Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What should I do if my dog eats a battery?

In this age of technology, batteries can be found in more and more devices around the home. Unfortunately, our canine companions often turn these devices into chew toys, which can lead to dangerous situations. Here, our Pflugerville veterinary team shares the dangers that can occur if your dog chewed on or ate a battery and what you should do.

What You Should Know If Your Dog Ate a Battery

Dogs are notorious for chewing on things that they shouldn't. While the risk of swallowing foreign objects is dangerous on its own, some things found around the home can contain batteries, which come with their own set of risks.

Your dog can find these all around your house, in remotes, key fobs, wireless technology, and more. It is important to know the potential impact that batteries can have on your dog's health, the signs that they may display, and how different types of batteries can have different effects.

The Different Types of Batteries & Their Dangers

So what happens if your dog eats a battery? How dangerous is it, and how is the impact affected by the type of battery that was chewed or swallowed? Let's talk more about the different types of batteries that are found around the home and their dangers.

Acid & Alkaline Batteries

The types of batteries most commonly found in the home are acid and alkaline batteries. These include AA, AAA, 9-volt, C, and D batteries. Acid and alkaline batteries can be corrosive and will cause severe irritation in the mouth when punctured by your dog's teeth during chewing.

Most of these batteries contain potassium or sodium hydroxide, which can lead to tissue necrosis (tissue death) as well as deep ulceration of the areas they come into contact with. This typically occurs in the mouth, esophagus, and intestinal tract.

Button & Disc Batteries

Button and disc batteries are the smallest types that can be found in the home. They are used to power smaller devices like digital watches and hearing aids.

Because of their small size, these batteries can easily become lodged internally if your dog has chewed on or swallowed an object containing them. In some cases, this can cause an obstruction.

When these batteries come into contact with your dog's saliva, they can generate a current. This can create small amounts of lye, a corrosive chemical. Lye can burn through and cause damage to the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine of your dog.

Lithium-Ion Batteries

The most dangerous type of battery that can be found in everyday items is the lithium-ion battery. This is because of how quickly they can be corrosive to the surrounding tissue. In some cases, it can take less than 30 minutes to cause internal damage.

Along with being corrosive, these batteries contain heavy metals like mercury, zinc, lead, or nickel. This can lead to heavy metal toxicity if your dog has chewed or swallowed this type of battery and is not treated promptly.

Is it dangerous if a dog has chewed a battery but didn't swallow it?

While it may appear that swallowing whole is more serious, this is not entirely correct. If your dog chews a battery, it can cause serious consequences. This can lead to dangerous chemicals leaking out and damaging any tissue they come into contact with, as well as the possibility of ingesting small pieces of battery and causing perforations.

This is most common with cylindrical or rectangular batteries found in household devices. If this occurs, locate all of the battery pieces and gently cleanse your dog's mouth and skin with warm water.

Signs That Your Dog Has Chewed or Swallowed a Battery

Regardless of whether you witnessed your dog swallowing a battery, you should reach out to your veterinarian if they display any of the following signs:

  • Drooling
  • Refusal to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Grey or red area in the mouth (caused by corrosive burns)
  • Abdominal pain (hunched back, refusing to lay down)

If your dog is experiencing abdominal pain, the battery may have caused a burn in the stomach or esophagus or an intestinal obstruction. If an obstruction occurs, surgery may be recommended for treatment.

What happens if a dog eats a battery?

If your dog chewed or swallowed a battery, rinse their mouth out with warm water and contact your veterinarian, or call an emergency animal hospital.

Once at the veterinary hospital, your dog will be thoroughly examined, focusing on the areas with obvious signs of irritation. The veterinarian will perform an X-ray if needed to locate the battery and gauge the size and number of pieces.

A treatment plan will then be developed, which may include surgical or endoscopic removal of the battery (either whole or in pieces if it was first chewed).

The veterinarian may also recommend supportive care such as clear liquids, a soft diet, antibiotics, stomach protectants, and pain medication.

Your dog ate a battery, what should you do?

Do not induce vomiting if you suspect your dog has eaten a battery. This can result in the corrosive contents of the battery causing further damage. 

As stated above, if your dog has chewed on or eaten a battery, you should first remove any pieces and very gently flush their mouth out using warm water.

Once you've done so, contact your primary veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you suspect your dog has chewed or eaten a battery, contact our Pflugerville vets right away. Time is of the essence, and it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible to ensure the safety and well-being of your dog.

New Patients Welcome

Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pflugerville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

(512) 989-2222 Contact