Dog Ate Soft Contact Lens: Quick Guide to Vet Intervention

Issue Dog ate soft contact lens
Quick Answer Soft contact lenses are typically made of a material that can be easily digested and passed through the digestive system without causing harm to dogs. However, if your dog experiences any vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, it’s important to contact a veterinarian for further guidance
More Info Monitor the dog for any signs of discomfort or digestive issues, contact a veterinarian if symptoms occur, keep any potentially harmful items out of reach of the dog to prevent accidental ingestion

What Happens When a Dog Eats a Contact Lens?

Dog ate contacts. They'll likely be fine

When your dog eats a soft contact lens, generally there is no cause for immediate alarm. Soft contact lenses are made of hydrophilic plastic, a material that’s non-toxic to dogs.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe for them to consume, either. The consequences of your dog ingesting a contact lens may vary depending on factors such as your dog’s age, size, and overall health.

In most cases, the lens would pass through their digestive system without causing significant issues. But, if you notice any abnormal behavior or signs of distress in your dog, it’s always best to consult your vet.

Types of Contact Lenses and Their Composition

There are two main types of contact lenses that your dog might ingest:

  • Soft Contact Lenses: These lenses are made from hydrophilic plastic, a material that retains water content. Some soft lenses also contain hyper gel, a combination of acrylate and fluorine. Soft contact lenses are designed to fit comfortably on the eye and have a high oxygen permeability. Since they are flexible and soft, they are less likely to cause harm to your dog’s digestive system.
  • Hybrid Contact Lenses: As the name suggests, these lenses have a rigid lens center and a soft lens periphery. The soft outer layer provides comfort, while the rigid center ensures clear vision. Like soft lenses, the materials used in hybrid lenses are generally non-toxic to dogs.

While contact lens ingestion might not pose an immediate threat to your dog’s health, it’s essential to monitor their behavior for any changes or signs of distress.

If you’re uncertain about the type of lens your dog consumed or if they also ingested contact lens solution, it’s best to consult with your vet to ensure your dog’s well-being.

Signs of Problems Passing the Lens

Physical and Behavioral Changes

If your dog has ingested a soft contact lens, you may notice some physical and behavioral changes. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as lethargy, whining, and distress, which could indicate discomfort or pain.

Although contact lenses are generally non-toxic and pass through a dog’s system, it’s important to monitor your pet’s condition closely for any unusual signs.

Abdominal Discomfort and Digestive Symptoms

In some cases, ingesting a contact lens can cause abdominal discomfort or digestive symptoms in your dog. These can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration

While these symptoms alone may not necessarily indicate a dangerous situation, they can be signs of a more serious condition such as poisoning, blockage, inflammation, or trauma. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Steps to Take If Your Dog Eats a Contact Lens

what to do if your dog ate a contact

Immediate Actions

If you suspect that your dog has eaten a contact lens, remain calm and take a moment to assess the situation. Soft contact lenses are generally non-toxic to dogs, so the risk of poisoning is minimal.

However, contact lens solution may contain chemicals like benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine that could be harmful if ingested in large amounts.

Check the area where your contact lenses were stored, such as washrooms or countertops, for any signs of the lens or solution. Keep in mind that inducing vomiting is usually not necessary, but consult your veterinarian for advice if you are concerned about the consumption of contact lens solution.

Long-Term Care and Monitoring

Once you have taken initial steps, it’s important to monitor your dog closely for any potential health issues. Here are a few tips for long-term care and monitoring:

  • Diet: Help your dog pass the ingested lens by adding high-fiber foods, such as oatmeal, plain canned pumpkin, bran flakes, or 1/2 slice of whole grain bread, to its next two or three meals.
  • Stool monitoring: Keep an eye on your dog’s stool to see if the contact lens comes out. The transit time through a dog’s intestines is typically between 8 and 12 hours, but it may take longer for foreign bodies like contact lenses.
  • Observe behavior: Watch for any unusual signs or discomfort in your dog, including changes in appetite, lethargy, or struggling to pass stool. If you notice these symptoms, consult your veterinarian.
  • Keep items out of reach: To prevent future incidents, store contact lenses and solutions in a secure location, away from your dog’s reach. Additionally, consider teaching your dog basic commands like “leave it” or “no” to help keep it away from potentially harmful items.
  • Regular check-ups: Maintain a relationship with your veterinarian and schedule regular check-ups to ensure your dog’s overall health and well-being.

