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What should I do if my dog eats a battery?

Batteries are toxic to dogs, so if you think your dog has eaten a battery, call your vet right away.

Why would my dog eat a battery?

Dogs have the unfortunate habit of eating first and thinking later. They eat batteries not because they taste good, but because they are interesting and unusual to dogs, and dogs are curious creatures.

In addition to that, some breeds of dog, such as Labradors, just really love to eat and chew on anything and everything.

The chances of dogs eating or chewing batteries are also fairly high because many household items like remote controls, watches, toys, hearing aids, and smoke alarms contain them.

What happens of a dog eats a battery?

Dogs are most likely to consume alkaline dry cell batteries (e.g., 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA) or button/disc batteries. If a dog chews or swallows a battery, it will cause different problems.

Standard Alkaline Batteries

When swallowed, alkaline batteries can cause irritation or obstruction in the dog's digestive tract. When chewed, they can also cause some chemical burns in their mouth.

The majority of household alkaline batteries contain potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. When these compounds come into contact with the dog's internal tissues, liquefaction necrosis develops, resulting in deeply penetrating ulcers.

Disc Batteries

Electric current can pass through disc-shaped or button batteries to the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. This can cause current-induced necrosis, which can lead to perforation of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, or small intestine.

Lithium button batteries are the most dangerous. Just one 3-volt battery can result in severe necrosis to the esophagus or gastrointestinal tract within 15 to 30 minutes.

Heavy Metals

Heavy metals (such as zinc, mercury, lead, cobalt, nickel, or cadmium) are present in some batteries. Heavy metal toxicity can result from ingesting these types of batteries. This is uncommon and usually occurs when the battery remains in the gastrointestinal tract for more than two or three days.


Whatever type of battery your dog eats, it's essential that you seek veterinary attention immediately.

IMPORTANT: If you suspect your dog has swallowed a battery, do not try to Induce vomiting. Vomiting may cause corrosive injury to the esophagus and oropharynx.

The veterinarian will perform a thorough oral and physical examination, as well as thoroughly flush and lavage the mouth. X-rays will be taken to determine whether or not the battery is present in the stomach.

To prevent corrosive injury, the battery should be removed promptly. The use of endoscopy or surgery may be necessary.

Once the battery is removed, followup treatment may include anti-ulcer medication and a bland or high-fiber diet.


To prevent your dog from chewing or eating batteries in the first place, keep battery packages, remote controls, household appliances and toys that contain batteries out of reach in secured cupboards or drawers.

Allow your dog to play with battery-powered toys under close supervision, and remove the battery immediately if the dog "kills" the toy. To avoid choking, dispose of any broken toys.

If you think your dog may have swallowed a battery, contact our Mechanicsburg emergency vets right away.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center you never need an appointment to access our full complement of emergency services. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

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Contact (717) 796-2334