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.

Top Questions About Canine Heartworms

Thanks to Guest Author Michele Bowie for this article.

Chihuahua short hair (puppy)

Chihuahua short hair (puppy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

If you have recently adopted a pet dog, you might already be enjoying the pleasures of owning one: exceptional cuteness, an incurable curiosity, and a boatload of energy. Puppies melt hearts daily, and owning one is just about one of the greatest treasures on earth. However, adopting a puppy comes with a price, and that price is responsibility. As a part of your responsibility to take care of your favorite four-legged friend, you are required to take care of his or her physical health. Whether you take your new puppy to the vet or purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available, you will find yourself taking on new endeavors in an effort to keep your new friend physically safe.

What are some common health issues your puppy can face?

One of the more obvious health issues your new puppy might experience would be genetic; for example, poodles are prone to receive cataracts. Regardless of whether or not you have chosen a tiny Chihuahua puppy or a little golden retriever as the newest addition to your family, heartworms is a major health consideration to watch out for. Unfortunately, heartworms are very prominent in dogs, causing them to be much more susceptible to the infection. According to the American Heartworm Society, dogs are considered the definitive host when it comes to heartworms.

How do dogs get heartworms?

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) m...

Picture of a heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) microfilaria taken through a microscope at 400x. Taken by Joel Mills on April 21, 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One answer: mosquitoes. If a mosquito is carrying the heartworm larvae and bites a dog, the infection is immediately transmitted. When the larvae grow, they develop and migrate, and then produce their offspring (known as microfilariae). These microfilariae enter the bloodstream.

Aedes albopictus - Tiger mosquito

Aedes albopictus – Tiger mosquito (Photo credit: Camponotus Vagus)

How can I prevent my dog from receiving heartworms?

There are heartworm options available, such as:

  • Injections
  • Monthly pills
  • Topical treatments

Remember, preventing the actual disease is fundamental. After you have your puppy settled into your home, you should ensure to keep him or her safe from any harm. It’s a good idea to purchase Heartgard for dogs at the best price available so that your puppy can be safe and protected at once.

What are the symptoms of heartworms?

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: stefernie)

Although a blood test is the most definite answer you can receive, here are a few signs your puppy might have received heartworms:

  • Lack of eating/inability to eat
  • Loss of energy and lethargy
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • An abrupt collapse
  • A bulging chest
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Seizures
  • Cough

If your puppy has had any of the above symptoms, take him to the vet immediately.

My dog has heartworms—how can I treat it?

There is an injection treatment for heartworms, but the overall cost can be up to $1,000. It’s much better to prevent heartworms in the first place with Heartgard or by keeping your dog out of mosquito-infested areas.

Your puppy will bring you many days of joy and tons of laughter throughout the course of your lives, but don’t forget that preventing heartworms is a crucial step in first adopting your new friend. Make sure to prolong his or her life with a good heartworm preventative so your cute little puppy can grow old with you.

Michele Bowie is the owner of an adorable Chihuahua named Tina. She lives in Philadelphia, PA and works in a vet’s office. She enjoys writing in her spare time.

Want 2 Pet Dogs? Here’s 4 Breeds That Get Along Well Together

Thanks to guest Author Neil Kilgore for this article.

 

English: A Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ...

English: A Ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Puppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many families find that having two dogs is actually better than having one. This is because the two are companions when the humans are gone to their various activities. But it is important that you carefully combine the two dogs because you really want them to care more about your family than they do about each other. Whole Dog Journal has a good discussion of that dynamic here.

Choosing the breed of your pets

A big factor in having two dogs is the compatibility of their breed. Among the top breeds known to get along with other dogs, here are four to consider:

  1. Golden Retriever–the most popular dog in the US, friendly and calm but loving activity, weighing 55 to 75 pounds when full grown
  2. Bernese Mountain Dog–a gentle giant weighing 70 to 115 pounds at maturity, excellent with children and other pets but the size difference can cause problems
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel–the classic lap dog at 13 to 18 pounds, very dependent upon companionship and eager to please
  4. Bichon Frise–tiny at 7 to 12 pounds, tolerant and friendly

The Golden Retriever and Bernese Mountain Dog are larger breeds known for their amiable personalities. The King Charles Spaniel and Bichon Frise are smaller dogs that are equally gentle. It makes sense to avoid aggressive or highly territorial breeds when you are combining your household pack, because the pack dynamic is unavoidable. Dogs who are naturally inclined to be laid back about things make the adjustments easier.

