Dog Ate A Popsicle Stick? [Life or Death?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

If you’re reading this, odds are, your furry friend has just gobbled down a popsicle stick perhaps with shreds of your favorite strawberry ice lolly still clinging to it.

Unintentional consumption of foreign objects by our dogs is a common problem that plagues dog parents worldwide – but is it just a messy inconvenience or potentially a grave health risk?

This blog post dives deep into this gnawing issue – pardon the pun – analyzing why your dog ate a popsicle stick, what health implications it might entail, and, importantly, how to handle this sticky situation appropriately.

Let’s dig in.

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Why Would My Dog Eat a Popsicle Stick?

Why Would My Dog Eat a Popsicle Stick

For non-dog owners, they’ll probably be so shocked how a dog can eat a popsicle stick.

But dog parents like us know how much our beloved doggies enjoy chewing on things.

And frankly, eating a popsicle isn’t even the wildest thing a dog can do (how about a dog eating wood?).

I know your dog is well-fed, and I bet he even gets to have some treats and snacks throughout the day.

So why, you asked, would your dog still eat a popsicle stick?

Well, dogs love sticks AND eating.

If your dog finds a lone popsicle stick on the ground, he’ll chew on it until he accidentally swallows it.

It’s pretty normal, but if you non-food items all the time, things are becoming more serious.

There’s this health condition among dogs called “pica.”

It’s when dogs start craving and wanting to eat non-food things.

In such a scenario, a visit to the vet is a must.

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Doggy says, read this too: Is lilac poisonous to dogs?

What Will Happen if My Dog Has Eaten a Popsicle Stick? 6 Major Risks Explained

1. Choking hazard

If your dog has eaten a large piece of popsicle stick, you best believe it can cause problems with their breathing.

A popsicle stick, when eaten, is a choking hazard for your dog.

It can easily lodge itself in your dog’s throat until he can no longer breathe properly.

If it isn’t removed quickly, your dog will have a hard time breathing. And need I say that choking can lead to your dog’s death?

2. Toxic or poisonous wood

Since popsicle sticks are typically used in different human food, they are usually non-toxic.

But there are still popsicle sticks out there that are made of poisonous wood and can be toxic to your dog.

If the popsicle sticks your dog ate were made of toxic wood or have been treated with toxic chemicals, it’s in danger of contracting poison and other digestive issues.

3. Blockage of the digestive tract

There is a big chance that the popsicle stick your dog has eaten won’t be able to pass through his digestive tract.

In this case, your dog may suffer from a blockage in his digestive tract since popsicle sticks can’t be digested.

At first, your dog will just salivate. But later on, diarrhea, vomiting, and even loss of appetite may occur.

4. Damage to the throat or esophagus

Popsicle sticks are woods; once chewed and eaten, they’ll have splinters poking at your dog’s throat and esophagus.

Since your dog’s throat and esophagus are delicate and can easily be damaged, there’s a huge risk of the splinters hurting your dog.

Your poor pup will have to suffer from difficulty in swallowing and even internal bleeding that needs immediate vet attention.

5. Inflammation or infection in the gastrointestinal tract

As a popsicle stick travels through your dog’s gastrointestinal tract, it can cause irritation or scrape the interior.

This is a huge possibility since your dog’s internal organs are just as sensitive as humans. And when this happens, his gastrointestinal tract can suffer inflammation or infection.

6. Internal injuries or punctures

I don’t wanna take this lightly when I say that popsicle sticks can puncture and create injuries in your dog’s internal system.

Whether it be his tummy, esophagus, or intestines, popsicle sticks can find a way to cause internal injuries.

Internal injuries can be fatal, and your dog will suffer more before it can be treated.

Surgeries and even therapies will have to be done to get your dog back on track.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog ate fish food

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate a Popsicle Stick?

What Should You Do if Your Dog Ate a Popsicle Stick

Contact a vet and ask whether it’s safe to induce vomiting so your dog can cough the popsicle stick out.

If your vet lets you induce vomiting, you should use only 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.

Your dog will be able to quickly cough the popsicle stick out with it.

However, if your dog only ate a small piece of popsicle stick, your vet will just tell you to wait for your dog to poop it out.

Nonetheless, keep an eye on your dog.

Check if he’s becoming lethargic and for any signs of choking, signs that tell you if you should then bring it to the emergency vet.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Are bamboo chews safe for dogs?

How to Stop My Dog From Trying to Eat a Popsicle Stick?

Remove popsicle sticks from your dog’s reach

The simplest way to stop your dog from trying to eat a popsicle stick is to get rid of popsicle sticks.

Clear the ground from any sticks your dog can eat. Don’t let him anywhere near those sticks to avoid any harm.

Offer alternative chew toys or treats

You should train your dog not to chew on non-food items. Letting your dog chew on those things will make them think that it’s okay to eat popsicle sticks too.

Give him treats from time to time every day. And let him play with chew toys so he doesn’t get bored easily.

When your dog is bored and hungry, he’ll chew and try to eat anything he finds.

Use positive reinforcement training

Help your pup understand the “leave it” or “drop it” command. 

Start by practicing with treats or toys, and then gradually move on to more tempting objects like popsicle sticks. 

When your smart doggy successfully avoids or lets go of the sticks, shower them with praise and yummy treats. 

By doing so, you’ll reinforce their good behavior and teach them that chewing on popsicle sticks is a no-no. 

Supervise your dog closely

Dogs have keen eyesight and a sense of smell.

They can find even the smallest thing in your yard or home.

This is why you have to supervise your dog closely.

Keep an eye on him all the time if you know that there could be a piece of popsicle stick lying around.

Because trust me, your dog will find it.

Provide mental and physical stimulation

Your dog usually chews on non-food items like popsicle sticks because he is bored and he can’t use his pent-up energy.

Interact with your dog and engage him in fun activities and exercise.

An interactive toy is also a great way for it to work its brain muscles!

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Consult with a veterinarian or professional dog trainer

If your dog is still exhibiting this kind of behavior, consulting with a vet or professional trainer is your best bet to solve the problem.

Vets can help you find out whether your dog has an underlying medical issue that’s pushing him to eat things that aren’t food.

Professional trainers, on the other hand, will be a great help in training your dog not to eat dangerous things to him.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: My dog ate an Uncrustable!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can popsicle sticks lead to death in dogs?

Popsicle sticks may cause choking, gastrointestinal blockage, and internal injuries. If not treated right away, dogs may die from these complications brought about by popsicle sticks.

Can a dog pass a popsicle stick naturally?

If your dog has chewed on the popsicle stick thoroughly before swallowing, it’s possible to pass without causing any issues in your dog’s digestive system.

Should I induce vomiting if my dog ate a popsicle stick?

if your dog ate a popsicle stick, you should only induce vomiting if the vet said so. This is why you should call and ask the vet right away if it’s safe to induce vomiting if you ever saw your dog eat a popsicle stick.

In Conclusion: My Dog Ate A Popsicle Stick

To me, the bottom line is this: as pet owners, it’s our responsibility to ensure our dogs are safe from potential hazards, even those as unexpected as popsicle sticks.

Treating your furry friend also means being aware of incidental risks and responding promptly.

Remember, your vigilance is an integral part of your dog’s well-being!

Check out other strange things your dog might get itself into:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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