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Fatal Attraction – Dogs and Magnets

Author: Dr. Jason Nicholas

Published: August 29, 2014

Updated: September 8, 2023

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magnets are dangerous to dogs

I’m guessing you likely missed the recall of Magnicube Cubes and Spheres several years ago, 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 pose a very significant hazard to 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. What they do at any particular time depends 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.

About the author

Profile picture for Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Jason Nicholas

Dr. Nicholas graduated with honors from The Royal Veterinary College in London, England and completed his Internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Nicholas spent many years as an emergency and general practice veterinarian obsessed with keeping pets safe and healthy. He is the author of Preventive Vet’s 101 Essential Tips book series.