A male Golden Retriever named Tucker.

A male Golden Retriever named Tucker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Planning for your pets

But there is more to a multi-dog household than breed compatibility. Veterinary Partner suggests that combining a male of larger breed with a female of smaller breed will use the natural inhibitions of aggressive behavior from male to female and large to small in your favor. There will be adjustments as each member of the pack finds their place; you and your household members will be considered members of that pack so be diligent to stay “alpha”. It is extremely important that you work with each dog individually and know not only the general breed characteristics but the personality of your own pets.

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A multi-pet household is common and most owners will tell you that the extra investment in time and training is well worth it. Take the time to do research on the animals you are considering and make your choice with an eye on the future: your dogs will be with your family for a long time. Think about who will be in the home at the end of your pet’s natural lifespan and be aware of each breed’s tendency toward specific health problems.

With two or more dogs, your vet expenses will be at least double. Knowing what to expect with the breed you choose will help you deal proactively with potential problems. Owners of multiple combinations in these breeds; the Golden Retriever, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, and the Bichon Frise, are all pleased with their choice and glad to have more than one canine companion.

 

Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.

Doggy Emergencies – 4 Common Reasons To Call Your Vet

Thanks to Guest Author Mila Joseph for this article.

No matter how well we look after our pets, sometimes they end up suffering from the effects of a life threatening health problem. Some problems are easily treated, but others require emergency intervention from a veterinarian. Pet emergencies come in all shapes and sizes, but here are a few of the most common reasons for an out of hours visit to the vet.

1. Eating the Wrong Foods

A lot of people treat their canine best friend as another human. This is fatal. Dogs are not people and should not be treated as such. They can’t eat the same food as us without suffering from side effects because their digestive systems are not designed to cope with the things we like to eat. Chocolate is particularly dangerous to dogs, so never feed your pet chocolate unless it is a pet-friendly variety. Other foods your dog should never eat are grapes and raisins.

2. Poisoning

Aside from poisonous foods, dogs are also susceptible to ingesting other types of poison. Rodent poisons are sometimes attractive to dogs, especially the types of dogs who will eat anything. Symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Bleeding from the nose and mouth

To prevent a poisoning incident, never put rat poison down where a dog may find it, and if you suspect your dog may have ingested rodent poison take him to the vet immediately.

3. Swallowing Foreign Objects

Some dogs find it impossible to distinguish between food and foreign objects. This means a lone sock or a plastic ball is fair game to a Labrador with a penchant for chewing. The trouble is a lot of dogs end up in the emergency room having ingested a totally inappropriate object. Small objects can often pass straight through, but larger or awkward objects get stuck and end up causing a potentially fatal intestinal blockage. Symptoms include:

  • Distended abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Discomfort
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea

4. Allergic Reaction

Dogs are just as susceptible to allergic reactions as humans, so if a bee stings your pet or he comes into contact with some other allergen, he may go into anaphylactic shock, which is a life threatening allergic reaction. Dogs often develop allergies over time, so be vigilant to the symptoms, which may include:

  • Itchy/runny eyes
  • Excessive scratching
  • Sneezing
  • Scabby/itchy skin

If a dog has allergies to pollen and dust, he is likely to be allergic to an insect sting or bite. And if the worst happens and he has a massive allergic reaction to an allergenic substance, he will need to be taken to the emergency room immediately.

Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to figure out what is wrong with your pet when his symptoms are not clear-cut. If in doubt, you should always contact a vet for advice, and if you suspect your dog has eaten something he shouldn’t have (particularly if he may have ingested human medication), make sure you give your vet as much information as possible.

The author of this post is Mila Joseph, an employee at Pleasant Plains, a leading veterinary hospital in New York. Mila is also an animal rights activist and spends her weekends hiking with her friends.

6 Reasons Your Next Pet Should Be an Adopted One

Thanks to Live In Nanny for this article.

 

Perhaps one of the most defining characteristics of humanity is our willingness — and passion — for caring for animals. Having a pet enriches our lives, both for the animal and for the caretaker. People who share their homes and their lives with their pets know that unconditional love, both given and received, enhances our life experience. While there is nothing inherently wrong with having a pedigreed pet, more and more animal lovers are discovering that a pet adoption from a shelter or rescue organization is a viable and rewarding choice. Compiled here are six solid reasons why you should consider adopting your next pet.

