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The Dangers of Your Pet Ingesting Glue

Keep polyurethane glues such as Gorilla Glue® out of your pet's reach


Dog who ingested Gorilla Glue / Courtesy of Dr. Catherine A. Angle and PetPoisonHelpline.com

Dog who ingested Gorilla Glue

Courtesy of Dr. Catherine A. Angle and PetPoisonHelpline.com
Normal Dog Radiograph / Courtesy of Dr. Catherine A. Angle and PetPoisonHelpline.com

Normal Dog Radiograph

Courtesy of Dr. Catherine A. Angle and PetPoisonHelpline.com
Gorilla Glue © PriceGrabber

Gorilla Glue

© PriceGrabber

My husband loves using Gorilla Glue® around the house for a variety of projects. I haven't used it, honestly hadn't taken much notice of it. Then, through my Twitter page, I learned about the possible danger of leaving out polyurethane glue (like Gorilla Glue) where pets can access it.


From Pet Poison Helpline:
Some glues, such as Gorilla Glue®, expand greatly once ingested and require surgical removal. Just one ounce of glue may expand to the size of a basketball, as illustrated in these radiographs (first one shows dog who ingested glue, second radiograph is a normal dog). Read more about Gorilla Glue® from Pet Poison Helpline.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) reports a recent increase in claims related to pet ingestion of this class of glue. According to the claims received thus far, most treatments have been surgical, treatment costs have ranged from $700 to $3,300, and all treated pets have recovered.

To learn more about the potential dangers of this common home improvement product, I spoke with Grant Biniasz, Corporate Communications Specialist for Veterinary Pet Insurance. It is important to keep glue and other household products safely away from pets.

Question: What are the primary lesions? Is it a hard adherent mass, or does it 'stick' along the way in the mouth/throat?
Answer: These appear to be hard clumpy masses in the stomach or intestinal tract.

Note: I know that this class of glue not only cures to a very hard substance, it also expands. A little goes a long way.

Question: What does treatment entail? Were all four cases surgical?
Answer: In three instances they removed it surgically; one where it also had passed into the intestine and was then defecated out. In one case, the glue on the stomach was described as an "expanded substance."

Question: Was any toxicity noted from absorption of the chemicals?
Answer: No toxicity noted. In one case the hospital induced vomiting, although the MSDS sheet states not to induce vomiting. No use of charcoal or other toxic absorbant used.

Question: Any thoughts as to what makes pets want to eat it?
Answer: It does not appear that there is any particularly smelly or otherwise tasty ingredients used in the product (such as those used in anti-freeze). Our best guess is that the product is just really common and often left on the ground or around the house after "quick fix" projects.

Additionally, Grant Biniasz also provided some case specifics from one of the policyholders, Eve in California. Here is her story.

Case Report - Takoda the Golden Retriever
Eve has a one-year-old golden retriever named Takoda who ingested Gorilla Glue in February. Her husband had been using the glue to fix a jewelry box and left the glue out while the couple went to a neighbor's house to watch the Super Bowl. Eve returned home at half time and found the chewed up Gorilla Glue tube and glue all over her carpet.

She said she wasn't really worried because there wasn't much left in the tube (about a teaspoon, by her estimation), but by Thursday, Takoda was vomiting and not going to the bathroom. She called the veterinarian, who told her to bring him in right away. The glue had become a large, hard mass inside Takoda's stomach and had to be surgically removed.

They told her that most cases of Gorilla Glue ingestion don't end well, but she was lucky he only got a little bit of it. The surgery cost $1059.75 to help Takoda. Eve’s pet insurance helped cover the unexpected expenses.

Thank you to Grant Biniasz and the VPI veterinary services department for helping with this article. To learn more about VPI, please see their pet insurance interview or visit VPI Pet Insurance.

Additional Information:
Gorilla Glue Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
Elmer Nano Glue Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Related Reading:
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Veterinary Toxicology Resources
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