My Dog Ate What?!

Jager, my German Wire Hair Pointer, gets into everything!  Just last week I left the house for only a few minutes, confining Jager to the kitchen behind a baby gate. He soon taught me that I should have put him in his kennel.  When I got home I found two to three shredded kitchen towels on the floor along with  half of a Menchies Yogurt plastic spoon.  Ugh….and so the waiting game begins. 

If you see or suspect your pet has ingested a foreign body (rock, toy, needle, string, or in my case, kitchen towel and plastic spoon) the first step is to call you veterinarian for consultation.  In some cases we may recommend close monitoring at home for vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or loss of appetite.  Other instances may require examination of your pet along with radiographs or induced vomiting.

Cats  love to play with string and sometimes they swallow  it.  It is important that even if you can see the string in your kitty’s mouth, do not try to pull it out.  Your cat may be stressed and bite you in your attempt to help him or her, but more importantly you could cause laceration(s) to the esophagus.  Your veterinarian will be much better equipped to deal with this situation.

It is amazing what your pet will see as a nice yummy snack.  If you think your pet has swallowed something they shouldn't have, it is important to be proactive.  Many times we can tell you over the phone if you need to be worried, or if it’s OK to monitor your pet or induce vomiting yourself by giving hydrogen peroxide.  Sometimes you will need to bring your pet into the clinic as soon as possible.  Time is important!  Ideally we want to induce vomiting within 30 minutes of ingestion while the substance is still in the stomach.   Further in-clinic care could include administration of fluids either intravenously or subcutaneously, gastric lavage, administration of activated charcoal and blood  tests.  If at all possible, bring the bag, box, or bottle that contained the potential toxin.  The more information we have, the easier it will be to appropriately treat your pet. 

It never ceases to amaze me what dogs and cats will find appetizing if given the chance.  From keys, to sewing needles, slug bait, to a bottle of ibuprofen, if you can imagine it, a furry four-legged friend has tried to swallow it.  If you see or suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn't, don’t panic, call your veterinarian.  Whether it is simple at-home monitoring or your pet needs to be seen, your veterinary staff can walk you through the process of making sure your pet’s needs are met.  The most important take-home message is that time matters.   Quick action can make a big difference in the outcome for your pet.

Can you guess what this patient ate?