Are Orbeez Toxic to Dogs?

Kid holding orbeez in many colors in his hands

Suppose you have Orbeez in your home or are thinking about getting them for some reason, but also own a dog. In that case, you may be concerned regarding whether or not it would be a huge problem for your pooch to eat them. Well, it’s not a good idea to eat anything that isn’t food, but some non-food items are straight-up toxic to dogs.

Orbeez beads are a type of water beads made out of liquid-absorbing polymers. While it would certainly not be desirable for your dog to swallow them, these beads are not toxic in and of themselves. It is their physical properties that would make them most dangerous for a dog to eat. It won’t poison them, but it could cause other problems.

In this article, we’ll talk about the various things you need to know about Orbeez and how they can affect your dog if they are consumed, as well as what steps you should take to rectify the situation if your dog happens to eat them. Orbeez could be deadly or harmless, depending on a variety of factors.

What is Orbeez Exactly?

It’s generally pretty essential to know what something is before talking about it. Orbeez is a type of water bead made with liquid-absorbing polymers. These polymers are composed of salt ions, vinyl formic acid, and water. It might sound bad to ingest something like “vinyl formic acid,” but it isn’t toxic.

Orbeez beads are not only non-toxic, but they are also biodegradable. This means that they will not cause any chemical problems if swallowed by humans or dogs. The real issue lies in their physical properties, which include expansions under certain circumstances. If many of them are swallowed, serious issues like intestinal blockages can occur.

Orbeez beads are capable of expanding in size by absorbing water. This is where the real threat lies if they are swallowed. While the beads are tiny and generally wouldn’t cause problems if ingested, they could cause serious physical blockages that would require medical care to remove if they expanded inside the body.

Still, we’ll discuss that in more detail later. For now, rest easy knowing that Orbeez beads are at the least not toxic to humans or animals, so if someone ends up swallowing them, you don’t have to worry about poisoning. In fact, there are some cases where you might not have to worry about them being swallowed at all.

Orbeez Can Expand to Different Sizes

There is more than one type of Orbeez out there. The sizes they are intended to grow to vary. For instance, some are intended to expand to sizes no greater than 7mm, while others are designed to grow to sizes of 14mm or larger. Naturally, the larger the size a bead could expand to, the greater risk it poses.

Of course, the larger the size a bead could expand to, the larger the chance it could block the intestines or other parts of the digestive tract. This risk becomes even more significant if your dog consumes many water beads, especially since they tend to stick together. This is the primary hazard of these items to your dog.

That said, the threat is even greater to a smaller dog. While the dangers of intestinal blockage exist regardless, larger dogs, such as a Mastiff or Great Dane, are less likely to get a blockage from small water beads than small breeds, like a Chihuahua or Shi Tzu are. Small dogs face bigger risks if they consume Orbeez.

Water beads can pass through a dog’s body without causing any harm, but it would be better to err on the side of caution if your dog does eat any since you won’t know if it caused problems until those problems become apparent. You don’t want to wait until a digestive tract issue is obvious.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Swallows Orbeez?

Admittedly, if your dog only swallowed one or two water beads, chances are it won’t cause too much of an issue. Such a small number of them are likely to pass through the intestines without much trouble. Even so, it is better to be safe than sorry: we recommend contacting your vet immediately if your dog swallows any Orbeez.

But if your dog swallows a substantial number of Orbeez, that could be a life-threatening situation, and you should call your vet immediately. If you can’t make contact with them, you should take your dog to an emergency clinic as soon as possible. Be sure to bring some of the Orbeez with you if you can, for the vets to analyze.

You should remove any food from your dog’s reach if they have swallowed Orbeez, since the water beads could block their digestive tract: that means your dog will not be able to digest the food properly, which could lead to food poisoning. Since Orbeez expands by absorbing water, you should not let your dog drink any water either.

Ultimately there is nothing much you will be able to do to remove the water beads yourself, so taking your dog to the vet as soon as possible is the most crucial thing you can do. Professional assistance will be required if water beads of any sort have formed a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Eating Orbeez?

While many dogs chew on things that are not food, for the most part, they do not go around fully eating things like Orbeez. That said, you shouldn’t just leave Orbeez lying around for your dog to potentially eat. The best thing for you to do is simply keep them out of your dog’s reach. That’s the safest course of action.

This means you should place Orbeez in secure containers or in high locations that a dog cannot reach no matter how hard it tries. That said, Orbeez are often used for things like hydrating plants, and plants tend to be placed on windowsills and the like. If you have a short dog, this isn’t a big problem.

If you have a taller dog, consider placing any plants using Orbeez in inaccessible areas or consider not using Orbeez at all since you could still use normal water to hydrate your plants. If you have kids that like to play with Orbeez, you should ensure that they play with them in an area away from your dog and pick up any fallen Orbeez.

All in all, a dog is not particularly likely to intentionally eat Orbeez even if they do have access to them, but there is still plenty of reason to play it safe and keep your dog away from them. They may not be toxic, but they can still pose a risk, so keep them away from a dog as best as possible.

Can You Shrink Orbeez?

As mentioned before, Orbeez can expand to a greater size when they absorb water, and existing at a greater size is the main risk Orbeez poses to dogs if they swallow them. So, it stands to reason that you may want to try and shrink Orbeez if they are around your dog. There is a way to do this.

Mostly, you’ll want to leave Orbeez out in the sun. The heat will help them lose some of the water they have absorbed and shrink back to their original size. Orbeez will shrink back to their original size over time anyway, but if they are out in the sun, the process will be much quicker. This would be best when they are not in use.

After all, the smaller the Orbeez are, the less likely a dog will face serious health issues if they end up swallowing them.


Orbeez is a little polymer bead that absorbs water to grow in size. Contrary to popular belief, these water beads do not have any strange chemicals in them, and they are not toxic to dogs or humans even if they are swallowed. However, they are dangerous if swallowed in a completely different manner. 

These water beads stick together and can expand in size, particularly when they absorb water. That means that if they are swallowed, especially in large numbers, they could form a blockage in your dog’s digestive tract, which could cause huge problems that could even end up being fatal.

If your dog swallows Orbeez, you should immediately contact your vet for medical advice. If you cannot get into contact with your vet, you should take your dog to an emergency clinic as soon as possible. Be sure to take some of the water beads with you, so the vets know what they are dealing with.

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