My Dog Ate a Thumbtack/Pushpin: What To Do?

It is no secret that dogs love to play with and chew on any random objects that they are attracted to. While this habit is mostly harmless, there are certain situations where this could cause trouble. For example, your dog might see a thumbtack and attempt to eat it. 

So, what to do if your dog ate a thumbtack/pushpin? Ensure that your dog is safe and try to determine how many thumbtacks/pushpins they ate. Then, contact your veterinarian and look out for any symptoms over the next few days. For a detailed approach, read on!

What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate a Thumbtack?

Here is what you should do if your dog ate a thumbtack:

1. Ensure Your Dog’s Safety

The first thing that you should do is prevent your dog from eating more thumbtacks. 

Keep your dog away from the area where they ate the thumbtacks because they might be tempted to eat more. Next, try to determine the severity of the situation.

Keep the rest of the thumbtacks away from your dog and try to determine how many of them your dog ate. Moreover, if you can, keep a thumbtack with you to show the veterinarian. This way, your vet will have an idea of how serious the damage might be.

2. Check Your Dog’s Mouth

You need to be extremely careful while checking your dog’s mouth for any thumbtacks.

The sharp end of the thumbtacks can end up puncturing your dog’s esophagus or mouth. So, if you can see any thumbtacks in your dog’s mouth, try removing them cautiously. 

If you feel like a certain thumbtack is too deep inside your dog’s mouth or throat, it is best to leave it untouched. You might end up injuring both your dog and yourself.

Even if the thumbtack has already punctuated any part of your dog’s mouth, removing it might cause excessive bleeding. So, only try to remove those thumbtacks that are loose in your dog’s mouth and not jammed inside.

3. Contact Your Veterinarian

Next, get in touch with your veterinarian.

They will be able to assess how serious the situation is and what measures to take next. In most cases, a dog will be able to pass out the thumbtack without any harm being caused.

However, if there is a risk of any danger, your veterinarian might suggest getting a radioscopy to determine where exactly the thumbtack is inside your dog’s body.

Another possible scenario is that the veterinarian will suggest getting an endoscopy. This way, the thumbtack will be removed before it goes very far inside your dog’s system.

4. Change Your Dog’s Diet

The most probable scenario is that your dog will be able to pass out the thumbtack. In order to make this easier for your dog, you will need to make some changes in their diet. 

Here are some simple ways to do so:

  • Feed them foods rich in starch, such as bread
  • Give them a spoon of coconut or olive oil
  • Feed them some pieces of canned pumpkin
  • Give your dog some apple cider vinegar
  • Keep them hydrated

5. Look Out For Symptoms

For the next two or three days, you will need to monitor your dog for any symptoms.

This will help you determine whether the thumbtack has been passed out from their system or not. Moreover, monitoring symptoms will also help you know if the situation might be getting worse. In this case, you will need to contact your veterinarian.

Later in this article, we have provided an elaborate guide for the symptoms you need to look out for and how to know whether your dog has passed out the thumbtack.

What You Should Not Do if Your Dog Ate a Thumbtack?

Here are some things that you should not do if your dog ate a thumbtack:

1. Do Not Try To Induce Vomiting

If your dog vomits naturally, it is not a cause of concern. However, if you try to induce vomiting to get rid of the thumbtacks, you might make the situation worse.

Trying to make the thumbtack come back up can result in the esophagus, mouth, or stomach getting punctured. So, even though inducing vomiting might seem like an easy or instant solution, do not try to attempt it.

2. Do Not Undermine The Problem

Although, in most cases, dogs can pass out small objects like thumbtacks, do not take this situation lightly. Do not assume that you can deal with the situation on your own and without consulting your veterinarian.

An unattended thumbtack in your dog’s system can turn out to be fatal. Your veterinarian will be able to determine how dangerous the situation is. If required, they will run tests and suggest getting surgery in order to remove the thumbtack.

