I was watching a very interesting program on one of the Animal channels last night. It was a show about dogs that love to eat everything that they can get their mouths on…….and the problems that can arise because of it. Some dogs you can leave in the house all day and they never get into trouble. Other dogs you can’t leave alone a minute in the house by themselves before they get something in their mouth. The simplest little thing that they can get in their mouths may turn deadly.
On this television show that I was watching it showed a few different breeds of dogs and one of them was a German Shepherd mix. This dog was eating rocks. It seems his owners had a cookout and someone threw the grease from the food on the rocks in the yard. Well this dog proceeded to lick and then eat the rocks even after the owners picked up what they could of the greasy rocks. Every time this dog went outside, back to the pile of rocks he would go. Obviously even after the rocks were picked up, some of the grease smell remained. Long story short, the dog became ill and started throwing up.
When this dog was taken to the vet, they x-rayed him and were shocked at what they saw. He didn’t eat just a few rocks; he looked like he cleared most of the backyard of any rocks at all. His insides were loaded with rocks! Emergency surgery was performed and they removed all of the rocks from his intestines. He was lucky because he recovered and acted once again like his happy self. Now his owners never let him outside unless they are there to watch him.
Another dog swallowed a very long object which when removed turned out to be a plastic clothes hanger. It was so long. I don’t know how this Bull Dog swallowed that. Then there was a dog that swallowed some glue from a bottle. He became very sick and was throwing up all over the house. When they x-rayed him, the glue had expanded in the dog’s stomach and became a mass. Thank God they were able to operate and remove the mass. However, he had also swallowed some small pieces of metal and because of the glue mass; the metal didn’t puncture any of his organs.
It is very scary thinking of what some of our dogs put into their mouths and swallow. My very first German Shepherd that I owned was a notorious rock chewer. She had the worn down teeth to show for it! She was a couple of years old and her teeth made her look like she was a senior citizen already! I don’t know why she had the desire to want to chew on rocks.
Other dogs love to chew on sticks. This is especially true of puppies. Puppies put everything in their mouths. Sticks can be very dangerous as they can splinter and get lodged in the animal’ mouth or puncture his intestines. So although the puppy may love to chew on sticks, don’t allow him to. He might be satisfying his need to chew on something, but this can cost the dog his life.
Any sponges or rubber type material if swallowed can swell inside the dog’s intestines. Sharp objects if swallowed can puncture the stomach or intestines. These types of things can cause blockages or lacerations and can kill the dog. Surgically removing these objects as soon as possible can save his life.
If the blockage is high up in the intestinal tract, projectile vomiting will occur and the dog may not be interested in eating. If the blockage is lower down this too can cause vomiting but it will be less frequent, dark brown and smell like feces. The abdomen will also swell. If you see your dog has a hard time going to the bathroom, is throwing up, or pacing around, don’t hesitate, get him to the vet right away.
Many times the dog will pass the object that he has swallowed when he goes to the bathroom. Not everything that he swallows will cause him a problem. Dogs are constantly putting things in their mouths. You just have to notice if he’s acting differently and something is bothering him. If he’s throwing up and not wanting to eat, these are signs that he may be in trouble.
If the dog has swallowed something that he can’t pass, the tissues around the obstruction may swell and hinder the flow of blood. If this happens, the tissues can die. His tummy is very tender and it can feel hard as a board. After a while, he will go into shock and his gums will become pale and he may collapse. If this happens, wrap the dog in a blanket to keep him warm and put a drop or two of Karo syrup and honey on his gums to help keep him conscious. Then get him to the vet immediately!
A dog that has had a bowel obstruction must be carefully watched for he is now at a risk to repeat this same thing again. Besides watching that he doesn’t eat anything that he shouldn’t, this dog may have developed scar tissue insides his intestines which may make it more difficult for even small items to pass. These are not dogs that you want to give bones or rawhide to.
The other dog on last nights program, I saved for last as I couldn’t believe how the owner had to go about removing the object from her dog. It seems the woman of the house took her engagement ring off and left it on her night table. The next morning when she went to put her ring back on, it was gone. She searched high and low for it, but no ring. She noticed her dog (a Rottie) sniffing at her night table. She didn’t want to believe that he could be the thieve. Just to make sure, she took him into the vets and had him x-rayed. Sure enough, there it was right on the x-ray film. She couldn’t believe it. Now let me back up here a moment. Up to the time that she took her dog into the vets, every time that she let her dog out to go to the bathroom, she had plastic gloves on and she would go throw his “poop” looking for her engagement ring. YUCKY! But she was determined to find the ring. He never passed it. Now that she saw that he did indeed hold her ring “captured” in his intestinal track, she was more than ever determined to get it back to its rightful owner!
So they loaded the dog up with more food than usual and being that he was a good eater, he readily accepted whatever they gave him. She took him out for a walk on a leash and this time, she didn’t have her gloves on and yup, she went through his poop like a mad woman (remember she was on a quest…..he had something that belonged to her!) and “ta da!”…………out came her diamond ring. She was like a little girl that had just won the lottery. She picked up her smelly, dirty ring and ran back in the house excitedly proclaiming her victory!!!
So although this last story was a (laugh out loud) moment and her dog was fine, not all stories end on such a happy note. So watch your dog. Be careful what you leave on a table or counter. Small bottles of pills, glue, pins, needles…….put them in a cabinet so the nosy dog doesn’t get them. Keep him out of the garbage can. Don’t leave him in a garage or basement where he may get into anti-freeze, motor oils or other dangerous chemicals!
Watch what food you may leave on a counter or stove top. One person that may be reading this now told me last week about her new German import stealing a big hunk of meat off the counter! Another person called me two weeks ago and told me about their Pit Bull mix devouring the huge ham bone and trimmings at only six months old. Dogs are smart. They know the good stuff is up on the counters, table or stove. Don’t leave your dog any “invitations” because most of them won’t decline!
From the books description: It's every pet owner's nightmare: suddenly your four-legged friend isn't breathing. What to do? There is no 911 for pets, so it's up to you to save a life. The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats is a straightforward guide that covers both major problems--CPR, heat stroke, and strangulation--and minor ones, such as swollen tails, ingrown nails, and flea allergies. Beginning with simple tests and explanations of general care issues like dehydration examinations and triage, this guide then moves on to an alphabetical listing of every possible situation, from arrow wounds to worms.
The individual sections are good for both general reading and instant assistance. Each one starts with a notice of when to call the vet--immediately, the same day, or as needed. It also lists what items from your pet's medicine chest will be needed, which may include anything from corn syrup to towels and panty hose. The information that follows this simple checklist is divided into "do this now," "special situations," "follow-up care," and "the best approach."
My rating: chewing sticks and stones: (1), vet visit: (4, having a first aid kit and/or book: (4)