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 snag 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 that pups have been known to gobble that definitely warrant a visit to the vet.
As disgusting as this little habit may be, consuming feces is very rarely life-threatening. Dogs tend to eat their own stool, that of other dogs, cats, or local wildlife. If the animal whose poop is being snacked on lives in your home, you’re in luck! Veterinarians carry a powdered substance you can add to food to help break the habit.
If your pooch snaps up poop morsels from the park or around the neighborhood, watch for signs of GI distress like vomiting and diarrhea. Visit your veterinarian for an exam and fecal analysis to check for intestinal parasites and infectious bacteria. All dogs with Coprophagia (the habit of eating feces) should be dewormed regularly by a veterinarian.
Some dogs just can’t get enough of paper shredding. My parents’ Shih-Tzu sneaks into the bathroom at every opportunity and TP’s the whole house. If your pup swallows 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 some paper towels are another story. This material expands in the gut and is a common cause of foreign bodies in dogs. X-rays should be taken to see if the item can pass on its own or if surgical intervention is needed.
Depending on the size, shape, positioning, and type of metal ingested, 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. Better safe than sorry.
Cloth or Soft Toys
Pieces of plush toys, socks, underwear and panty hose 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!
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 ones!), 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. Swallowed bones often require surgical removal, so be vigilant and contact your vet if your dog accidentally ingests a large piece of bone.
Dogs adore the great outdoors – so much that they sometimes like to take pieces home with them by swallowing leaves, rocks or sticks. Large amounts of leaves can block the intestines, and sticks may cause injuries to the GI tract or become wedged. 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