Loose teeth tend to accumulate when you have young children. Perhaps you were preparing a tooth for the tooth fairy when you turned around and saw your dog got the tooth. Then they swallowed it. Should you be concerned? Is the presence of the tooth in your dog’s system dangerous?
A dog swallowing a human tooth is usually not considered very dangerous, as your dog will typically poop out the tooth. That said, you should monitor your dog for signs of distress in the days to come. If you notice any strange symptoms, get them to the vet right away.
In this article, we’ll talk more about what to expect when a dog swallows a human tooth, including how worried you should be and what protocol, if any, to follow. You’re not going to want to miss it!
What Happens If a Dog Swallows a Human Tooth?
Dogs will swallow just about anything you put in front of them, even if it isn’t necessarily edible. That includes human teeth if such an opportunity presents itself.
You can be left flabbergasted when your dog behaves like this. The tooth was there one moment and gone the next.
So now what? Well, the tooth is already down your dog’s throat and into its stomach, so it’s not like you can try to reach inside your pup’s mouth and pry it out.
You can either let time do its thing or bring your dog to the vet. Those are your only options.
Either way, the tooth is gone.
Is It Dangerous If a Dog Swallows a Human Tooth?
Okay, so you’ve come to terms with what happened. Your dog has indeed swallowed a human tooth, but how much of a risk does this pose to the dog’s health?
More than likely, not much!
Most human teeth are smaller than canine teeth and not as sharp. Thus, there’s a reduced chance of your dog’s throat, stomach, or intestines ending up punctured by the tooth.
Granted, it’s not great for your dog to swallow anything hard and inedible, and it can potentially cause complications. Here are some adverse symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Ceased Bowel Movements
Although it’s not terribly likely that a single human tooth is going to prevent your dog from being able to defecate, it’s a possibility and so we had to mention it.
You know how often your dog does their bowel movements. If that rate slows or stops, especially after swallowing a human tooth, that can be a bad sign.
Painful or Distended Stomach
Does your dog’s abdomen look very swollen, almost like they’re pregnant even though there’s no way that can be the case?
If the human tooth is stuck somewhere or did manage to lacerate or even puncture parts of the dog’s abdomen, then this distention and pain are caused by that.
Even if your dog is lazy, you know that they always come running when you jingle their leash or shake the treat box. Now your dog won’t react to either stimulus.
If this goes on for more than a day or two, it can be especially concerning.
Has your dog’s regularly voracious appetite seemed to have evaporated overnight? Now they barely pick at their food or won’t eat at all.
Once more, it could be that the human tooth has become lodged somewhere that it shouldn’t like the throat or stomach or that the tooth has lacerated or punctured the intestines or stomach.
Your dog couldn’t eat even if it wanted to.
Pawing at the Mouth
If your dog is pawing a lot at its mouth, and especially if this is accompanied by gagging and choking, those are telltale signs that something is wrong after ingesting the human tooth.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you must bring your dog to the vet immediately. If your regular vet isn’t available, then take your pup to the emergency vet.
What Can a Vet Do After a Dog Swallows a Human Tooth?
Once there, the vet will do an x-ray to find the foreign object and gauge whether it’s causing a blockage or other damage such as lacerations or perforations.
If the vet can’t get a clear enough picture of the foreign object from the x-ray, then they’ll call for an abdominal ultrasound.
Then, depending on the severity of the situation, the vet will either treat your dog or not.
If they decide to get the foreign object out, then they’ll usually begin by trying to induce vomiting in your dog.
Barring that, the vet will use an endoscope and graspers to pluck the human tooth out of the esophagus.
Bigger swallowed foreign objects usually require surgical removal, not smaller ones like human teeth. That said, if your dog swallowed several teeth, then the surgery could be a possibility.
Your vet may also decide to allow your dog to pass the tooth naturally on their own. They might send you home with a laxative to encourage the process, but that will be all.
Will the Tooth Come Out in the Dog’s Poop?
When a dog eats something edible or inedible, it all comes out of the same place, and that’s its rear.
Should the foreign object be small enough that the dog can pass it easily, such as a human tooth, then the tooth will embark on a trip through the dog’s digestive cycle.
The end of digestive cycle ends in defecation, so yes, it is only a matter of time before your dog passes the human tooth through their feces.
That’s assuming that your dog is regularly having bowel movements, which they should.
You probably won’t be able to spot the tooth in the dog poop. As we said before, it’s gone and there’s no getting it back, nor should you want to at this point.
Due to the size of human teeth, it’s usually not serious or dangerous if a dog swallows one. The tooth will often pass through the dog’s system and come out the other end in their feces.
In some instances, though, your dog could end up with lacerations or punctures from the tooth, in which case they’d be in duress. Make sure to monitor your dog after eating a human tooth and take them to the vet if need be.