My Dog Ate A Toothpick – What Should I Do Now?

Dogs are curious creatures, and sometimes they will try to get into things that they shouldn’t. 

One of the most common household items that dogs love to chew on is a toothpick. 

If your dog has swallowed a toothpick, here’s what you should do: take the toothpick out right away, or call your vet and make an appointment as soon as possible. 

Keep reading for more information about how to handle this situation!

The Problem With Toothpicks

The problem with toothpicks is that they are generally made out of wood. 

Wood can splinter, which causes the dog to choke. If the dog chokes on a toothpick, he could contract some dangerous diseases and conditions from those splinters. 

You should always get rid of any toothpicks near your dog because dogs don’t know when to quit chewing and could swallow it at any moment.

Short Term Problems For Dogs Who Swallow Toothpicks

If your dog swallows a toothpick, you won’t need to worry about him swallowing detritus (you know…like poop) that’s contaminated with worms and other parasites since the splinters are already damaging his GI tract from inside the stomach. 

The biggest problems you’re likely to see are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and possibly excessive drooling, especially if the toothpick is in your dog’s esophagus (just under the tongue). 

Some dogs could even develop a fever from this type of infection.

Long Term Problems For Dogs Who Swallow Toothpicks

A dog who swallows a large number of toothpicks has a higher risk of developing an intestinal obstruction than dogs who ingest something harmless like kibble or leftover pizza crusts. 

If that happens, the vet has to remove whatever it is that’s blocking the intestines by making an incision and pulling it out manually. 

This surgery can be very costly and painful for your pet puppy, so it’s important to avoid toothpicks at all costs!

Wood Vs Plastic Toothpicks

The main difference between wood and plastic toothpicks is that wood tends to splinter more than plastic does. 

This means that if your dog swallows a bunch of toothpicks made out of wood, he’s much more likely to choke on them or contract an intestinal obstruction from the splinters. 

Plastic might not be as tasty, but it won’t cause any problems if your dog makes a snack out of it!

Can A Dog Digest A Toothpick?

Can a dog digest a toothpick? In short, no. Toothpicks are made out of hardwood and they are too big for your dog’s stomach to break down easily. 

If the dog does try to digest it, the toothpick will likely cause some intestinal damage and digestive problems that might require surgery.

How Do I Know My Dog Swallowed A Toothpick?

dog lying down probably sick

If you suspect your dog swallowed a toothpick, you will need to look for signs. 

Signs of swallowing a toothpick include vomiting, drooling, coughing or wheezing, and gasping for air after eating. 

These all indicate possible choking issues. 

Some dogs may not show any signs of swallowing a toothpick, but that doesn’t mean you should take your chances. 

If you think your dog could have swallowed a toothpick, immediately contact the vet.

My Dog Ate A Toothpick – What Should I Do Now?

If your dog swallows a toothpick, the best bet is to take the toothpick immediately out of your dog’s mouth or stomach. 

Here’s what you should do:

Call The Vet

Call your vet right away as soon as you realize the problem. 

If possible, tell them when or how much the dog ate and also tell them if your dog has any health conditions, so they can prepare for what might become. (For example, if your dog has diabetes, he may need different anesthesia than a regular patient.)

Go To The Emergency Vet Clinic

If you have not been able to get the toothpick out on your own, then take your dog to an emergency vet clinic immediately. 

It’s better to go as soon as possible because sometimes these things can cause serious injuries that could require surgery.

Find It And Take It Out

Try to find where in the mouth it is before actually getting rid of it. 

Buried in cheek? You’ll want to move his tongue gently aside before probing with a finger to find it. 

Mouth closed? Open his mouth gently with one hand and start probing inside the cheeks with your fingers (make sure you wash them first).

Once you’ve found it, try to take it out right away. If you need a tool for this, then a pair of clean tweezers should do the job. Try prying gently at each end before pulling straight out at an angle. 

Your dog may not cooperate and will probably bite you, but be persistent! 

Once you’ve removed the toothpick, call or visit your vet as soon as possible just so they know that there’s no more danger of it causing more serious problems.

If You Can’t Get It Out

If you can’t get it out yourself, then don’t panic. Just call or visit your vet and explain the situation. 

They should be able to get it out with minimal problems, but until then make sure you keep an eye on your dog and watch for any loose stool or vomiting that could signal a serious problem. 

If these symptoms occur, then you’ll want to take your dog in as soon as possible so he can get treatment right away before anything becomes life-threatening.

How Can I Get The Toothpick Out?

If you cannot get the toothpick out on your own, call the vet and make an appointment as soon as possible. 

After contacting the veterinarian, keep your dog calm until it’s time to go in for his appointment. 

Be especially careful about letting him run around since he could choke on stray pieces of wood if they break off from inside of his throat or stomach. 

You will want to be prepared with information when you meet with the vet because he or she needs to know every detail of what happened so he or she can decide the next course of action.