Moreover, do not assume that the thumbtack will pass out without any extra measures. You will need to keep an eye on your dog’s health for the next few days. Make sure that they are getting adequate nutrition and hydration.

What Happens If a Dog Eats a Thumbtack?

Ingesting a thumbtack should not have any severe consequences in most cases. 

However, it is possible that the sharp end of the thumbtack might puncture your dog’s organs like the esophagus, mouth, stomach, and intestines. In such a situation, your dog will have severe symptoms like internal bleeding, excessive panting, vomiting blood, etc.

If your dog seems to exhibit any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian. They will suggest a radiography, endoscopy, and emergency surgery if required.

However, this is the worst-case scenario. The severity of symptoms and consequences depends on a few factors – how many thumbtacks your dog ate, the size of your dog, the number of thumbtacks, and your dog’s age and nutrition levels.

A grown and healthy dog will easily be able to pass out a thumbtack. The smaller your dog is, the more trouble they might have. Needless to say, the fewer the number of thumbtacks your dog ingested, the lesser trouble they will go through.

Can It Cause Blockage in the Dog’s Gastrointestinal Tract?

It is very unlikely that a thumbtack will cause blockage in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. However, it is possible that a thumbtack may puncture your dog’s organs. This can have devastating consequences like internal bleeding and even blockage of the gastrointestinal tract.

In order to determine whether the has caused any punctures or blockage, your dog will require a radioscopy. Consult your veterinarian if your dog’s symptoms suggest any of these problems and they will further guide you on what to do.

Symptoms To Look For After Your Dog Eats a Thumbtack

Here are some symptoms that you should be looking out your dog eats a thumbtack:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive panting
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in activity levels
  • Discomfort
  • Digestive problems
  • Abdominal pain

It is normal for your dog to exhibit mild symptoms for two to three days after eating a thumbtack. However, if you notice that your dog does not seem to get better or has any other severe symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Moreover, you will need to ensure whether your dog has passed out the thumbtack or not. You can either visually try to determine if you can see the thumbtack in your dog’s poop. Or, you can shift through the poop to find the thumbtack.

Another option is to use a strainer in order to spot the thumbtack. If you find that your dog has not passed out the thumbtack in two to three days, alert your veterinarian.

How To Prevent Your Dog From Eating a Thumbtack Again?

Of course, the best way to deal with such a situation is to make sure that it never happens again. There are a few things that you can do to make sure that your dog never eats a thumbtack or pushpin again:

1. Dog-Proof Your House

This includes keeping sharp and dangerous objects like pushpins out of your dog’s reach. 

You can keep these things at a height that your dog cannot reach, such as on shelves or in cupboards. Also, you should keep an eye out for which objects are on the ground and easily available for your dog to play with or chew on.

2. Train Your Dog Where To Eat From

While feeding your dog at home, only let them eat things from their food bowl. Reward and praise them whenever they eat anything from the food bowl.

This way, your dog will learn to associate food only with that bowl. They will not eat anything else that they see lying on the ground or elsewhere.

3. Feed Your Dog Well

Your dog may be eating objects like thumbtacks because of hunger. Instead of giving your dog a few large meals, divide the proportion into smaller meals throughout the day.

You should feed your dog at least twice a day. If your dog is well fed at all times, there will be no need for them to try to eat random and inedible objects.

4. Teach Your Dog Some Commands

Lastly, teach your dog some commands like “Drop it”, “throw it” and “leave it.

Instead of having to physically remove any objects from your dog’s sight or reach, you can simply command your dog to drop them. It might take a little practice for your dog to get used to these commands, but it will be beneficial for both you and your dog.

Conclusion: Can a Dog Eat a Thumbtack?

As you may already know, things like thumbtacks and pushpins are not meant to be eaten by dogs.

However, it is impossible to be around your dog at all times and check everything that they are playing with or trying to eat. So, if such a situation ever arises, we hope that after reading this article, you know what to do to take care of your dog.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.