Whole Dog Journal's Blog September 28, 2012

Oh No - Don’t Swallow That!

Posted at 01:02PM - Comments: (10)

My Ella is a chow hound. Not only does she eat everything I offer her, including lemon slices, but she thinks the purpose of walks is to see how much food she can find. It's amazing what she comes up with. In the first year and a half that I had her, we spent one night at the emergency vet after she ingested paintballs, and she also had to see a specialist to remove a peanut fragment that she tried to cough up but which got caught above her soft palette in the back of her nose instead.

I mention this so that maybe you'll understand why I panicked when the cap from a container holding a fly paper strip disappeared after I dropped it. I didn't think much of it at the time, just finished putting the strip up, and then looked around to pick up the cap, which I had heard fall, but it was nowhere to be found. I wouldn't have been overly concerned, except that the top had a thumbtack pushed through it for hanging the strip. Normally, Ella would be unlikely to eat anything that wasn't food, but the top also had some of the sticky stuff from the fly paper, and I thought that might have attracted her to it.

I must have spent half an hour searching my small kitchen for that cap. I got down on hands and knees, felt around the bottom of the lower cabinets in case it had somehow bounced up and stuck, checked the box it had come in, checked Ella to make sure it hadn't somehow stuck to her, even took off my shoes and walked around barefoot, figuring that if the thumbtack was in the vicinity, I would find it that way, but nothing turned up.

Reluctantly, I finally called the emergency vet (of course, this would happen on a weekend), who suggested I bring her in for an x-ray. $350 later, the mystery remained -- while a plastic cap might have been hard to see on an x-ray, that thumbtack would have lit up like a Christmas tree on the film, and it simply was not there.

So, back home we went, and I began the search again. In frustration, I decided to check inside the dishwasher, even though it had been closed at the time I dropped the cap. As soon as I went to open the dishwasher door, I saw it -- sitting on top of the door, the black of the dishwasher completely camouflaging the black of the cap, which had the thumbtack pointed up so that it was almost invisible. It was a relief to know what had happened, and that my dog was safe, but I felt like an idiot for taking her to the emergency vet.

How about you -- has anyone else had a scare that turned out to be nothing?

Mary Straus is a regular contributor to the Whole Dog Journal. She and her Norwich Terrier, Ella, live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Comments (10)

Both of my dogs were strays that had been on the street for awhile. Each of them took about a year before they stopped trying to eat EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that they found on the street or floor. I was wearing a larger wedding ring due to a permanently swollen knuckle and it slipped off one day. I didn't realize until later in the day that it was gone. My younger dog was still in the eat anything mode and after looking everywhere I could think of, I figured she had picked it up. I di the poop check for a week, but nothing. I never did find the ring either!

Posted by: CAROLYN E S | October 5, 2012 1:15 PM    Report this comment

I had heard alot of these horror stories and one of the first things I taught my labradoodl puppy was the "trade" command. Anytime he "finds" something instead of eating it he brings it to me to show me what he has to see if it's worth trading for.
Still, We did have one incident with a pigs ear. A small piece got stuck and he got frantic so we took him to the vets but by the time we arrived everything seemed to be ok. He won't even consider another pigs ear - he sniffs and walks away. Fine with me :-)

Posted by: Remysmom | October 4, 2012 2:31 PM    Report this comment

My Gabe, a black lab - pit bull mix, has earned quite a reputation at the vet's. He has chewed up and swallowed the contents of a tube of Revolution, swallowed a triple A battery, eaten rat poison, and other food and non-food items too numerous to list. Whenever I take any of my cats or dogs to the vet, he always asks me if anyone at my house has eaten anything strange lately,

Posted by: lora j | October 3, 2012 11:52 PM    Report this comment

Its not an "eating things" incident - but we did go to the emergency vet in a panic.

Every watched Resident Evil? With the zombie dogs? Covered in blood, strips of skin hanging off ... That's what Rose looked like when I let her in one evening. Every time she breathed in, blood sprayed out in a fine mist from a hole between and above her eyes. (Rose has white lower legs, chest and muzzle; the rest of her is black & gold brindle) My calamity dog had run full tilt into the back of my utility trailer (while playing with my other shorter dog) - taking the taillight bracket right between the eyes; and punching a hole into her sinus. Then she apparently rolled around in the flowerbed. Getting a good mix of dirt/blood all over her front end. The blood-mud in clumps, with blood covered leaves looked like her skin was hanging off in strips.

