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Fatal Attraction - Dogs and Magnets

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Updated: March 5, 2016


I’m guessing you likely missed the recent recall of Magnicube Cubes and Spheres, right? And you wouldn’t be alone - either in having missed the news of the recall or if you don’t immediately know why it is important for dog owners.

Magnets, of just about any size, pose a very significant hazard to your dogs!

While even one magnet can cause problems, such as obstruction and/or irritation of a dog’s digestive tract, the real danger happens when two or more magnets are swallowed by a curious, mischievous, or otherwise wayward pooch.

Magnets are known for their ability to do two things - repel and attract. Which they do, at any particular time, is dependent on which ends are facing each other. Remember the old saying “opposites attract?” Well, when magnets in different, but juxtaposed, areas of the digestive tract (typically the intestines) get close enough, they tightly bond to each other. In doing so, they crush and interfere with the blood supply to the tissues caught between them.

This causes pain and an (understandable) change in a dog’s appetite and behavior. Eventually, if the problem isn’t detected and dealt with in time, this crushing will lead to death of these (intestinal) tissues and a resulting spillage of intestinal contents into a dog’s abdomen - a condition known as “bowel perforation” and “(septic) peritonitis.”

These are extremely painful and dangerous conditions, both requiring life-saving surgery to correct. So please, keep all magnets well out of reach of your pets and bring them immediately to the veterinarian should they ever swallow a magnet(s). The earlier it’s caught, the easier (and less costly) it often is to deal with, and the more comfortable it is for your dog.

Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Dog, Dog Behavior, Blog, Dangers of magnets for dogs, Dog Tips, Eating Magnets, Bowel Perforation

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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