My Dog Ate What? – Signs That Your Dog Swallowed A Foreign Object And What To Do About It

Thanks to Guest Author Kris Hopkins for this article.

Dog eating a neck of lamb raw

Dog eating a neck of lamb raw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a dog owner, you are well aware of your dog’s curiosity and his tendency to try to ingest something he shouldn’t. Most dogs chew certain items, such as a bones, toys, sticks, stones, and rubber balls, and occasionally they will swallow foreign objects. Some of these objects may be so small that it will just pass through their system without causing any problems. Unfortunately, some objects may get stuck, putting your canine’s life in danger.

What should you do if your dog swallows a foreign object? How will you know that he swallowed it in the first place? Listed below are the signs you should watch out for and what you should do in such a situation.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Eaten A Foreign Object?

If your dog is exhibiting any of these warning signs, it may mean that he has eaten a foreign object or something toxic:

  • Vomiting or gagging
  • Diarrhea
  • Tenderness in abdomen
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Change in usual behavior, such as becoming aggressive when picked up or when handled around the abdomen
  • You see something hanging from your dog’s mouth or bottom. If you see a string or a thread, do not pull it because it might lead to more serious injury. Do not cut it either because it will be more difficult for the vet to treat your dog.

When these signs start to manifest, immediately bring your companion animal to the vet to learn more about his condition and how to treat it. You should not wait for the object to pass on its own because the longer the foreign object stays in your dog’s body, the more damage it will cause. For one, the foreign object can cut off the blood supply to the vital tissues. If that happens, your pet may suffer serious damage or shock. Lastly, do not induce vomiting without the veterinarians’ consent because the foreign object may cause as much damage or harm coming back out.

How Will The Vet Treat My Dog?

  1. The veterinarian will perform a careful physical examination. He will gather as much information about your dog as possible.
  2. The vet might ask you if you have an idea of what your dog ate and when he swallowed it.
  3. Abdominal x-rays and ultrasound will be necessary if a foreign object is suspected as the cause of the symptoms.
  4. You will also need to submit your dog’s blood and urine sample to be tested.
  5. If the foreign object needs to be removed, your dog will be given general anesthetic.

The vet will also consider some factors:

  • The location of the foreign object
  • The size, shape, and characteristics of the object
  • How long it stayed in your dog’s intestine or stomach
  • The health condition of your companion animal before swallowing the object.

If there is a good chance that the foreign object will simply pass on its own, the veterinarian will recommend hospitalization of your canine so that he can observe him closely. But in most cases, the vet usually recommends surgery to remove the object and to avoid further internal damage.

Sick Puppy

Sick Puppy (Photo credit: Won-Tolla)

Preventive Tips

You cannot possibly stop your dog from chewing or putting things in their mouth; however, you still need to keep an eye on what he is eating. Avoid giving him toys that are too small as this increases the risk of swallowing foreign objects. In addition, do not keep too many toys lying around. Lastly, you should properly dispose fruit stones, corn on the cobs, and bones. Make sure that your dog won’t be able to access them.

Citations:
  • Marlene Sanchez.”IMG_0001″. September 27, 2010. Online Image. Flickr. Dec 04, 2013

Featured images:

  • License: Creative Commons image source

The author, Kris Hopkins, promotes pet health and safety. In this article, she lists the signs that pet owners should watch out for and what they should do if their pet swallows a foreign object.