dog swallowed

Your Dog Swallowed WHAT???

Panic settles in when you discover your dog swallowed an object not meant for canine consumption.  Dogs have an innate ability to find and consume the most unusual things.  Knowing what to do when your dog has swallowed something bad for him is the first step to making sure he will recover from his antics.

Prevent Dog Swallowing Foreign Objects

It is nearly impossible to entirely prevent your dog from swallowing things that are bad for them.  But, it is important to take our best precautions in order to assure our canine companions remain healthy.

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  • If you have a fenced yard your dog is allowed to play in, check it regularly for any items that may have fallen or been thrown into the yard.  Make sure your children keep any toys picked up after playing.
  • Always check on your dog regularly when he is outside.
  • When walking your dog, keep him within sight on a leash.  They are amazingly fast at finding foreign objects to eat.
  • Keep all laundry, socks, underwear, and shoes out of reach of your dog.
  • Make sure your purse is tightly closed and out of reach.
  • Keep all trash secured in a locked trash can away from your dog’s inquiring nose.  This locking trash can works great for that purpose and comes in five colors to match your decor.
  • If you crate your dog at night or while you’re away, use a crate bed that is as chew proof as possible.
  • Dogs love raw beef bones, but be sure to take the bone away after all the meat is off the bone. (Do not feed cooked bones as they break down and become splintery.
  • Two great options to keep your dog busy and satisfy his desire to chew are Buffalo Horns or Deer Antlers.  They last forever and don’t tend to splinter or break off.  Of course, as with anything, always monitor your dog’s chewing, removing the item when you are not with him.  My dogs have had their Bully Bones and Deep Antlers for months and they remain intact.  And, my heavy chewer, American Staffordshire Terrier really gives them a workout.

Symptoms Your Dog Swallowed a Foreign Object

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting – usually undigested
  • Nausea – frequently licking of the lips, drooling, gagging
  • Loss of appetite
  • Panting
  • May want to be alone, retreating to another room or into a corner
  • Abdomen tender to the touch

What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Swallowed A Foreign Object

The first and most important thing to do if you even suspect your dog has swallowed a foreign object is to call your Veterinarian.  The Vet will be able to tell you if your dog will need to be seen immediately or if you can take a wait and see approach.  Some of the most common things veterinarians hear are:

My Dog Swallowed A Sock  

We all seem to have the problem of our washing machine eating socks, you know, the mysterious occurrence of two socks going in and only one coming out, usually never to be seen again.  A similar thing happens with dogs.  Maybe you left your dirty socks on the floor or in an accessible laundry basket.  Suddenly, instead of a pair, you have a single.  This could be a case of your dog swallowing your sock.  It is important to get your dog help as quick as possible before the sock enters the intestine where it could become lodged, creating a blockage. Your Vet will likely decide to x-ray to determine where the sock is located within your dog’s body.  From there he will possibly decide to induce vomiting if the sock is not yet in the intestine or surgery may be needed if the sock has passed into the intestine.  In any event, it is imperative that the dog is at his Vet.  Do not induce the vomiting yourself, as the sock could come partially up and cause the dog to choke.  Best to be at the Vet if that happens.   

My Dog Swallowed A Corncob

We know this emergency well.  Our Pitbull, Bella was adopted from our county Pound.  She was very thin and sad looking but did not appear really unhealthy.  Withing about two months she had put on some pounds and looked good.  Suddenly, she began to vomit, grow lethargic and would not eat.  We took her to her Vet who examined her and sent her to a specialist who diagnosed her with an intestinal obstruction.  She was scheduled for surgery where they removed a putrid corncob about six inches long.  The corncob was still intact.  Apparently, before being picked up by the county Pound, she had been roaming the streets, finding whatever she could to eat and survive.  She found a corncob.  Bella’s surgeon theorized that the corncob had originally settled in a place where it was not causing symptoms.  Then, it moved and that’s when the symptoms began.  Even with the corncob removed, there was considerable infection left behind.  With good care and about $5,000 in fees, Bella recovered.

My Dog Swallowed A Bone 

Dogs and bones, of course, go together.  Dogs love them and will love them to death, gnawing away until they are gone, but the cannot be allowed to do so. 

