Whole Dog Journal's Blog July 21, 2016

Don't Swallow that Dog Toy!

Posted at 09:12AM - Comments: (15)

I’m afraid I have “one of those dogs” – the ones that swallow things. The ones that inspired the annual x-ray contest among veterinarians, x-rays of dogs with things that are stuck in their digestive tracts. No, Woody hasn’t had an x-ray yet, but unless I get a grip on this behavior, he’s going to be in the contest one of these days.

Daisy's toy after Woody swallowed it.

This little colorful trifle is a toy for tiny puppies. It was the first toy my sister bought for her young Jack Russell-mix when she first adopted her from a Jack Russell rescue group three years ago. Daisy loves the little toy, which has a fabric-covered squeaker in both ends, which are held together by a strip of what used to be colorful ribbon.

Woody first found the trifle at my sister’s house about three months ago, picking it out of a basket of bigger toys and tossing it in the air repeatedly. My sister and I were talking and he was enjoying himself. The next day, in the middle of the work day, with all three of my dogs lying quietly around my office, Woody started making the noise that signals an impending vomit. I leaped up, rushed him outside, and he promptly vomited up this toy, intact (though gooey).

Horrified, I called my sister and told her what just came out of Woody. She said, “Oh shoot, no wonder Daisy kept looking through all her toys last night! She knew it was missing!” I rinsed it off and tossed it in a pile of puppy laundry in the laundry room (I was fostering a litter of puppies at the time). It came out of the washer looking brand-new – and with the squeakers still squeaking! – so I gave it back to my sister.

A couple of weeks ago now, I brought Woody with me on a visit to the San Francisco Bay area, and he spent one night at my son’s house. He went counter-surfing there, and the next day, vomited up a candy wrapper and, uh oh, another squeaker. This time, one that he had chewed out of one of my son’s dog’s toys. It was sewn into a fabric pouch, and the whole thing was intact (and still capable of squeaking). My son and I shook our heads, and I resolved to make sure that Woody doesn’t have access to any more squeaky toys without supervision.

Last weekend, my husband and I went camping, and my sister volunteered to dog-sit Woody (my other dogs stayed home with my son-in-law in charge). She prepared for his arrival by putting all of her dogs’ most vulnerable toys, and the ones with squeakers, up in a cabinet where Woody couldn’t get them. Woody had a great time there, where Auntie Pam allows all sorts of things that aren’t allowed at home, like running full speed down the hall (she has carpet, I don’t) and leaping over the back of the couch, back and forth, with toys. (My husband would have a stroke.) And it seems the only thing he wrecked was the screen door he didn’t see closed and ran into at top speed, which promptly folded in two and bounced backward, along with Woody, out of the frame. (I’ve ordered her one of the curtain-type screen doors, which she had been saying she wanted to get anyway. Sorry!)

But a day after we returned, with me sitting at my laptop working at home, Woody started making that noise again. I rushed him outside, where he promptly vomited up Daisy’s trifle again! And a hunk of some other toy.

I called my sister. “Has Daisy been looking for something?” I asked.

“Um, maybe . . . she has been looking around a little, but I haven’t noticed anything missing!”

I told her that Woody just barfed up the trifle toy, and she was properly horrified. I hosed it off for the photo, but while we agreed that while it looks to be in renewable condition, we also agreed that it needs to be thrown away. Hopefully, Daisy will forget about it soon.

I’m grateful that for now, Woody’s digestive tract is doing the right thing in rejecting non-edible items that end up in there. But joking aside, I (and my sister) will be keeping a closer eye on what that dog has in his mouth (or is on the floor and under the beds), lest we have an entry into that contest.

Here’s a link to the 2015 edition; hoping not to be in the 2016! http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/2015Xraycontestwinners/


Comments (15)

I have a choc lab 5yrs old he is a couch Potato and he eats anything that he can reach. He goes to the vets and the first question they ask is what did he eat. He has passed most things like King kongs,(indistructsble - chewed in pieces) undies & sox. Which cost 3. At the store and 2,000. At the vets for one and a half socks. Good luck to all of us with dogs that eat anything.

