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My Dog Ate an Earring: Here’s What to Do (Vet Answer)

Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

By Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

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Written by

Dr. Kim Podlecki

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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An earring may seem like a strange thing to eat, but not if you have a dog that will eat anything you drop, thinking it’s some type of tasty food morsel. It’s even worse if it gets dropped or falls out in the kitchen as your dog may be used to vacuuming the floor and may eat it thinking it’s just a crumb. What should you do if you saw your dog eat an earring? Also, what should you do if you think your dog ate an earring but aren’t 100% sure? Continue reading and we’ll let you know!

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What to Do if Your Dog Ate an Earring (or You Think They Did)

1. Immediately Move Your Dog Out of the Way

What’s the first thing your dog will want to do if you scream and reach for something on the ground? If your dog is anything like mine, they will think that there’s something delicious they’re not supposed to have and immediately eat anything in sight. So, if you drop an earring and think your dog may have eaten it, move your dog into another room or kennel so you can thoroughly check the area without any disruption. This way your dog can’t get into anything else.

woman carrying an adorable dog
Image Credit: Artem Beliaikin, Pexels

2. Check Your Entire House for the Missing Earring First

If you didn’t actually see your dog eat the earring and only suspect that’s the case, make sure you didn’t lose the earring somewhere else in the house. Retrace your steps, get out your phone light, and make sure that the earring is truly missing. If your dog commonly gets into everything, thoroughly check around their beds, bowls, and favorite places to make sure it’s not there. If your dog has long hair, make sure you check to see that the earring didn’t just get stuck in their fur!

3. Consider Seeking Veterinary Care

If you aren’t sure if your dog actually ate the earring (or two), your vet may consider an x-ray. Unfortunately, if your dog has also recently eaten a meal, the earring may be hidden within all of the food on an x-ray and not be visible. If your dog has not eaten for a few hours, you aren’t sure if they ate the earring or not, the earring is expensive, and/or your dog is small, then taking your dog to a veterinarian to have an x-ray taken may be a good idea. It is best if the x-ray is taken within a few hours of the potential ingestion.

Young happy veterinary nurse smiling while playing with a dog
Image Credit: David Herraez Calzada, Shutterstock

4. Ask Your Veterinarian About Inducing Vomiting

If you know for certain your dog ate the earring, the earring is expensive, and/or your dog is small, your vet may choose to induce vomiting. Most veterinarians have medications they can give your dog to induce vomiting. These medications have to be given at the veterinary clinic. If you are unable to get to the veterinarian, and your veterinarian is concerned about your dog eating the earring, they may have you try to induce vomiting at home. Always follow the recommendations given by your veterinarian as each case is different, and never try to induce vomiting on your own without consulting a veterinarian first.

5. Talk To Your Vet About Options

If you did not already take your dog to get x-rays and/or make your dog vomit, we still recommend calling your veterinarian to discuss the situation. Depending on the size of your dog, where you live, and what veterinary services are available near you, your veterinarian (or the local emergency veterinarian) can give you all of your options. Small dogs will be at higher risk for the earring becoming stuck somewhere in the GI tract than medium and large dogs. Very expensive earrings, or ones that hold sentimental value to the owner, may need surgery or endoscopy to be removed. Your veterinarian may just recommend having the earring pass naturally through the GI tract. Each situation will be different for each family and each dog, and you should know all of your treatment options before moving forward.

labrador dog at the clinic being checked by a vet
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

6. Feed Your Dog as Recommended by Your Veterinarian

Many small earrings, especially in medium or large dogs, may pass normally through the GI tract. That is, unless they somehow get stuck to the lining of the stomach and/or the intestines. This may be a bigger possibility with earrings that have pointy sides and angles. If the earring did not come up in the vomit, your veterinarian may just recommend you feed high fiber foods to bulk the diet and help your dog pass the earring. However, as discussed above, always discuss all of these options with your veterinarian first.

7. Get Gloves and Go Digging

If the final decision was to have your dog pass the earring naturally, or too much time has passed since they ate it, time to get some gloves! In general, your dog should pass the earring within the next 24 hours. The exact digestion time depends on your dog’s age, underlying medical issues, size, and the type of food they eat. So, after your dog has ingested the earring, grab some gloves and dig through their stool for the next few bowel movements. You should be able to recover the missing earring at that time. If you don’t find the earring in the stool within a few days, you can always follow up with your vet to see if the earring is still within the intestinal tract somewhere.

vet examining dog's mouth or teeth
Image Credit: Kurit afshen, Shutterstock

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Some dogs will eat anything foreign that falls on the ground. So, it’s not unheard of that they would snatch up an earring thinking it was a tasty crumb. This may or may not be a big deal. Always move your dog to a safe space while you thoroughly inspect the entire house and your dog for signs of the earring. Always make sure you didn’t just miss it!  Contact your veterinarian right away to discuss options. Some dogs may have vomiting induced to recover the earring, while others may have it removed by endoscopy or surgery. However, most dogs will likely pass the earring safely through their gastrointestinal tract, depending on the size of the earring and your dog. Your veterinarian can walk you through all of the treatment options, and let you know what to feed your dog to help them pass the earring safely.

Featured Image Credit: Karen Culp, Shutterstock

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