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 Dr. Deb Your Own Question
Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 8513
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Deb is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, we suspect our Newfie ate a small plastic box full of chalk

Resolved Question:

Hi, we suspect our Newfie ate a small plastic box full of chalk while we were out of town for the day. It has been over 10 hours since he ate the plastic, I found small shreds of the box and a few pieces of chalk only.

He's now acting very sick, drooling and lethargic. Problem is, he's a huge dog (140 lbs) and the nearest ER is 100 miles away. Is there even any hope, if we get him to the ER, since it's been so long?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I'm Dr. Deb. I will do my best to assist you today.
I'm sorry for this concern for your Newf. I know you must be very worried about him.

I wouldn't expect the chalk to cause him any problems; this material isn't toxic to a dog.
My biggest concern might be if he ingested a lot of plastic which might cause an obstruction but for a dog this size, he'd have to eat a tremendous amount of it!

I have to suspect that something else is going on or that he might have eaten something else which is causing his symptoms.
The signs you describe could be consistent with any number of things, unfortuantely.
The drooling usually is related to nausea although pain and fever and anxiety can cause it as well. Or problems in the mouth such as an abscess or foreign body.

Lethargy is also a fairly non-specific sign which can be secondary to fever or pain or electrolyte imbalance or just not feeling well or ingestion of a foreign body as well.

It might be very helpful if you have a thermometer so you can take his temperature. Normal is between 100 and 102.5. If it's elevated, it might be a good idea to have him seen if you could.

Otherwise, you could give him over the counter Pepcid AC, 1.5 tablets of a 20 mg pill; it can be given twice a day and might help with any nausea that he's experiencing.

I wouldn't even attempt to offer him any food while he's not feeling well; if he's nauseous, it will probably just come right up ..even if he felt like eating.

I hope this helps but I wouldn't blame the chalk for his current symptoms. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 8513
Experience: I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
Dr. Deb and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for the detailed and quick response.


My concern is that the plastic he ate is hard, the pieces I found have very sharp edges and might tear his intestines. The remaining pieces range in size from 1/4 - 1 in.


He does have a fever, his nose is dry and warm, though I don't have a rectal thermometer to take it.


The silly thing could have eaten the box any time the last 12 hours. There's nothing else in the yard he could have eaten, other than the box. What can we do to make him comfortable until tomorrow? If it's the hard plastic causing the problem, is there even any hope?


Thanks a lot,



Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome and thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

Certainly the hard plastic might cause some irritation as it's moving through his gastrointestinal system but I wouldn't expect it to cause perforations such that major damage is done. Some diarrhea perhaps tomorrow and some gagging or vomiting or possibly the drooling today but he shouldn't be lethargic from it.

Unfortuantely, you can't tell much about a dog's internal temperature from his nose; you'd need to take his temperature rectally to know for sure what it is..

What you can do for him now is what I mentioned above:
Pepcid AC can help with the nausea.
Withhold food which won't be harmful for a few hours.
Offer a small amount of water of low sodium chicken broth in about an hour after the Pepcid is given. If he doesn't want to drink, then drizzle small amounts in his mouth with a turkey baster (if you have one) to keep him hydrated (which will be important if he is running a fever).

I wish I could advise you to give him something else but there won't be any other over the counter drugs that will be useful or helpful in this situation.

Just try to comfort him as best you can; keep him clean from all the drool (I've had Newfs so I know how hard this is to do!) and have him seen when you can.

I do hope you'll keep me posted about him. Even though you've rated, we can still communicate as we have been at no additional charge to you.
I can also send you an email tomorrow to which you can respond when you have the time.

Good luck, Deb
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks a lot, really appreciate your help!



Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
You're more than welcome:)
I'll look forward to an update tomorrow. I'll also be hoping that this isn't anything too serious...I'm certain that is your fervant hope as well! Regards, Deb
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your Newf. How is he doing? Deb
Customer: replied 2 years ago.



Thanks for following up.


Boyko, our Newf passed away last night. He was running very high fever when he was admitted to the vet clinic on Monday morning and they could not bring him back. They did 3 X rays and found nothing, so it's a mystery what happened. His doctor agreed that it's not very likely that it was related to the chalk and plastic. He speculated that it could have been cancer related - he'd lost a lot of weight in the last 6 months, had very little appetite and was not as active but I thought it was just the heat and the torn ligaments he had earlier this year.


I don't know why I'm telling you all this, I guess I just need to talk about him :(. Thanks so much for all your help, I really appreciate it.

Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Oh, Krassi, I'm so sorry to hear that Boyko passed away:( This is not at all what I expected to hear!

Without an autopsy we obviously can't know for sure, but I suspect that your vet was correct since cancer is often seen in this breed, unfortunately.

You must be absolutely devastated. I know how Newfs become a member of the family and how loving they can be. It must be terribly lonely without him.

My sincerest condolences to you and your family on your loss. I know there's going to be an enormously huge hole in your hearts for a long time to come. Deb
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for the kind words, really appreciate it. Yes, the yard looks empty without the big silly and we are all very upset. He was hands down the best dog I ever had and would be missed greatly.


Thank you again!



Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Every person that I've ever met who's had a Newf (myself included) can't say enough wonderful things about this breed. They truly are extraordinary so I know how empty your house and yard feel right now.

I hope that with time you can find comfort in the memory of Boyko's great spirit and of your loving bond. My thoughts will certainly be with you at this very sad time. Deb

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... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...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
< Previous | 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

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery