Dogs “see” the world through their noses, and taste is closely tied into their sense of smell. Some veterinarians and animal behaviorists feel that this may be why pups eat items that are most certainly not food. Whether they swallow a dangerous substance out of curiosity, excitement or just by accident, seeking veterinary help quickly can make all the difference.
Here are some common materials pups have been known to eat that definitely warrant a visit to the vet.
This behavior is known as coprophagia, and it is fairly common. While scientists aren’t entirely sure why dogs do this, they do agree that eating their own poop is relatively harmless. The potential problems come in when they eat the stool of other dogs, cats, or local wildlife.
Consuming feces from another animal means ingesting whatever that animal ate as well as a whopping dose of bacteria which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. This is also how many dogs contract intestinal parasites.
If your dog ate goose poop or stole “treats” from the cat’s litter box, head to the vet with a fresh stool sample. Even if parasite eggs are not detected, your veterinarian will most likely give your pup a broad spectrum dewormer just to be safe. They can also provide tips and tricks for helping your dog break the habit.
Some dogs just love to shred paper. My parents’ Shih-Tzu sneaks into the bathroom at every opportunity and TP’s the whole house. If your pup ate a scrap of paper, there’s no need for panic – it will pass through the digestive tract.
However, large amounts of paper or super-absorbent products like tampons, pads, and paper towels are another story. This material expands in the gut and is a common cause of intestinal obstructions in dogs. X-rays should be taken to see if the item can pass on its own or if surgical intervention is necessary.
Depending on the size, shape, positioning, and type of metal your dog ate, this could be very serious. Pennies pose the risk of zinc poisoning, depending on the year they were minted. Sharp or pointy objects like pins, nails, or razor blades can potentially perforate the intestines, and large pieces could cause blockages.
Even if your pup only swallowed small bits of metal, immediate veterinary care should be sought. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Cloth or Soft Toys
Pieces of plush toys, socks, underwear, and pantyhose are among the most common items surgically removed from dogs each year. Again, small bits of material may pass without issue, but often dogs are bigger thieves than we realize. Some dogs have gone in for the surgical removal of a single sock, only to have the veterinarian locate 4 or 5 more!
In addition to keeping your laundry out of the dog’s reach, you should occasionally take inventory of your dog’s toys. Rope toys can be especially dangerous as the strands can unravel and become entangled in the intestines. As the body tries to pass the rope, it cinches up causing life-threatening intestinal damage.
Know your dog’s toys and if one turns up missing, watch him closely for signs of illness. If you know your pooch ate a toy or article of clothing, seek veterinary attention right away. Early detection may just save your best friend’s life.
There’s nothing pups love more than a real bone to gnaw on. If you decide to allow your pup to chew real bones (but never cooked bones!), be sure to monitor him closely. A swallowed bone could lead to big trouble, as large chunks may be too solid and dense to pass through the GI tract.
Bones often require surgical removal, so be vigilant and contact your vet if your dog accidentally ate a large piece of bone.
Dogs adore the great outdoors – so much that they sometimes like to take pieces home with them by eating leaves, rocks, or sticks. Large amounts of leaves can block the intestines, and sticks may cause injuries to the GI tract or become wedged in the mouth or throat. Leaf eaters also run the risk of ingesting toxic plants or a poisonous mushroom.
Even heavier and denser than bone, rocks are very difficult to pass and frequently end up requiring surgical removal. Basically, if your pup takes a bite out of nature, it’s time for a visit to your favorite doggy doc!
Batteries, rubber, some table foods, household chemicals and several medications also pose threats to dogs. When in doubt, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661 for advice, and seek immediate veterinary attention in an emergency.
Featured Image via Instagram/AmyRack84