Are Packing Peanuts Poisonous to Dogs?

Are Packing Peanuts Poisonous to Dogs

This isn’t our typical article at Moving Expertise, but in addition to having moved a ton, we also have two dogs – Chompers and Mia – who mean the world to us. Moving can involve packing peanuts and we want other dog parents to understand the potential dangers of them, so here we are.

If you have packing peanuts laying around while packing your moving truck, the likelihood of your dog playing around with them or at least amongst them is extremely high. What do you do if your dog decided to eat some of those packing peanuts?

In this article, we’ll be answering the question, “Are packing peanuts poisonous to dogs?” We’ll also be discussing the protocol to follow should you find yourself in this tricky situation.

In the chance this is an emergency we don’t want you having to scroll for this info:

Important: If you believe your dog has eaten non-biodegradable packing peanuts you should contact your vet or ASPCA’s animal poison control center immediately.

Let’s dive right in!

Table of Contents

Types of Packing Peanuts

There are two types of packing peanuts. One is made of cornstarch and other biodegradable materials, and the other type is made of Styrofoam. As you can imagine, one is clearly more dangerous than the other.

So, how do you figure out the type of packing peanuts that a dog may have consumed? It’s actually pretty simple. Just drop them into some water. If the peanut begins to soften and dissolve, it’s biodegradableOpens in a new tab..

If the dog has eaten every last peanut in sight, you should assume the worst. Better safe than sorry!

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Dog In a Packing Box

Eating biodegradable packing peanuts, while not advisable, doesn’t constitute an emergency. These peanuts are often described as “safe for your family, pets, and the environment.”

Consuming these packing peanuts will lead to milder side-effects in comparison to non-biodegradable peanuts. A dog will likely end up with an upset stomach. However, to be safe, it would be best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

It’s important to watch out for signs of intestinal blockage. This includes loss of appetite and diarrhea.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Non-Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Non-biodegradable packing peanuts are made of plastic. These peanuts are considered to be poisonous to dogs.

If a dog has consumed these peanuts, you should immediately call your vet or ASPCA’s animal poison control center. In this case, remain calm and wait for instructions from a professional.

Your dog may regurgitate the plastic peanuts on their own. You shouldn’t try to induce vomiting using household substances, unless instructed to do so.

If the dog hasn’t eaten anything two hours before snacking on the plastic peanuts, vomiting will likely be ineffective. In this case, the peanuts will quickly pass from the stomach to the intestine. These peanuts can either pass through the dog’s feces or they will have to be surgically removed.

How to Make a Dog Barf

If you’re instructed to induce vomiting in your dog, you should follow the vet’s instructions. It’s vital to be accurate and measure things precisely.

It would be beneficial to have a few things handy in your medicine cabinet in case you find yourself in this situation. Having 3% hydrogen peroxide on hand can be life-saving.

Let the vet know that you have it at home and they will coach you on how to use it. After the dog has regurgitated the peanuts, take it to the vet immediately so that they can continue to treat it.

One of the common mistakes pet owners make is using ipecac syrupOpens in a new tab. to induce vomiting. While it’s effective in making dogs vomit, it has been proven to be extremely unsafe. It can even lead to much more serious problems including:

  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Reduced heart rate or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Potentially deadly heart conditions

This is why it’s extremely important to get instructions from health professionals. There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet, so while you may be trying to help the dog, you might end up doing more harm than good.

Why Is Eating Styrofoam Packing Peanuts Dangerous?

Packing Peanuts

Plastic isn’t something that can be digested well by dogs. It’s also a very toxic material. This is why Styrofoam packing peanuts are extremely dangerous.

Many complications may arise if a dog consumes Styrofoam. At first, the dog’s body will try to process the plastic. However, as we mentioned, it’ll be unable to do so. This will put a large amount of unnecessary stress on the dog’s organs, especially the liver and kidneys. This can even lead to organ failure.

Styrofoam also poses a choking hazard. This can cause the dog to choke and even suffocate. If the dog doesn’t choke, the Styrofoam can still cause damage to other organs like the intestines because it can get stuck,

Styrofoam is also extremely dangerous due to the chemicals it releases as it’s processed by the body. These chemicals remain in the body long after the Styrofoam has been removed or excreted. The chemicals are often carcinogenicOpens in a new tab..

Preventing Your Dog From Eating Packing Peanuts

The best way to avoid the stressful, anxiety-inducing doctor visits and regurgitation procedures is to keep your dog far away from packing peanuts.

If you’re buying lots of packages, make sure you preserve them somewhere your dog can’t get to. Moreover, if you’re planning on saving the peanuts so that they can be reused check if they’re biodegradable. Our recommendation is to only save the biodegradable ones.

These packing peanuts should still be kept on a high shelf or a closed closet and out of reach as they still pose a choking hazard.


In conclusion, packing peanuts, especially those made out of Styrofoam, are dangerous and poisonous to dogs. If a dog has ingested any packing peanuts, you should immediately contact the vet.

It’s vital to stay calm as you await further instruction. Having 3% hydrogen peroxide at home can be helpful as you may be instructed to induce vomiting as you wait for further medical assistance.

Biodegradable packing peanuts pose less of a threat than Styrofoam peanuts. However, it’s best to keep both out of reach if you have a pet.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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