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My Dog Ate Play-Doh: Our Vet Explains What to Do

Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

By Dr. Kim Podlecki, DVM (Vet)

Play-Doh or plasticine clay on white background

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Dr. Kim Podlecki

DVM (Veterinarian)

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Play-Doh is a popular toy and activity for kids. A lot of times, parents will even make homemade play dough for their kids to play with. Dogs are curious and may think that Play-Doh is real food or a toy that they can use. However, both commercial and homemade play dough can be toxic to your dog. Your dog may need emergency care depending on what they ate and how much they ate. Below is what to do if you catch your dog eating Play-Doh.


What to Do If Your Dog Eats Play-Doh:

1. Immediately Remove Any Remaining Play-Doh

Your dog may think that they are eating a new fun treat. Homemade play dough is especially delicious for your dog because of all of the salt in it. Therefore, they may want to keep eating it. If you catch your dog eating Play-Doh, immediately remove any other Play-Doh in the vicinity that your dog may want to grab and eat quickly.

brunette woman holding white maltese dog on her shoulder
Image Credit: Kimrawicz, Shutterstock

2. Call a Veterinary Poison Hotline

Play-Doh markets itself as being non-toxic. However, if your dog ingested a large amount, certain dyes, scents, and especially salt may be toxic to them. Therefore, you should call either the Pet Poison Hotline or ASPCA Poison Control Hotline to discuss potential toxicity with them. They will calculate your dog’s toxicity risk based on how much they ingested and their body weight. The hotline may recommend you take your dog to a nearby veterinarian emergency clinic or your veterinarian with an appointment.

3. Do Not Induce Vomiting

Play-Doh is heavy and can be sticky when wet, such as inside the stomach. Trying to force your dog to vomit may cause damage due to the weight of the Play-Doh. Not to mention, if your dog starts to vomit and then inhales any of the material, your dog may suffer from aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is a serious condition and can be fatal. Your veterinarian may determine it’s safer to make your dog vomit in the clinic, depending on how much they ate.

vet holding the dog in the clinic
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

4. Do Not Allow Your Dog to Drink Large Amounts of Water

Play-Doh and homemade play dough have high levels of salt in them. This can make your dog extremely thirsty. You may notice your dog drinking large amounts of water and/or seeking out more water, such as from the toilet. However, if your dog drinks large amounts of water quickly, and they have ingested large amounts of salt to cause a toxicity, the water can cause severe internal damage. Salt toxicity needs to be closely managed and treated in a 24-hour veterinary hospital and should not be treated in a home setting.

5. Monitor Your Dog

Maybe your dog ingested Play-Doh, and they immediately seem normal. Or, potentially you are far from any veterinary emergency centers and can not get your dog there. In these instances, all you can do is closely monitor your dog.

If your dog ingested a non-toxic amount of Play-Doh, they are still at risk for this material becoming stuck within the GI tract. Monitor your dog closely for vomiting, abdominal pain, retching, inability to defecate, lethargy, and anorexia. If you notice these signs, your dog needs to be seen immediately by a veterinarian. GI obstruction signs may occur within hours to days after ingestion.

If your dog ingested a toxic amount of Play-Doh, they may start to vomit, become weak, develop seizures, lethargy, and eventually become comatose. These signs can develop within a few hours and you will need to immediately seek emergency veterinarian care.

a black dog vomiting outside
Image Credit: Mumemories, Shutterstock

6. Check Your Dog’s Stool

This is not a glamorous activity, but it should be done if your dog ingested Play-Doh. Making sure that your dog can still defecate, and monitoring their stool for passage of the Play-Doh, will help you know if your dog is still at risk for GI obstruction or not.

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Play-Doh and homemade playdough can be fun for your kids. Dogs may be attracted to the texture, smell, and taste of these and want to ingest them. While Play-Doh often markets itself as non-toxic, ingestion by your dog may put them at risk for either GI obstruction or salt toxicity. If your dog ingests either commercial or homemade play dough, make sure you contact either your veterinarian or a veterinary poison hotline. Do not force your dog to vomit or allow or force your dog to drink water. Follow the recommendations of the veterinarians and monitor your dog closely for any signs of toxicity or obstruction. Emergency veterinary care may be needed if your dog develops salt toxicity or there is a concern or an intestinal blockage.

Featured Image Credit: John99, Shutterstock

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