Once I got a good look at her with the lights on, and started whipping all the gunk off I was somewhat less panicked. All her skin was attached, but she still had a hole in her head. The emergency vet took X-rays and gave me some antibiotics and pain pills and sent us back home. She healed up fine, no external scars. If you run your thumb between her eyes you can find a 1/4 inch wide and 3 inch long grove though.

Posted by: KATE S | October 2, 2012 10:33 PM    Report this comment

I heard pureed Pumpkin + Olive oil can help pass swallowed objects. Once Buddy had some swallowed bone fragments that may have coalesced in his intestine and he was very uncomfortable (manifested as clingy and needy). When I checked him I could feel his abdomen was taut and tense. Thinking it was tummy trouble, I gave him (he is a Bischon/Poodle) about a TBS of canned pureed pumpkin with a tsp of olive oil 2-3 times over a period of 3 hours along with some T-Touch Belly Lifts and TLC. He passed the bones and felt much better within about 3 hours.

Posted by: Becky and Buddy | October 2, 2012 8:39 PM    Report this comment

When my one year old Beagle/Dachshund mix was found eating the remains of a baby bird I got panicy and called the vet. He said not to worry as long as the bird was not on the ground for more than a few hours (which it wasn't)because wild dogs consumed almost anything. Because of that, current day dogs can consume and digest birds and animal parts with no problem.

Posted by: Stanley F | October 2, 2012 6:36 PM    Report this comment

Our Lab/Shepherd mix is nearly 14 years old. Over the years, he has swallowed tube socks, a stuffed toy bone, three (yes three) stuffed toy balls, a yellow Barbie shoe and a few other things. After a couple of trips to the vet's office and during one emergency phone call, our vet told us to try this: A tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. After Ajax ate some Tylenol that a houseguest left on the nightstand, we quickly gave him a tablespoon (used a baster) of hydrogen peroxide and he vomited the pills in about 2 minutes. My sister did this for her spaniel who ate a lot of chocolate. It works and no side effects.

Posted by: Minimom | October 2, 2012 1:55 PM    Report this comment

she heard you say vet, the word dogs hate. jim the dog

Posted by: Unknown | October 2, 2012 12:44 PM    Report this comment

SUSAN HERE IS WHAT I DO [AND HAVE DONE FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS] I HAVE HAD LABS [THAT WILL EAT ANYTHING THAT WILL GO INTO THEIR MOUTH.] MOST DOGS WILL PASS WHAT THEY EAT. BUT THIS WORKS FOR ME. FEED YOUR DOG EVERY MEAL [PUNKIN] A SPOON FULL. NOT PIE FILLING. ALSO DURING THE DAY GIVE HIM OR HER A BOILED CARROT OR TWO. NOW ONCE A WEEK GIVE THE DOG A SMALL SARDINE IN THEIR FOOD THE KIND THAT COMES IN OIL. WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO IS MAKE THE DOGS STOOL A LITTLE SOFT [OR MUSHY] THIS DOES TWO THINGS HELPS THE DOG WITH THEIR BOWEL MOVEMENT AND THE ITEM THEN PASSES IN THIS [MUSH] THE PUNKIN AND SARDINES WILL HELP THEIR DIET AND YOU WILL MAKE A LOT LESS TRIPS TO THE VET. VETS LOVE TO DO XRAYS. TELL THE VET NO XRAY LETS JUST GIVE TH DOG A ENIMA AND I WILL TAKE IT HOME. BELIEVE ME THEY LOVE XRAYS AND NITE STAY OVERS. JIM THE DOG

Posted by: Unknown | October 2, 2012 12:42 PM    Report this comment

When my Sasha was a puppy, my engagement ring disappeared from the nightstand. My searching did not reveal it, she was a toy puppy, and it had sharp diamonds in it. So I called the vet who determined that she did not think the diamonds would harm Sasha's intestines.

For the next week I not only picked up poo but pawed through it. Of course it was cold out and the temperature contrast made it all the worse (cold ground, warm poo). After the week a no luck, I called the vet to make an appointment to have them try to find where the ring had gotten stuck. As I was waiting for them to answer, I looked over to see Sasha tossing the ring in the air and catching it.

I never did find out where she hid it during that week.

Posted by: Susan T | October 2, 2012 10:39 AM    Report this comment

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