One of the toughest situations you and your pet can face is a scenario in which your dog has ingested a lighter. There is no straitjacket answer on what you should do if your dog ate a lighter. However, the only certainty in this circumstance is that you have an emergency in your hands that requires immediate professional medical attention.
Dogs are prone to ingest anything they find around them. Often, they go after items that they have seen their owners use and have never been told not to touch. Behaviors like this can expose them to chewing a lighter if they find one sitting around. This article will explain the implications of a dog consuming a lighter and lighter fluid and all you can do to save the day.
My Dog Ate a Lighter: What Should I Do?
Take your dog to the vet immediately. Lighters contain a substance that is harmful to your dog and even humans. There are two ways you can detect that your dog has eaten a lighter: you either catch your furry friend in the act, or you pick the signs. The latter is a more dangerous scenario. If you can catch your dog in the act, you should be able to salvage the situation immediately.
Unfortunately, you may not see the incident or notice that your dog ate a lighter until the dog shows certain signs, which will explain further below. The lighter fluid, often a petroleum product, has an almost immediate impact on your dog’s state of health. If this happens, you need to take your dog to a vet for proper tests and treatments.
Symptoms in Your Dog if he Eats Lighter Fluid
The changes in your dog’s metabolism are some of the obvious signs that your dog has consumed lighter fluid. Lighters usually contain liquified petroleum fuels like butane, naphtha, or charcoal fluid.
Therefore, it is likely that your dog will show signs of weakness after ingesting lighter fluid. This feeling is due to attempts by the dog’s digestive system at breaking down the fluid. As a result, your friend may be unable to move or run around like it usually would.
Beyond body weakness, other results of this breakdown of lighter fluid are oral and skin irritations. Such irritations are a common reaction to lighter fluids comprising mostly of butane and naphtha.
Interestingly, some dogs may not show gradual weakness. Instead, they may collapse or go into a coma. If you have such a case, you had better have a vet on speed dial.
Besides the symptoms I have highlighted above, there are other symptoms you may notice from your dog’s behavior. They are as follows:
- Skin and oral irritation: Skin and oral irritation are a few of the earliest symptoms you may notice about your dog. It often occurs within an hour of ingestion.
- Ruptured intestine: Particles of the lighter may rupture the dog’s intestine. This must be treated as an extremely serious medical emergency as it is often fatal. A ruptured intestine will trigger a general body weakness in your pet.
- Drooling: This happens when the dog is trying to get rid of the substance. Your dog starts to hyper-salivate to get rid of the petroleum product in the mouth and the body. Drooling is a behavior that happens when the dog ingests the lighter fluid only. It means your dog won’t show this behavior if the dog only chews part of the lighter.
- Localized seizures. The dog may lose control of its jaw and start having locked jaws. These are signs of seizures.
- Breathing difficulties. Besides coughing and choking, ingested lighter fluid can cause your dog to have trouble breathing.
- Nervousness. Due to discomfort resulting from eating a lighter, your dog may become dangerous and nervous because of the dangerous behavior shown. Out of fear of the outcome of their strange actions, your dog may become nervous and shiver as a result.
- Dehydration. Dehydration is a common symptom your dog may experience after eating a lighter or lighter fluid.
- Your dog may also stop eating or may not eat properly. This behavior shows that the dog is having a loss of appetite. Ingested lighted fluid could cause your dog to lose appetite.
- Dry feces. Another consequence of lighter consumption is the excretion of dry feces.
- Your dog may vomit. It might start as simple drooling then progresses into voluntary and involuntary vomiting.
- Locking jaws. Your dog could have localized seizures and lose control of the normal function of its jaws. Your dog could have localized seizures and lose control of the normal function of its jaws.
- Blurry vision. Your dog may have a blurry vision as the fluids break down in the dog’s body. If left untreated, the lighter fluids poison the dog’s digestive tract and disrupt communication between the eyes and the brain, leading to permanently blurred vision.
- Choking. The lighter may splinter when your dog swallows it. This splinting may cause the dog to experience choking.
- You might notice episodes of convulsions. Lighters contain hydrocarbons which are dangerous to animals’ health. The presence of hydrocarbon in your dog’s body often leads to convulsion. Convulsions most times trigger a coma.
- Oily feces. Purging is one way the dog may try to get rid of the lighter fluids from its body. Thanks to petroleum fuel, the feces may be oily.
- Internal bleeding. One of the most dangerous effects of consuming a lighter is internal bleeding. Unfortunately, you may not notice that your dog is bleeding internally until the dog vomits and stools blood. That is why you should always consult a doctor when you notice changes in your dog’s behavior.
How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Lighter Again?
Is there a chance your dog will eat lighter again after surviving ingested lighter fluid? The answer is yes. Your dog may eat another type of lighter or another color. You need to keep the dog from repeating the dangerous behavior. There are ways you can prevent your dog from eating lighter the second time.
1. Educate Your Dog
Dogs are extremely intelligent—they learn incredibly fast. However, it may take a little extra time with your four-legged friend to keep stop your dog from repeating the act.
Train your dog with the lighter and, if possible, with other types and colors of lighters. Your dog needs to know that chewing and eating lighters are bad habits and dangerous to health.
2. Get Your Dog Play Toys
Maybe your dog doesn’t have toys to play with and was only playing with the lighter. It’s time to walk into a pet store and get toys for your dog. Getting your dog toys to play with will keep the dog away from other things in the house that are dangerous to its health.
Remember, you also need to train your dog with the toys. The ideal thing to do is get the dog different toys so that they have several play options. Wishbones are the most common dog toys, and they easily replace any chewing object your dog may be fond of already.
3. Keep Lighters Away From the Dog’s Reach
It’s easy to blame the dog for eating a lighter, but you are the one to blame. Lighters are not things you keep within reach of kids and pets. It is your responsibility to put all harmful objects, including lighters, away from the reach of the dog.
Some lighters come in attractive colorful designs. Your dog can easily mistake them for toys or just another object they can play with at home.
Puppies are more likely to repeat this behavior than full-grown dogs. Like the typical kid, everything puppies touch goes straight into the mouth. Do all you can to ensure that does not repeat. Keeping dangerous objects like lighter away is the best way to prevent the dog from eating lighter again.
Will My Dog be Fine if he Ate a Lighter?
Your dog will be fine if it gets medical attention early enough. Early treatment is the only way to ensure that your dog is fine after eating a lighter. Your vet will carry out a series of tests on the dog to determine the extent of the damage and begin treatment as soon as possible.
In some cases, surgery will be performed on the dog to remove the lighter. Also, if some particles are in your dog’s intestines, it is possible to remove them easily through surgery. Having your dog eat a lighter is not a pleasant experience. However, by paying attention to the tell-tale signs we have outlined above, you can avert a crisis and save your dog’s life.