Sponsored post from Everhart Veterinary Hospital:
“Dogs eat the darnedest things”
Dogs have swallowed rubber ducks, underwear, knives, light bulbs, baited hooks, skewers of meat (yes, skewer and all) — I could go on and on.
That urge to chew and swallow pretty much anything in the hope that it might be tasty is the cause of many a visit to the veterinarian. Some foreign bodies pass through the canine gastrointestinal tract unnoticed (unless you happen to spot them when they emerge). But when they get stuck, they can cause big problems.
Vomiting or regurgitation may be the first clues that your dog may have an obstruction. In case you didn’t know, vomiting and regurgitation are two different things. Vomiting involves abdominal heaving and may suggest that the stomach or small intestine is obstructed. Regurgitation, on the other hand, is when food comes right back up after the dog tries to swallow it. That’s usually what happens when a foreign body obstructs the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach).
Lack of appetite, diarrhea seems depressed, lethargic or out of sorts for no particular reason. Gagging, coughing and pawing at the mouth or neck can signal that something is stuck in the esophagus. If your dog has a habit of eating things he shouldn’t and shows any of these signs, it’s a good idea to take him to the veterinarian to check for an obstruction.
Depending on the physical exam, X-rays and the type of object most likely swallowed, your veterinarian may recommend a wait-and-see approach for a day or two, further diagnostic testing to gain more information or immediate surgery to remove whatever your dog has consumed.
Dogs at Risk
I think it’s safe to say that Labrador retrievers take the cake when it comes to downing foreign objects. Bernese Mountain Dogs and Bloodhounds have a reputation, too. Interestingly, West Highland White Terriers and other terrier breeds seem to be prone to esophageal obstructions. But of course, any dog can swallow something he shouldn’t and suffer an obstruction.
Youth is another common denominator. Young Dogs may be more likely to chew on and swallow foreign objects. Sometimes wisdom comes with age, and dogs learn not to do that, but plenty of dogs continue If you have a repeat offender, you will need to be diligent about keeping items he might want to swallow out of reach. This is a situation where it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.
Robert Z. Goodman DVM
Everhart Veterinary Hospital