What Should Your Do if Your Puppy Eats a Key?

If your puppy is a bit of a chewer and tends to chew on anything they can find, it can be all too easy for them to swallow a key when chewing on a key ring. Here are some tips on what to do if you think they have eaten a key. 

Remove the key ring from reach

If there is still a key ring close by, then it's important to grab it and get it out of reach to prevent the puppy from continuing to chew on it. Have a look at the key ring and try to remember as much as you can about the key that has been swallowed so that you can describe it as clearly as possible to the vet. 

Calm the dog and try to immobilise them

In many cases, the key will pass naturally through the intestines and bowels but there is a danger of the key lodging in the intestine and causing tears or blockages. The best way to limit this is to limit the amount of movement that the dog is taking. It is important not to try and trigger vomiting as the violent action can cause the key to tear the stomach, throat or mouth. 

Keep the dog away from food and water as well, as you don't want to strain the dog's digestive system when it is already under stress. 

Call the emergency vet and take the dog in for treatment

Take the dog to the vet as soon as possible, as they may require vet emergency treatment to remove the key. The vet will scan the dog to look for the key - this is where your description of the swallowed key (including size and material) will come in handy as it will help vet to identify where the key is in the dog's digestive system. Based on the position of key, they will see whether the dog can be left under observation for a couple of days to see if the key passes naturally or if the dog requires emergency surgery. In many cases, due to the advances in surgical technology, the surgery can be done using 'keyhole surgery' which allows the puppy to rapidly recover and get back to life in a few days. 

If you suspect that your puppy has swallowed a key it's important to get them vet treatment as soon as possible. Thanks to the advances in vet treatment, even if surgery is required your puppy with usually be fine and recover within days.