My Dog Ate Toothbrush, What Should I Do?

Canines are notorious for their dietary indiscretion, including eating shoes, couches, and even goose poop. But if your dog ate toothbrush?

In this post, I discuss the risk of toothbrush ingestion as well as the steps you need to take. Please remember that all of the points below are primarily based on my personal experience as a dog owner.

dog ate toothbrush

How to tell if my dog ate a toothbrush

Are you unsure if your dog ate a toothbrush? If so, you should look for these tell-tale signs:

How to tell if my dog ate a toothbrush
Photo by Linda on Flickr.com

1. Look for the remnants of the toothbrush

Dogs won’t swallow a toothbrush whole. They will chew on the item and leave tiny bits around in the process.

With this, you should look around the house for shredded pieces of plastic. If it matches your or your dog’s toothbrush, there’s a big chance that your pet ingested the item.

2. Check your dog’s mouth.

If your dog ate a toothbrush, there’s a possibility that a bristle or two will get stuck on its teeth. The same goes for the plastic or rubber material that it chewed.

Once you see these inside your dog’s mouth, the next step is to look for the toothbrush. This is to confirm whether your dog just chewed the brush or continued to ingest it.

3. Observe your dog

Aside from the steps above, observing your dog is also important. Symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, unusual behavior, and poor appetite may indicate the ingestion of foreign matter.

In many cases, dogs that swallowed toothbrushes will display bowel changes. Others will have a bad case of diarrhea, while some won’t defecate at all.

4. Bring your dog to the veterinarian.

If you highly suspect that your dog ate a toothbrush, the best person to call is its veterinarian. The vet will perform an X-ray examination to confirm whether your dog ate a toothbrush or not.

Bringing your dog to the vet’s clinic will also allow immediate treatment. Depending on your dog’s situation, the vet may suggest letting the dog pass the item naturally or conducting an emergency surgery.

What happens if a dog eats a toothbrush?

What happens if a dog eats a toothbrush
Photo by roxymags on Flickr.com

The biggest concern about dogs eating toothbrushes is the risk of bowel obstruction. This happens when the toothbrush material gets stuck or dislodged in the canine’s digestive tract.

Another thing you should watch out for is toothpaste poisoning. Since human toothbrushes and toothpaste products are stored together, there’s a high chance that your dog can consume it too.

Human toothpaste contains xylitol, which is toxic to canines even in small amounts. In fact, a large dollop of toothpaste is enough to cause adverse effects to a dog. Read more here: How To Make Dog Toothpaste

While most dogs will pass foreign items within 24 hours, it’s not always the case. For example, the toothbrush your dog ingested can get caught in one of its intestinal loops leading to a serious blockage.

Aside from intestinal blockage, the foreign matter can also block blood supply within your dog’s digestive system. When this occurs, irreversible tissue damage will occur, which can kill your dog over the next few days.

How will your dog be treated after eating a toothbrush?

If your dog ate a toothbrush, it’s always best to call the vet. It’s not wise to induce vomiting or diarrhea without professional advice.

The first thing you should do is call your dog’s veterinarian. This way, you will receive proper instructions on what to do next.

If your dog is already showing adverse symptoms, you should immediately rush it to the vet’s clinic. Home remedies may no longer be effective or safe in this case.

At the vet’s clinic, the veterinarian will first conduct an ultrasound or X-ray examination to see where the toothbrush is. Then, depending on the location, exploratory surgery is often the solution.

In some cases, the vet will prescribe hospitalization to monitor your dog closely until it passes the toothbrush.

Overall, the prognosis for your dog varies, depending on the size, location, and material of the toothbrush. Your dog’s overall health is also crucial in determining full recovery.

Take note that each dog is different. This is why you should follow the veterinarian’s treatment plan once the toothbrush has been removed from your dog’s digestive system.

How much will it cost to remove the toothbrush from a dog?

The cost of surgical removal of the ingested toothbrush varies widely. Your location, vet rates, and your dog’s situation will impact your final vet bill.

Regardless of the cost, it’s important to provide the necessary treatment to your dog. You should also consider getting pet insurance if your dog is prone to ingesting foreign items.

How long does it take for a dog to pass a chewed toothbrush?

If your dog ate a toothbrush, it would take around 10 to 24 hours for the pooch to pass through defecation. This is the same duration as to when your dog ate a squeaker toy.

If your dog didn’t pass the toothbrush within this timeline, you should call the vet right away. It’s a sign that the toothbrush has been dislodged and your dog needs veterinary attention.

Again, never induce vomiting if your dog isn’t passing the toothbrush. This is useless, especially if the toothbrush is located farther into the digestive tract.

What if my dog eats a comb?

Just like eating toothbrushes, plastic combs can cause intestinal obstruction. You should observe your dog and see if the canine will pass the plastic material naturally.

If not, you should bring your dog to the vet. This is to prevent potential complications that may arise due to the foreign matter.

Take note that plastic combs can splinter or have sharp edges when broken into smaller pieces. This could cause intestinal perforations with symptoms like chronic diarrhea, distention, and lack of appetite.


Dogs are notorious for eating inedible items. So if your dog ate toothbrush, you should call the veterinarian instead of panicking.

In many cases, the canine can pass the toothbrush naturally. If not, surgical removal is necessary to prevent life-threatening complications.

In these cases, time is your biggest enemy. So once you discover that your dog chewed on your toothbrush, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

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