Lithium batteries often found in watches, calculators, toys and remote controls are particularly dangerous for pets. While all batteries are hazardous, the smaller disc shaped batteries can stick to and burn a hole in a dog’s oesophagus or stomach causing perforation. This makes these little batteries a far greater hazard than AA, AAA or 9-volt batteries which are also dangerous if ingested by pets.
The first tell-tale sign is a chewed up device or package that would usually hold the battery. If you can’t locate the battery, it’s best to seek immediate veterinary attention to be safe.
Other symptoms could include:
- Increased drooling
- Bad breath
- Lack of or no appetite
- Vomiting or retching
- Abdominal pain
Emergency treatment before transport to a veterinarian
If your pet swallows a battery it is very important you do not induce vomiting. If the battery is punctured, this action may cause the caustic material to spread. There is also a possibility the battery will access their respiratory tract or lungs causing a problematic situation amongst others. The best course of action is to head straight to a veterinarian taking any evidence of the missing battery with you for identification.
If you suspect your pet has swallowed a battery, it is best to seek immediate veterinary attention.
What to expect at the vet
Oral examination – for ulcerations or material in the mouth confirming the battery was punctured
Radiographs (x-rays) – to locate the battery (though they can be difficult to find due to their size)
Gastric lavage – flushing the stomach to remove the battery
Endoscopy – to locate a battery, examine the digestive tract or remove the battery post-radiograph if the veterinarian deems this the best course of action
Surgery – to remove the battery or repair injury from a punctured battery
Medication – anti-ulcer medication or stomach protectants may be administered
Pain relief – ulcers can cause great discomfort if a battery has ruptured
To avoid visiting us with a battery charged dog, the best prevention is to keep batteries of your pet’s reach.
- Keep remote controls, toys and other objects requiring batteries well out of reach
- Explain the dangers to children so that they do not leave batteries or battery containing objects lying around
- Secure spare batteries in a drawer or toolbox and keep a record of the number of batteries in storage
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