Posted by: Junietoon | July 24, 2016 7:31 PM    Report this comment

We have two labs about 18 months old. The chocolate one loves to chew.....even destroyed her black kongs which are supposed to be really tough. She spits things out when she chews. Our little black princess loves to chew as well except she swallows most things she chews. She chews things into little bits and then swallows them.......which sometimes look really weird coming out the other end. I too would love to break the endless chewing. We give them lots of bones to chew so it is not as if they don't get the chance but they have ruined every toy I bought.......in less than 5 minutes.....

Posted by: Phant0000m | July 24, 2016 5:52 PM    Report this comment

My sweet pit-mix Tahnee (RIP 2013) the runt of a litter of 7 born in my house from her street rescued mother was a destroyer of stuffed toys and paper items. She always knew when a new toy arrived that it was hers. It would be unstuffed in minutes; consequently, all her toys had stitches and looked pathetic. She also had a taste for paper: tissues, bank statements, books and magazines; we'd come home and find her lounging on the bed--reading. Once after a yard sale, we were counting the booty leaving it momentarily unattended and she ate a $5 bill. I miss my princess and wish she were here to chew up anything she liked.

Posted by: Czerny | July 22, 2016 9:08 PM    Report this comment

We have Rat Terrier dogs. Born and bred to chase and kill mice, they will destroy anything that squeaks in seconds. We have learned to never let them play with toys without supervision. We have switched to solid balls over tennis balls (which they shred apart) knotted ropes and toys that hide treats that they have to work for. So far, so good :-)

Posted by: GGMarso | July 22, 2016 1:05 AM    Report this comment

Our 128 lb lab/golden loved stuffed toys but anilated them within minutes. When those unstuffed toys came out I bought him an 18 in. fox and gave it to him as we were finishing dinner one night. In one gulp, he swallowed the whole thing as my husband and I watched in disbelief! I immediately called my vet. Since it had just happened, he told me to put a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in his bowl to drink. He drank the two tablespoonful and threw up the huge mass within seconds! I couldn't believe I had never heard of this. We avoided major complications and surgery for our crazy best friend. Apparently it only works if you see it happen and can administer the hp within a short period of time. Gotta love our dogs!

Posted by: Woej | July 21, 2016 6:47 PM    Report this comment

My beloved GSD Dante (RIP 2010) swallowed anything fabric: socks, bandannas, gloves, panties, etc. I had to keep hydrogen peroxide handy at all times to induce vomiting and caught most of his misadventures. But he did have to have surgery ($1500) to remove 2 of my son-in-law's athletic socks that we didn't know he had swallowed. The most amazing thing he swallowed was a 4+ foot Ace bandage. I happened to notice it was not on the place I had put it (out of his reach, I thought) and couldn't find it anywhere. So into the bathroom and H2O2 down the gullet. He vomited up about a foot of it and I had to pull the remaining 3 feet out. I wish I could have seen him swallow it; did he slurp it down like spaghetti or wad it up? Now I have a JRT puppy (9 mos old) who is a champ at eating toadstools, found at his eye level underneath the shrubs in my back yard. And he's picky about his food! Fingers crossed he outgrows his mushroom jones.

Posted by: sayrahc | July 21, 2016 6:27 PM    Report this comment

Darn, I was hoping for some ideas to prevent and/or stop this behavior.

