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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10144
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
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Hi, we suspect our Newfie ate a small plastic box full of chalk

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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?

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
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Customer: replied 3 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,



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 3 years ago.

Thanks a lot, really appreciate your help!



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
I'm just following up on our conversation about your Newf. How is he doing? Deb
Customer: replied 3 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.

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 3 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!



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