Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

My Dog Ate a Silica Packet: What to Do (Vet Answer)

Written by: Dr. Marti Dudley DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Dogster Team

silica gel

My Dog Ate a Silica Packet: What to Do (Vet Answer)


Dr. Marti Dudley Photo


Dr. Marti Dudley

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

There are things in our environment that can pose safety risks to our pets that we don’t always consider until ingestion occurs by our canine companions. Silica gel is often found in small packets that are typically less than 1 inch in size. These packets can be found in several different products, including food items, medication, and shoe boxes, and are used to help prevent moisture accumulation. What happens if your pooch ingests one of these little packets? Is it toxic? Fortunately, silica gel packets are not toxic, but there are some safety measures you should take to ensure they’re going to be alright. Continue reading to learn about what to do if your pet makes a snack out of these desiccants. dogster paw divider

Types of Freshness Packets

It is important to note that there are several different types of “freshness packets.” This article specifically speaks on silica gel packets, which pose almost no toxicity risk if ingested. Other freshness packets may contain charcoal or iron. Those made of iron can be dangerous if consumed, especially if in large quantities. Take precautions as needed and reach out to your veterinarian if you have concerns. It is possible that the packet may not be identifiable once chewed, or the packet itself may be unavailable for inspection if consumed whole. In these cases, the content of the packets may be unknown. It will be helpful to try to figure out the packet’s contents by examining remnants when available.

  • White or clear beads are likely silica and will not require further intervention if a single packet was consumed.
  • If the remnants are dark in coloration or appear to be a powder, it will be critical to discern if iron or charcoal-based. This can be done by seeing if the powder is attracted to a magnet. If yes, the packet contains iron, which can be harmful depending on your dog’s size and the amount consumed.

If iron is suspected to have been consumed, or if there is no way to verify the type of packet consumed, your veterinarian should be contacted, along with a pet poison helpline, as further intervention may be necessary.

a packet of silica gel
Image Credit: aditisgood, Shutterstock

What Is a Silica Packet?

Silica packets contain small amounts of silica gel that are used to help maintain freshness. Silica attracts water, pulling moisture out of the air, which helps to protect products that may be sensitive to humidity or moisture. Silica packets generally are less than an inch in size and contain small, white beads of silica. Some packets may contain dyes, changing the color of the beads. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, some silica gels may be mixed with moisture indicators, which may be problematic if ingested in large amounts.

Ingestion Risks

Ingestion of a single silica gel packet is very unlikely to cause serious risk to your canine companion. However, vomiting and diarrhea may occur. The packets are around the size of a sugar packet and could potentially cause an obstruction, but this is uncommon, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

silica gel packet
Image Credit: Zay Nyi Nyi, Shutterstock

Post Ingestion Interventions

If a single packet was ingested and confirmed to be silica, close monitoring is recommended. Monitor your pet for signs of vomiting and a decreased appetite. If severe gastrointestinal signs occur following the ingestion of packets, supportive care may be necessary to help combat dehydration. Always consult with your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns. If only one silica gel packet has been consumed, it is unlikely that significant intervention will be necessary. There is a slight risk of a foreign body obstruction if the packet is consumed whole. In some cases, bulking up the diet with fiber and other food recommendations from your veterinarian will be helpful in aiding in gastrointestinal transit. However, it is important to get their direct advice before proceeding. dogster face divider

In Summary

Silica packets pose little risk of toxicity. The biggest concern following the ingestion of a silica packet is the risk of possible gastrointestinal obstruction. In some cases, simply bulking the diet with fiber could help the packet move through the intestinal tract. It is important to note that some freshness packets contain iron, which can be problematic if consumed in large amounts. Freshness packets containing iron may require more intervention and monitoring. But when in doubt, contact your veterinarian for guidance.

Featured Image Credit: Zay Nyi Nyi, Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.