  1. Splinters of the bone can become stuck in the dog’s teeth, gums or throat. 
  2. Whole chunks of bone can be swallowed and become lodged in the dog’s intestines. 
  3. Sharp pieces of bones can cause injury to your dog’s esophagus, windpipe or cause severe rectum bleeding. 
  4. Sharp fragments may pierce the intestinal wall or stomach causing a bacterial infection called peritonitis.  This is potentially fatal to your dog.
  5. The bone may become lodged in your dog’s windpipe, blocking air passage and creating a breathing difficulty
  6. The bone can become stuck in your dog’s jaw, keeping him from being able to open or close his mouth and causing great pain and discomfort.
  7. Constipation may result from the bowel being unable to pass the stool past the bone piece that is stuck in the intestine.  This will cause your dog to experience a build-up of painful gas as well as pain from the sharpness of the bone.

My Dog Swallowed String

String is so much fun for dogs, but bad fun.  They love to unravel their bedding and toys, pulling and devouring the string.  Unfortunately, this fun can turn hazardous, when the string is swallowed and becomes wrapped around your dog’s insides.  Be cautious around Thanksgiving.  The string used to tie the turkey legs are an especially tasty temptation with the bits of meat attached. Sometimes string your dog eats will also have objects attached to them, such as fish hooks or needles, causing even greater concern.  DO NOT pull or cut any string you may see visible in your dog’s mouth or protruding from his rectum as this will likely cause even more danger for your dog.  Take him to his Vet immediately. 

My Dog Swallowed A Bully Stick

Bully sticks are easily digestible and break down in your dog’s digestive tract.  This makes them one of the least harmful objects for your dog to swallow.  Just be sure to choose a quality Bully Stick.  These Dog Bully Sticks are 100% USA sourced and made so no worrying about what some foreign country is allowing in the product.  They are high in protein and odorless.

My Dog Swallowed A Penny

A penny may seem the least harmful foreign object your dog could swallow.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Pennies contain zinc which is extremely toxic to dogs.  Your dog needs to be seen IMMEDIATELY if you even suspect he has swallowed a penny.  Zinc poisoning can cause:

  • Liver Failure
  • Kidney Failure
  • Anemia

Your vet will likely x-ray to reveal the location of the penny.  Smaller objects can often be removed through an endoscopy tube inserted down your dog’s throat.  Then the dog will need supportive care to monitor and treat any toxins from the penny.

My Dog Ate His Toy

Depending on what kind and what part of his toy he has swallowed, the dog may eventually pass it through his stool.  Small non-sharp pieces, without string attached, may come out the other end okay.  Of course, call your Vet anyway to be safe.

My Dog Swallowed A Rock

A rock of all things!  Couldn’t be tasty.  But dogs will eat about anything.  If your dog swallows a pebble of smaller rock, it will likely pass through the stool.  If he swallows a larger rock, your dog may require surgery.  As always, call your Vet to confirm the best course.

My Dog Ate A Stick

Dogs love chewing sticks.  They can and will chew off and swallow bits and pieces.  The danger occurs when sharp pieces jab into the mouth which can cause an infection.  Also, sharp chunks can become lodged in the dog’s throat or intestine causing a blockage or infection.  Call your Vet right away if you know your dog has swallowed a stick.

Dogs are natural chewers.  They can and will chew almost anything.  We as their caretakers must be vigilant to supply safer alternatives for chewing as well as making sure their environment is as safe and free from danger as possible.

  • Choose dog beds that are as indestructible as possible.  The Kuranda Elevated Dog Bed is exceptionally strong and durable.  It can be used inside or out and resists moisture.  If you prefer a plusher choice, the PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed is a great choice.  Not only is this bed durable and made for heavy chewers, but it is also made of orthopedic memory foam and has a waterproof liner with a removable cover for washing.
  • Supply your dog with an assortment of safer chewing options. Elk Antlers are a wonderful option for aggressive chewers. Elk Antlers are long-lasting and very hard to break off pieces.  They will supply months of chewing pleasure for your dog and hopefully distract him from seeking out guilty and dangerous pleasure, such as socks, underwear, and trash.  This Ultra-Durable Chew Toy made by Monster K-9 has been tested on heavy chewers including Pitbulls and German Shepherds.  It is non-toxic with a lifetime guarantee, so you have nothing to lose in giving it a try.

Your veterinarian is your dog’s best ally.  When your dog swallows a foreign object, place a call to him immediately.  He is the best one to advise on the next step.  If after hours, do not hesitate to call the nearest Emergency Veterinarian.  Time is of the most importance on many swallowed objects.  It can make the difference in a simpler inducing vomiting solution and a serious and expensive surgery.  Also, it can make a difference in whether your dog recovers completely or dies.



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