How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Mia Carter Your Own Question

Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
5408404
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Mia Carter is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My dog ate a toothpick about 12 hours ago. Shes ...

Resolved Question:

My dog ate a toothpick about 12 hours ago. She''s eating and drinking like normal....should I just watch her? Can her stomach digest it enough to pass it?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Mia Carter replied 6 years ago.
Hello there!

It's very possible that your dog may pass the toothpick without incident, providing it was wooden. Fortunately, toothpicks are so thin that they're easily softened by the fluids in the dog's digestive tract. So in theory, the toothpick should absorb fluids and become soft to the point where it would be capable of causing only limited damage, if any. Since it's made of organic materials, the body should also be able to break it down partially, though I wouldn't expect it to be digested entirely by any means. A plastic toothpick would be a different case, and I would be a bit more concerned, but in either case, I would recommend close observation for the next couple of days. I would also check her stools to see if you can find it - beware that it may only be remnants that you find and it will likely look very different from what it did when it went in!

There's a couple of problems that could occur. One scenario is that the toothpick jabs a hole or tear in the dog's digestive tract. This can lead to many problems since the digestive enzymes and acids may be released into the body cavity, literally resulting in the dog digesting its body cavity and infection.
Another scenario is that the toothpick could become lodged, causing a partial obstruction in the dog's digestive tract.

So, in both cases, you will need to look for any symptoms that could suggest a problem. Monitor her temperature, which should be at 101-102 (an infection raises the body temperature). I would also monitor her eating and drinking to ensure that this remains normal. You should also look at her feces. Look for blood (or dark, ruddy colored feces, which can be indicative of blood). I would also become concerned if she's not passing bowel movements on her normal schedule, as this can indicate an obstruction. I would also look for symptoms such as a tender abdomen, vomiting (especially projectile vomiting or vomit with blood), diarrhea, pale gums. Even a general off-colorness could indicate the start of a problem, so just trust your instincts and get her checked out if there's any question.

Here's some links on some of the things I've discussed:
http://www.thepetcenter.com/sur/io.html
http://dogs.about.com/cs/disableddogs/p/bowel_obstruct.htm

I hope your girl is feeling better soon! Let me know how she does! And don't hesitate to let me know if you have any additional questions!
****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!****

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience: Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
Mia Carter and 7 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Last | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    4544
    Vet Tech for over 30+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst

    Satisfied Customers:

    13847
    Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy's Avatar

    Candy

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    7108
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    4704
    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4430
    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/VetAnswers/2013-4-5_8257_prof10.64x64.jpg Scott Nimmo's Avatar

    Scott Nimmo

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3977
    BVMS, MRCVS.