrofoam to prevent your dog from accessing more of it. If there are other pets in the house, ensure they are also not within reach of it. Clear it away and put it in a locked area. If necessary, shut your dog in another location until you have cleared it away.

3. Contact a Veterinarian

After you ensure your dog does not have any pieces of Styrofoam stuck in them, it is time to call the veterinarian. Let them know everything concerning the incident.

Some of the things your vet will want to know include how much Styrofoam your dog ate when they ate it, and if you have noticed any difficulties in breathing. You should also let your vet know if you have seen your dog vomiting or any other signs that show they are unwell.

4. Follow Their Advice

After relaying everything to the veterinarian, listen to their advice. They will know the best way to proceed with treatment, such as whether your furry friend needs urgent treatment, imaging, or monitoring.

What You Should Not Do?

Never attempt to take matters into your own hands. For instance, do not try to make your dog throw up in an attempt to remove the Styrofoam. Inducing vomiting is not easy; if done wrong, you might cause your furry friend untold harm.

Styrofoam can cause even more harm on its way back up. Your dog could also inhale it, or it could end up in the airway, risking its life even more.

Another thing you should not try to do is find remedies on the internet. Do not google the possible ways to get rid of the Styrofoam. Most of the theories found online are untested and can limit your furry friend’s chances of making a full recovery.

Let your vet know what you think or what you have read on the internet and ask them for their advice. If they want you to induce vomiting, they will give you clear instructions that you must follow in the letter. If they request you take your pup in, do it immediately.

You should also follow the at-home medical care routine they give you after releasing your dog. This includes ensuring you buy the right drugs and administer the correct dosage.

Will Your Dog Be Okay?

Quick action is necessary to ensure your pet’s well-being. Taking your dog to the vet on time and following their instructions will ensure they are okay in no time.

Leaving the blockage for a long time reduces the chances of a good prognosis. In some cases, it could lead to their death.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Styrofoam?

Keep any packaging that contains Styrofoam out of their reach. Ensure they don’t accidentally come across it, even if it means asking the delivery people not to leave Styrofoam packages at the door.

Dispose of any Styrofoam packages in a bin your dog cannot reach. You should also practice the same care when out on a walk; ensure they don’t go near spillages containing Styrofoam. If you cannot control them, consider using a muzzle to prevent them from foraging in the trash.

It would be best if you also tried using a harsh and commanding voice to caution them whenever they approach Styrofoam packages. Rewarding them after they listen to you is one of the best ways to ensure they follow your instructions.


Styrofoam is dangerous for dogs, and you must ensure your dog does not ingest it. However, if they still manage to eat some Styrofoam while you are not looking, taking quick action is necessary. You need to ensure they do not have any bits of Styrofoam stuck in their throat or nose.

The next step is to rush them to the vet. Do not attempt to carry out any treatments on your own to avoid worsening the situation.

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