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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16297
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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My 4 month old standard poodle ate part of a box of matches,

Customer Question

My 4 month old standard poodle ate part of a box of matches, she spit them up. What should I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Lily ingested part of a box of matches and vomited.
Match heads do contain potassium chlorate which is a gastrointestinal irritant and an oxidizing agent, and can cause methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia is an abnormal form of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of the red blood cell, which cannot properly carry oxygen. This leads to chocolate colored, muddy looking blood and secondary organ damage due to lack of oxygen.
But it takes a significant quantity of potassium chlorate, and thus many match heads, to create toxicity. Most match boxes contain 20 matches, and 330mgs of potassium chlorate. She would have to eat several boxes of 20 count boxes of matches to get methemoglobinemia.
I suspect that unless she ate many more matches than I am picturing it is likely she will just have stomach upset.
At home to try and settle her stomach you can give either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotidine) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at a dose of ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and should help her feel better. They are quite safe and can be used for several days if necessary.
A couple of hours after giving the acid reducer I recommend offering a bland diet of 1/3 boiled, minced, white skinless chicken or boiled, lean ground beef and 2/3 boiled white rice mixed with some low salt chicken or beef broth to make it easy to lap up and swallow.
If she continues to vomit she should see her veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian for an examination, anti-nausea injections and intravenous fluids and supportive care.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.