Posted by: Kaliki | July 21, 2016 11:55 AM    Report this comment

A few years ago, one of my bordercollies ate one of those long squeaky toy snakes that contains 16 squeakers. I noticed that the toy had disappeared, but thought one of the dogs might have buried it in the yard. About a week or more later, I noticed that one of my bordercollies was eating a lot of grass. She does this when her stomach is upset. The next morning, she vomited up two big handfuls of grass and when I pulled the pile apart, there were 8 (!!!!) squeakers in the pile. I then searched the yard and found several more piles of vomited grass with a total of 7 more squeakers. I also found many fabric pieces of the toy in her feces. If you do the math you will note that we were still missing one squeaker at this point. I took my dog to the vet, who did an X-ray and found a suspicious bulge at the beginning of her small intestine. She concluded that since the squeaker had not moved through her intestines and had also not been vomited up, it must be stuck. Abdominal surgery was the only feasible option at his point to retrieve the squeaker. During the surgery, she found the squeaker deeply imbedded in her intestine, covered with scar tissue and partially blocking the dogs's intestines. Almost $3000 later, we had the last of the 16 squeakers. The strange part of the story is that this dog was more than 10 years old at the time and had had many chew toys and squeaky toys over the years, but had never chewed up and swallowed anything! And she has not swallowed anything since, although of course we have removed all toys containing squeakers. We will always wonder what was it about this multi-squeaker toy that caused my dog to eat it?

Posted by: Bordercollie Mom | July 21, 2016 11:49 AM    Report this comment

I had a Greyhound years ago who, upon receiving a new stuffed toy, would immediately chew it open, remove the squeaker, and proceed to unstuff it. His record was 20 minutes from receipt to completion. After reading your blog and the comments, I realize now how lucky I was that he never consumed any of it!

Posted by: MJC | July 21, 2016 11:33 AM    Report this comment

My boxer/ridgeback mix Fergus swallowed 3 balls, all of which required major surgery. The second one was one of those soft rainbow colored balls with a face on it. When the surgeon cut open his stomach, it was face up smiling at him!

My boxer Greta decided to eat about 2 pounds of birdseed. Her insides were so filled with seeds that you couldn't see any of her digestive system on the x-ray, only seeds!

Posted by: DeniS | July 21, 2016 10:48 AM    Report this comment

Our new rescue, Bronx, likes to eat balls. Found this out after he basically ate the package. 2.5 year old Husky, Amstaf mix. I had to baby proof the house. Have also learned that his counter reach is amazing. Helped himself to a couple of steaks one day a few weeks ago. As they always say you don't train the dog you train yourself.

Posted by: Fencingmom | July 21, 2016 10:15 AM    Report this comment

My Labrador was awful about eating her toys. There were so few toys she liked enough to chew that she wouldn't eat. She had a couple of x-rays. But she mostly threw up what she couldn't digest so we never had to deal with a blockage. Our dog now doesn't eat anything inappropriate. It is so nice to be able to buy the cheap plush toys and have them last for months.

Posted by: mweidman | July 21, 2016 10:02 AM    Report this comment

I have a Great Dane puppy that I have had to take to the emergency hospital for rocks and socks eating. They took ex-rays saw large amounts of rocks and couple of socks. They gave the meds in the eyes and he vomited 36 rocks and 2 socks! This happened over 3 times and cost $1000. We have been on very close puppy patrol and any time he gets near a rock he gets to wear a basket mussel as a reminder that they are off limits. We also were keeping socks off floors and away from him thinking we were being very careful only to find out that he was going to our laundry hamper to find them. Ugh! This dog he is a challenge, but I will not give up on him. He is adorable with such a great personality.

Posted by: Peanut33 | July 21, 2016 9:42 AM    Report this comment

Our chocolate lab is an Inhaler specially when he was a bit younger, he is 3 now, He had ingested at least 5 pairs of thong undies, that he passed, a full pair of undies, he vomited up after 5 days. He also ate one of those huge furry socks, that we thought there is no way he could of ate that thing, when we were looking for it, but lo and behold, the vomit sounds were there and Ewww, smelled awful, but came out. Needless to say we hide all socks and undies in our home. All my kids have moved on their own in last couple years, so that helps a lot. He has been pretty good about things since he is getting older.

Posted by: Patticakes | July 21, 2016 9:40 AM    Report this comment

I have to bury corn cobs very deeply in my compost pile because otherwise my Malinois will dig them out and eat them. Not good.

Posted by: GSDLincoln | July 21, 2016 9:30 AM    Report this comment

New to Whole Dog Journal? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In