Battery Toxicity in Dogs

With more and more battery powered gadgets in our homes, battery ingestion is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. The family comes home to find their remote control chewed into several pieces, the battery is missing. Unfortunately, batteries are very dangerous.  Alkaline dry cell batteries ( 9-volts, D, C, AA, etc) and button or disc batteries contain hazardous chemicals that can destroy tissue. The chemical causes severe ulcers. If a dog punctures the battery and then swallows it, they usually sustain severe damage to the mouth, esophagus and stomach. I often find a black powdery material on the lips and in the mouth of these patients.

The goal of treatment is to remove the battery as quickly as possible with either an endoscope or during surgery. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING! When the battery is vomited back up, more damage will occur. If you think your pet may have eaten a battery, seek veterinary care immediately. In my experience, quick action is critical for this type of toxicity.


Lee, Justine. Tope Ten Small Animal Toxins: Recognition, Diagnosis, Treatment. ACVIM 2010.


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.