While it’s unlikely that a soft contact lens will cause harm to your dog’s organs or result in cuts within its digestive system, it’s always best to monitor your pet closely and consult your veterinarian for guidance if you have any concerns.

Potential Health Risks and Complications

Short-Term Health Risks

When your dog eats a soft contact lens, whether it’s made of hydrogel or silicone hydrogel materials, short-term health risks may arise. Although many dogs can pass the contact lens through their intestines without issue, some dogs might experience complications.

For instance, your dog could be at risk for choking if the contact lens becomes lodged in their throat. In addition, in some cases, the contact lens may cause minor digestive discomfort as it makes its way through your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

It is important to monitor your dog for signs of distress or pain. If your pet is excessively pawing at its mouth or repeatedly trying to cough or retch, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for advice.

Your vet may suggest solutions such as using a saline solution or lubricating drop to help your pet cough up the lens, but they may also advise bringing your dog in for an evaluation to rule out any possible injuries or more serious issues.

Long-Term Health Concerns

While the chances of long-term health issues are generally low, there are a few concerns you should be aware of. Although soft contact lenses themselves are not considered poisonous to dogs, they may have traces of disinfectant or preservative solutions on their surfaces which could potentially be harmful to your pet.

These substances might cause irritation to your dog’s digestive system, or in rare cases, trigger an allergic reaction.

Additionally, if the contact lens becomes stuck in your dog’s gastrointestinal tract or causes intestinal blockage due to its shape or sharp edges, this can lead to more serious complications such as infection, tearing of the intestines, or even sepsis.

Moreover, if the contact lens has a rough edge, it may also cause damage to your dog’s cornea, necessitating professional veterinary intervention.

Preventing Future Incidents

Keep dog from eating contact in the future

As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to take measures to ensure your dog doesn’t ingest contact lenses in the future. Here are a few tips to help you prevent this situation from occurring again.

Start by keeping your contact lenses and their case out of your dog’s reach. It’s easy to overlook small items like soft contact lenses, so be diligent in storing them in a secure location. You can place them in a drawer or on a higher shelf where your dog cannot access them.

Another helpful approach is to teach your dog basic obedience commands such as “leave it” or “drop it.” These commands will help you prevent your dog from picking up or swallowing items they shouldn’t, including contact lenses. Consistent training will provide a strong foundation for your dog’s behavior and can help avoid the risks associated with ingesting foreign objects.

Remember to supervise your dog, especially during times when contact lenses are being cleaned or inserted. Dogs can be curious and quick to act when they see something new, so being alert to their actions is key in preventing incidents.

Finally, maintain open communication with your vet and don’t hesitate to contact them if you have concerns or questions about your dog’s health. Establishing a strong relationship with your vet can help you stay informed on the best ways to keep your pet safe and healthy.

By following these tips and staying proactive, you can prevent future incidents of contact lens ingestion and keep your dog safe from potential risks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if my dog ate a contact lens?

First, remain calm and quickly remove any remaining contact lenses from your dog’s reach. Observe your dog closely for any signs of distress or discomfort. While it is generally not a cause for immediate alarm, it is important to keep a close eye on your dog after they have ingested a contact lens.

How long will it take for my dog to pass the contact lens?

The normal transit time through a dog’s intestines can be between 8 and 12 hours. However, because the contact lens is a foreign body, it might take longer to pass. In most cases, the contact lens will pass naturally and be eliminated within a few days.

Can a dog safely pass a soft contact lens?

Yes, a dog can generally safely pass a soft contact lens. Soft contact lenses are small and relatively soft, so they can pass through the dog’s esophagus and stomach easily. Additionally, a dog’s stomach acid is strong enough to break down the material of a soft contact lens.

Is it necessary to contact a vet after my dog ate a contact lens?

It is not always necessary to contact a vet after your dog has ingested a soft contact lens. However, if your dog is showing signs of distress or discomfort, it is a good idea to consult your vet for guidance. They may suggest monitoring your dog for a few days or recommend an examination if they believe there is a risk of complications.

What signs should I look for if my dog is in distress after ingesting a contact lens?

Signs of distress to watch for in your dog include trouble breathing, excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential to consult your veterinarian immediately.

Are there any home remedies to help my dog pass the ingested object?

To help your dog pass an ingested object, you can try offering them high fiber food additions such as oatmeal, plain canned pumpkin, bran flakes, or half a slice of whole grain bread. These can be added to your dog’s regular meals for the next two or three meals. This may aid in moving the ingested object through the digestive system, but it is important to monitor your dog closely and consult your veterinarian if problems arise.