 

Adopt a pet, save a life. 

 

English: Animal Rescue

English: Animal Rescue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has published estimates showing that 6-8 million dogs and cats enter shelters annually. Nearly half of them are euthanized. Though these figures are appalling, they represent great strides in progress. Just 40 years ago, HSUS records showed that American shelters euthanized 12-20 million dogs and cats. At that time, there were 67 million pets in homes. Now it is estimated that 2.7 million cats and dogs in shelters are euthanized annually — approximately 3% of the 135 million pets in homes in this country. By adopting your next pet, you can help to reduce the number of pets killed by euthanasia to zero. Learn more at the Humane Society’s site.

 

Pets are good for kids.

Both dogs and cats are a very healthy part of the lives of millions of children, and studies by child psychologists, doctors and pet trainers conclude that having a pet aids in the development and social well-being of a child. Immune systems develop faster when kids are raised in homes with pets, and they tend to have fewer incidences of common colds and allergies. Kids with dogs also spend more time outside playing with their pets, which reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety, and may even help lower blood pressure. As children learn to feed and care for their companions, they are encouraged to become more responsible and they show better impulse control, higher self-esteem and better interactive social skills. Parents report that sharing the love and care of animals forges better sibling bonds, too.

 

No-kill shelters need your help.

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at th...

Photo of a dog behind a chain-link fence at the Paws and More No Kill Animal Shelter in Washington, Iowa. I took this picture. This looks just like my dog Yuma. He was from a shelter in Evanston Il. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Choosing a dog or cat from a no-kill shelter allows that shelter to take in a new animal. Most animal sanctuaries are non-profit organizations that survive on the goodwill of pet lovers, Good Samaritans and volunteers who staff these facilities. As their population increases, each life-sustaining shelter faces the costs of expansion, greater food and medical expenses and, often, limited resources. As the population of pets that are not adopted ages, they must care for more special-needs pets that must be cared for until the end of their natural lives.

 

If you are adopting a new pet for a child, choosing a shelter animal can open a young person’s eyes to the plight of homeless pets. In addition to teaching the child compassion and responsibility, sharing in the decision to provide a home for a pet that might otherwise be caged for life is a character-building and rewarding experience. The Shelter Pet Project is a great starting place.

 

No housebreaking required.

The majority of animals in shelters are housebroken or litter box trained, and more mature dogs know basic obedience commands. Many shelters have dedicated staffs that work with animals to overcome training or behavioral issues. When you adopt a pet from one of these organizations, you will know what to expect from your dog or cat when you bring your new pet home. The Best Friends Animal Society is a great resource for learning more about shelter animals.

 

Adopted pets are healthier than you think.

English: Galveston Island, TX, September 17, 2...

English: Galveston Island, TX, September 17, 2088 — Dogs displaced by Hurricane Ike are sheltered at the local center set up by the Humane Society. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Animal shelters have happy, healthy animals waiting for someone to take them home. Not only do most shelters vaccinate, spay or neuter animals before adoption, they also screen animals for specific temperaments and behaviors to ensure you get a pet that fits your lifestyle. A common misconception is that animals are in shelters because they were abused or have behavioral issues.

 

Animals enter shelters because of circumstances beyond their control. A new baby, death in the family, divorce, illness or a move that excludes the pets are common reasons for pet abandonment. Unfortunately, many animals are simply discarded by pet owners who should never have had a pet in the first place. Most shelter dogs and cats are healthy, affectionate animals. According to the ASPCA, less than one in 100 people who adopt a pet from a shelter are dissatisfied.

 

Shelter animals are a bargain.

Adoption fees at most shelters are very reasonable — usually between $50 and $250 —making your decision to adopt a pet a financially smart one. Buying a pet from a pet store or breeder can cost thousands of dollars, and the costs just begin there. Shelter animals are spayed or neutered before adoption, so you immediately save the cost of surgery. Physical examinations and vaccinations are routine, and some shelters microchip animals, too.

Choose your pet carefully, taking into consideration your personal lifestyle, the ages of your family members, the behavioral characteristics of the breed, and the amount of care and maintenance your new pet will require. A good choice will bring you immeasurable joy and happiness, and you’ve already made a great choice if you choose to adopt a pet from a shelter.