Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!
Luckily these are relatively nontoxic to pets. The primary concern if the packet itself was ingested or a large enough quantity in a small breed dog to cause an obstruction. Symptoms to monitor for the next 24 hours include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, reduced appetite.
Below is a Q&A with the Pet Poison Hotline about these packets:
Q: Is it toxic?
A: Virtually non-toxic.
Q: What is it?
A: Silica is a hard porous gel that is made synthetically and utilized because of its high affinity for water. It is placed in products to control the humidity and prevent degradation. Silica gel packets are usually 1 x 2 inches and contain multiple small white, clear or opaque beads inside.
Q: Why is it labeled “do not eat”?
A: Silica gel is not intended for consumption and therefor receives the label “do not eat”. The dust from the processing and creation of silica is irritating to the skin, respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract. In people who are chronically exposed to/inhaling silica, such as a employee in a mine or factory, a progressive debilitating disease called silicosis can develop. Fortunately, silica dust is rarely encountered by our furry friends. Some silica products are mixed with a moisture indicator, these indicators may be toxic in large doses. If a dye is present, the silica gel will no longer be a clear to white but instead bright orange, blue, pink or green.
Q: Is it a threat to dogs?
A: No, true toxicity risk exists from exposure to silica gel packets. The beads do not enlarge in the stomach and the exterior packaging is usually soft and presents little risk of injury of obstruction.
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