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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10957
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Dear Sir or Madam, We have just found a box of safety matches

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Dear Sir or Madam,
We have just found a box of safety matches in the doggy's pen. We don't know if she has eaten any. We don't know how full the match box was, but there was only 20 left. We think they may have been blown into her pen by the wind from someone using the matches.
Please can you give us some advice we would be so grateful
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for your dog but have just a few questions to ask first, if you don't mind:

Are these matches with wooden ends on them or the ones that are soft?
How is your dog behaving?

Thanks for the answers to my questions. Deb

I also neglected to ask how much your dog weighs.

And, how many matches would be in a full box (if this number is ***** on the box)? Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There were 40 matches in the box. We used 5, there were 25 left scattered in her pen and half the box itself chewed so we guess she must have had about 8 or 9. She weighs about 28 Kg.

Many thanks for your help

There may not be too much of a concern then since she's a bigger dog and possibly ate only 8 or 9 matches.

The problem is that matches contain chlorates. If a small amount is ingested (as in this case), then more than likely no significant signs will be seen at all. Possible signs which might be seen include vomiting within a short period of time after ingestion or diarrhea in about 12-24 hours.
If vomiting should occur, then fasting for 12-24 hours is suggested and then feed a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice.
Similarly, if diarrhea develops, then a bland diet should resolve the problem fairly quickly.

If too many matches are ingested (usually 1 match per pound of body weight or 1 match per 2.2 kgs of body weight) and it's been within < 2 hours, then we suggest that vomiting be induced with 3% hydrogen peroxide). The reason being that there can be oxidative insult to hemoglobin which could cause methemoglobin to form which might be fairly serious since there would be lack of oxygen being carried to the tissues.

But, she didn't ingest enough matches to cause this sort of concern, I'm happy to reassure you.

I hope this helps and I'd be surprised if she suffers any ill effects from ingestion of only 8-9 matches. Deb

My apologies but my math is wrong although my information is still accurate.

A dog would have to ingest 1 match for 0.5 kgs of body weight for there to be significant issues. This would calculate to about 60 matches give or take for a 28 kg dog.

I might worry about the possibility of obstruction if enough wooden matches were ingested but I wouldn't be concerned about 8 or 9 of them in a dog this size.


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I’m just following up on our conversation about your dog. How is she doing today? Deb
I’m just following up on our conversation about your dog. How is she doing today? Deb