Dogs are scavengers by nature, so when the opportunity arises to eat something that they shouldn’t, they take it! While this deeply ingrained instinct is natural, it often lands them in trouble.
If your dog has eaten a piece of Saran Wrap, you’re probably wondering what to do and if you should be worried. While Saran Wrap itself isn’t toxic, it has the potential to cause a deadly bowel obstruction if eaten, so it’s best to phone your veterinarian immediately if you find yourself in this situation.
Your vet will likely ask you to bring your dog to the clinic as soon as possible. Don’t wait for signs of an obstruction to appear or try to manage the situation yourself as your dog could become very ill, or even die without treatment. Early intervention can prevent a potentially life-threatening situation.
Why Is Saran Wrap Bad for Dogs?
Saran Wrap (also known as cling film) is a thin plastic film typically used to wrap pieces of food or to cover dishes of leftover food to keep it fresh. A dog may be tempted to eat Saran Wrap because something tasty was wrapped inside!
Saran Wrap is designed to stick to itself and to surfaces, so it easily forms clumps of material that could become stuck in your pup’s gut, causing a life-threatening condition known as a foreign body obstruction. Smaller amounts of the film may pass through a dog’s intestinal tract uneventfully, while larger amounts can cause an obstruction. If an obstruction occurs, surgical removal of the blocked object is the only treatment.
Although it’s less common, Saran Wrap can also cause choking.
What to Do if Your Dog Ate Saran Wrap
If you know that your dog has eaten Saran Wrap, remove any leftover plastic film in the vicinity so that your dog is unable to eat more. Try to get an idea of the amount of Saran Wrap that your dog has eaten and then call your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will likely ask you to bring your dog to the clinic as soon as possible.
Make sure that your pup hasn’t ingested anything toxic within the wrapping such as chocolate or baked goods containing raisins. If your dog has eaten something toxic, you can also call your local Poison Control Helpline for guidance.
If you’re unsure of whether your dog has eaten Saran Wrap, it’s best to be cautious and take your dog to the vet. Left untreated, swallowed Saran Wrap can be fatal.
What Will Your Vet Do?
Your vet may be able to induce vomiting to remove the Saran Wrap from your dog’s stomach before it causes an obstruction. This can, however, only be done if your dog swallowed the wrapping less than 4 hours prior.
WARNING! Do not try to make your dog vomit at home unless recommended to do so by your vet. Trying to induce vomiting at home can be dangerous. The various home remedies used to induce vomiting are unreliable and can cause more harm than good to your dog.
What Happens Next?
If vomiting fails to produce the piece of Saran Wrap, or if your dog ate it more than 4 hours ago, your veterinarian may perform radiographs (X-rays) or an ultrasound to try get an idea of where the wrap is and whether it’s passing through the intestinal tract.
Although Saran Wrap is not visible on X-rays, there are other signs that your vet will look for that may indicate an obstruction, like a buildup of gas in the intestinal tract. Blood tests are sometimes necessary to assess the general health of your dog and to rule out any other conditions that may mimic the signs of an obstruction.
If the piece of Saran Wrap is small enough in relation to your dog, there’s a chance that it may pass through your dog’s gut without causing a problem, in which case your veterinarian may advise monitoring the situation. In these cases, follow-up X-rays are usually performed to track the progress of the foreign body.
If, however, a large amount of the plastic wrap was eaten, it may be necessary to surgically remove it. Surgery is also necessary if your dog is already showing signs of an obstruction. Time is critical as an obstruction cuts off the blood flow to the stomach or intestines. If the blood supply is interrupted for more than a few hours, the gut tissue may die, resulting in irreparable damage or shock.
What Are the Signs of a Foreign Body Obstruction?
Vomiting is usually the first sign of an obstruction.
What Is the Prognosis?
Dogs usually recover well if the situation is recognized and treated quickly by a vet and there aren’t any complications. If, however, the Saran Wrap causes an obstruction and it isn’t treated quickly, it can turn into a life-threatening situation.
Although Sarah Wrap itself isn’t toxic, it has the potential to cause a deadly bowel obstruction if eaten. If your dog has eaten Saran Wrap, or if you suspect that your pup has eaten Saran Wrap but you’re unsure, it’s advisable to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Prevention is better than cure in these kinds of situations. Consider investing in dog-proof trash cans to stop your dog from rummaging through the trash and eating things that could put him at risk of developing a foreign body obstruction. Make sure that you store food wrapped in Saran Wrap in a place that your dog is unable to reach.
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