Batteries are something you might not really have considered before when it comes to your dog. With the festive season in full swing, it becomes even more likely that they will be around your home. It is therefore vital that owners are aware of just how dangerous batteries can be and what you can do if the worst happens and your four-legged friend manages to get hold of one.
The Worst Time of Year
While we need to consider battery safety around our pets all year, Christmas is one of the times when the risk factors increase. So many children’s toys and gadgets require batteries that people often pop them loose in the paper. With the chaos of excited kids and wrapping paper flying, this can often mean that they end up on the floor unnoticed to all except your dog as he snuffles around the floor looking for exciting things. Dogs use their mouths to explore, and while you might think they wouldn’t eat something that could be harmful, sadly, that is far from the case. Even if they were to chew a battery and decide not to swallow it, the damage could be done. A swallowed battery could be fatal, so let’s look in more detail.
Different Types of Battery
One of the most significant dangers posed to our pets comes in the form of button batteries. These have also increased in popularity with gadgets and toymakers and are now found in a vast array of things. This type of cell often contains lithium, and if the metal shell is pierced by teeth, the internal chemicals are free to leak out into the mouth of your pet. This can lead to severe chemical burns, initially to the mouth but then, more worryingly, the oesophagus and other internal organs as the chemicals pass towards the stomach. Sadly this can prove fatal as cleaning up these burns is no simple matter.
It is possible that a battery ingested could track through your pet with no ill effects, but vets would say you have been fortunate. Even the more traditional long AAA and AA batteries contain nasty and potent chemicals. While the shape may not be such that it would cause damage to the stomach wall, as mentioned above, internal chemical burns are so much harder to treat than other forms of injury. AAA and AA battery contain caustic does, which dissolves structures on contact – including stomach walls and the like.
Keeping your dog or Cat Safe
At all times, items containing batteries like remote controls etc. should be kept where dogs cannot reach them. This is something to think about when you are leaving your dog alone as a bored dog gets inquisitive and may do things they wouldn’t usually if you were watching. Over Christmas, take care to watch for loose batteries in presents, and if you do see batteries, ensure these are secured to the toy or removed before your dog is around. It might be a good idea to give them an appropriate treat or toy, a filled kong or chew toy that will keep their attention while you open presents in another room. Finally, if you think your dog has eaten – or even just chewed on a battery, ring your vet immediately. Christmas Day may come with a significantly higher vet bill, but, leaving your dog untreated could be fatal.
Please also keep an eye out for discarded batteries when out on your dog walks esp by the curbside and near bins
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