I have always been a spectacle kind of person. I don’t make a spectacle (pun intended) wherever I go but I just prefer wearing them over contact lenses.
When asked, I tell people that I see better with glasses but in reality, I just find shoving something in my naked eye terrifying.
A couple of months ago, I finally decided to give contact lenses a try. I bought a set of disposable ones and tried to put them on in the toilet. Took my about 5 minutes to get the right one in and I accidentally dropped the left one on the floor.
My dog came over in a flash, took an investigative sniff and got the lens stuck on his nose. Before I could remove it, he took a swipe of his nose with his tongue and swallowed the lens whole.
We both stood there staring at each other for a good 10 seconds before he casually sauntered off.
True story. Ain’t kidding.
Should You be worried if your dog ate your contact lenses?
Let’s find out.
What Are Contact Lenses Made Of?
It might come as a surprise to many but the content lens has been around a lot longer than many of us. In fact, it was said that contact lenses were first invented in 1887 and they were made of glass which covered the entire eye.
Over time, better materials were invented to make contact lenses with the majority of them being made from hydrogel or silicone hydrogel material these days.
Hydrogel or silicon hydrogel is basically plastic but not the kind of plastic that we see in our everyday use.
This material is a special type of plastic that stays soft as long as it stays wet. This is why you need to soak your lenses in contact lens solution every night for them to stay soft. Otherwise, they will get hard and turn brittle.
There is another type of content lens known as hard contacts. They are made from rigid gas-permeable plastic which makes them harder than contact lenses made from hydrogel.
Rigid lenses might not be as comfortable as soft lenses but they last a lot longer.
There are also hybrid lenses that are made from both hydrogel and rigid permeable plastic.
Are Contact Lenses Harmful To Dogs?
You shouldn’t be too concerned if your dog ate your content lenses. My dog is still doing very well and he’s looking somewhat proud of himself as I’m typing this.
This doesn’t mean that eating contact lenses is fine for dogs but there are a lot more worse things that your dog can put in its mouth.
Assuming that your dog ate a pair of your contact lens, they should be able to go down easily your dog’s esophagus easily since they are small and relatively soft.
Once the contact lenses are in your dog’s stomach, they wouldn’t stand a chance against its stomach acid. Your dog can produce 100x more stomach acid than you and it can be at a pH level of 1, making it as acidic as your car battery acid.
Since contact lenses are made from polymer or plastic, your dog might not be able to fully break them down. But it should not be a problem for your dog to pass them out in its poop within a day or two.
What Should I Do If My Dog Ate My Contact Lens?
First of all, you need to be aware of the number of contact lenses that your dog ate. If your dog ate the contact lenses together with the packaging, that deserves a trip to the vet right away.
Dogs that are small in size or are puppies are at a higher risk of suffering from an intestinal blockage.
But if your dog eats just 1 or two of your lenses, I would be too concerned about it. However, I would still make it a point to monitor my dog for the next 24-48 hours to see if there are any adverse effects.
You can give your dog some fresh pumpkin or psyllium husk to help add more bulk to their stool and help them expel the lenses faster.
Dogs have a much faster digestive system than us and they can fully digest a meal within 8 hours.
What Are The Signs Of Intestinal Blockage In Dogs?
An intestinal blockage in your dog is a very serious medical condition. If left untreated, your dog can die within 3-7 days as no food or water can pass through its digestive system.
The most common causes of intestinal blockages in dogs are from foreign objects as dogs are known for eating the weirdest things. My dog once ate my AirPods which freaked me out. Needless to say, I wasn’t too keen on wearing them ever again after he pooped them out.
Blockages can also be caused by tumors, especially in older or senior dogs.
There are a couple of symptoms to look out for that can happen if your dog has an intestinal blockage.
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Bloated abdomen
- Stretching its neck and looking upwards
- Whimpering or whining
The best and fastest way to treat a blockage is by surgery. The vet will perform an x-ray or scan on your dog first to determine the blockage.
Are Contact Lenses Poisonous To Dogs?
Generally speaking, contact lenses are not toxic or poisonous to dogs. If they are, I wouldn’t even want to put them in my eye in the first place.
The only time contact lenses can be poisonous is when your dog has a strong allergic reaction to plastic.
The allergic reaction can be more severe if your dog ate contact lenses that it found. For such cases, I would suggest that you bring your dog to the vet immediately to get them to induce vomiting in your dog.
Is Contact Lens Solution Harmful To Dogs?
If you are currently wearing contact lenses, you should be familiar with using contact solutions to clean your lenses as well.
There are a number of different types of contact lens solutions in the market. Some of these solutions contain ingredients such as:
- Wetting solution
These contact solutions are chemical solutions that help to clean and disinfect contact lenses to prevent eye infections.
There are also contact solutions that are just normal saline solutions which are a mixture of salt and water.
I would be more concerned if your dog drank a contact lens solution that has harsh ingredients such as disinfectants and surfactants.
These ingredients can give your dog a stomach upset which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. I would take my dog to the vet if it is showing any signs of digestive discomfort.
Your dog should be fine if it just drank normal saline solution. This is what I use to clean and disinfect if my dog has any small cuts on his body.
One thing about saline solutions is that they do contain salt. So if your dog has a strong allergic reaction to salt or has drank a lot of it, please let your vet know. Too much salt in your dog’s body can lead to salt poisoning.
It would be best to keep your contact lenses and solutions out of your dog’s reach. I keep mine in a locked cabinet in my bathroom which my dog or cat has no way of opening.
What If My Dog Ate My Spectacle Lens?
It is a whole different story if your dog happened to eat your spectacle lens. Spectacle lenses are made from either plastic or glass and are very hard to break.
An ingested spectacle lens can become a huge choking or intestinal blockage risk to your dog regardless of its size.
It can be even more dangerous if your dog chewed on it and swallowed the pieces. These sharp pieces can definitely cause internal damage to its soft tissue and organs.
There’s no wait and watch to see what happens under such a scenario.
Your dog needs to be brought to the vet right away.