What If My Dog Swallowed A Toothpick And I Can’t Get Him To The Vet?

If your dog ate a toothpick and you can’t get him to the vet right away, there are still some things you can do to solve this problem. 

First, don’t panic! 

Second, try to find the toothpick. 

You should keep your eyes open for any objects that may be sticking out of your dog’s mouth or throat. It will also help if you know where your dog was before he swallowed the toothpick so that you know where to look after he eats. 

Third, take him in for an x-ray if you cannot find anything in his mouth or throat. An x-ray can help your vet see exactly what is going on inside of your dog.

If you think that your dog swallowed a toothpick, follow all of the advice above as soon as possible. 

The best thing to do is take out the toothpick right away so it doesn’t cause any more damage! 

If it’s too late, be patient and stay calm while you wait for the vet appointment. Your dog will need ideal conditions in order for him or her to get better faster so make sure that he remains stress-free during this trying time! 

Just remember that everything will be okay, and you’ll have your pup back at home before you know it!

What Not To Do

While you’re waiting for your appointment, there are a few things that you should not do. 

First of all, don’t panic! 

Second, avoid trying to get the toothpick out on your own if there is any chance that it could cause damage. 

If it’s in a place where your finger or tweezers can reach it easily without causing harm then go ahead and take it out, but be as gentle as possible so you don’t hurt your dog while removing the toothpick. 

Finally, keep an eye on him just in case he starts vomiting blood—this can indicate further damage to the esophagus.

Taking Your Dog To The Vet

dog with first aid

As your dog is chewing on that toothpick, he or she could be swallowing small particles of wood that eventually break off inside. 

If this does happen then there is a chance that it may puncture the gastrointestinal tract and cause an obstruction.

If this happens, it will be time to take your pet to the vet for surgery in order to remove the toothpick and repair any damage done. 

The vet will most likely offer general anesthesia so they can give him proper care while doing so (this costs money). 

The surgery itself should not cost much and you will only have to pay for whatever medication he needs after coming out of the anesthesia (if any).

The main thing you should worry about here is how much pain your dog was in before the surgery. If he was in a lot of pain then it might be time to put him down because if he were human you would not want him to suffer.

If the toothpick is far enough down his body, then there won’t be much that anyone can really do except for keeping an eye on him and hoping for the best. 

Keep your fingers crossed because sometimes pieces of wood can pass without causing any damage at all!

What Happens If I Don’t Take My Dog To The Vet?

If your dog has swallowed a toothpick, then there is no reason to be afraid of the vet bill. 

You’ll have to pay for the surgery that will remove it but this will most likely cost you less than $200! This is nothing compared to what you would have to pay if he was in pain from swallowing a dirty toothpick with bacteria on it. 

If your canine friend lets you take the toothpick out at home, then don’t try to do anything unless it’s severe. 

Any other type of wound or sickness can be healed at home and won’t cost much because you’ll only have to buy the medication needed in order for them to get better (get generic drugs whenever possible).

How Much Will My Dog Need To Be Anesthetized?

dog treated by a vet

If your dog is in a lot of pain or has swallowed the toothpick far down his or her throat, then it’s best to call an emergency vet and have them come over right away. 

If you can wait until morning then there is no need for rushing the situation. 

Keep your dog calm and try not to let him move too much because that will only make things worse. It’s better to be safe than sorry so if you’re not sure what to do just take him or her to the nearest vet office!

If your dog does get hurt from swallowing a toothpick when playing with you, then they’ll most likely need general anesthesia at first. This will cost around $200 but this will put them at ease until the procedure can be performed. 

The surgery itself shouldn’t cost much and it will probably only last for 10 to 15 minutes!

Is It Possible To Prevent My Dog From Eating A Toothpick?

The best way to prevent toothpicks from hurting your dog is to make sure that they don’t get them in the first place! 

Try putting all of your toothpicks in a safe place in order to avoid potential accidents. 

If it’s possible for you then why not try making some toys out of old clothes and sticks so your pet won’t have any interest in the toothpicks? This way you can make your dog more content with what you’ve given them and they won’t be able to wander off with the toothpicks in their mouth.

If there is a piece of clothing that has a large hole in it then don’t throw it away! Instead, cut a piece out of it and let your pet chew on that instead. 

Your clothes will be fine if you just do this tiny “surgery” on them! 

Toothpicks are still dangerous no matter how much love you put into making toys out of them so try to keep these accidents from happening altogether because they can end up being pretty costly for both you and your best friend!


If your dog swallows a toothpick, then they may have some complications afterward but rest assured that there are many ways of dealing with this occurrence! 

If your canine friend likes chewing on sticks or stuffing their mouth full of something, then make sure that you replace it with something that won’t give them any pain if swallowed! 

Hopefully, this article has been useful for protecting your pet from unnecessary harm so please share it with others who may not know how to handle such a problem. 

We wish you good luck in dealing with your dog’s toothpick injury!

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