Some dogs will swallow anything they can fit in their mouth, including Ziploc bags. Though, it’s worth noting dogs don’t have brand loyalty – any plastic bag will do. In fact, I was once friends with a guy who’s Boxer loved to eat plastic bottles.
If your dog swallowed a Ziploc bag, don’t panic. Wait two hours to see if your dog throws up the bag. If it has been more than two hours, take your dog to a vet. The vet will be able to X-ray your dog and determine if the bag will pass on its own. If not, the bag has to be removed.
Why It’s Typically Not a Big Deal if Your Dog Swallows a Plastic Bag
Obviously, dogs are not supposed to eat plastic, but that doesn’t mean swallowing some is going to kill them. It’s pretty common for dogs to swallow foreign objects – plastics, cloths, cardboard, wood, and even rocks.
As long as the object isn’t sharp or poisonous, it’s usually not dangerous. They will either throw up the object or pass it through their stool. However, if your dogs swallows something large, like an entire box of Ziploc bags, that can cause a blockage, and that’s why it’s important to take them to a vet.
It’s also worth mentioning your dog won’t digest the plastic, so you don’t have to worry about toxicity from the chemicals in the plastic.
Beware of Choking
It’s crucial that you monitor your dog closely after they’ve swallowed a plastic bag. While ideally you want them to throw up the bag, doing so may cause them to choke on the bag. That is why I wouldn’t recommend inducing vomiting – it’s best to let that play out on its own.
If your dog starts to throw up the bag, but you can tell they are struggling to get it out, you’ll need to assist them. Carefully move your hand towards the back of their mouth until you can grab the bag with your fingers – you may have to stick your fingers partially down their throat. Once you have a grip on the bag, gently pull it out.
What if the Ziploc Bag Has to Be Removed by a Vet?
Believe it or not, vets don’t always have to perform surgery to remove an object from a dog’s stomach or intestines. When removing a plastic bag, it’s most likely the vet will use a tool called an endoscope.
Endoscopes not only allow the vet to look inside of your dog via their esophagus or rectum, they can also be used in conjunction with other tools to grasp objects and remove them. A surgical removal of the bag would only be likely if the bag is too large to be removed any other way.
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine (February 4, 2018). Help! My Pet Swallowed A –! Retrieved from https://vetmed.illinois.edu/pet_column/foreign-body-removed-endoscopy/#:~:text=Using%20an%20endoscope%2C%20the%20veterinarian,it%20out%20(image%20B).