Dogs are mischievous little devils that get into all sorts of trouble. Heavy chewers and dogs with big appetites eat things that can be toxic to them, whether it’s food or not. Other, non-toxic items won’t pass easily and may require surgery to remove. These are some of the most common harmful items dogs consume, and what to do when it happens.
#1 – Bones
Cooked bones can break down into sharp shards that can cut and damage the gastrointestinal tract. When swallowed whole they can become a choking hazard. Some dogs can even swallow raw marrow bones whole. Large bones pose the threat of obstruction. If you think your dog has swallowed a large bone that won’t pass, make an appointment to see your veterinarian. Vomiting, diarrhea or gas and discomfort, are signs that something is stuck inside that needs to be surgically removed.
#2 – Socks
Dogs love stinky socks and eating them can certainly be a great way to cause an obstruction. Keeping socks away from dogs and puppies is the best way to prevent ingestion. If you do think your dog has eaten a sock it’s probably best to make an appointment with your veterinarian. The longer an object stays in the stomach or intestines as an obstruction, the more damaging and deadly it is.
#3 – Balls
It’s important that the ball you choose for your dog is large enough that he can’t swallow it whole. It’s best to make sure it can’t get past his back molars, which can also pose a choking hazard. But if your dog has swallowed an entire ball, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian right away. It’s nearly impossible for a ball to pass through the digestive tract on it’s own. Obstructions can be very deadly.
#4 – Rocks
Some dogs like to eat rocks and they, too, can lead to gastrointestinal obstructions. Whether your dog eats one large rock or a handful of small ones, be sure to contact your veterinarian to have an abdominal X-ray done. From the radiograph, your veterinarian will likely to be able to determine if they need to surgically remove the rocks or if they’ll pass on their own.
#5 – Toys
Choosing the right toys for your dog is very important, especially for heavy chewers. Any kind of toy can be broken down into pieces your dog is able to swallow and not only can your dog choke on these pieces, they can also cause a gastrointestinal obstruction. If you think your dog has swallowed a piece of toy, or especially a whole toy, be sure to check with your veterinarian to make sure it doesn’t need to be surgically removed.
#6 – Pantyhose
Pantyhose is something dogs and puppies love to chew on, although we’ll never quite understand why. Unfortunately, pantyhose can be difficult to swallow and rolls up into large balls that can cause obstruction. Same as with every other object, check with your veterinarian if your dog swallows pantyhose.
#7 – Underwear
While we don’t like to admit it, most dog owners are aware that dogs and puppies love to chew on our underwear. Not only is this particularly gross, it’s dangerous as it can cause obstructions that need to be surgically removed. However embarrassing, if your dog has eaten underwear it’s important to check with your veterinarian – and be honest about what your dog ate!
#8 – Corn Cobs
Dogs are food lovers and have a sneaky way of getting into our leftovers. One of the worst things a dog can pull out of the trash or off your plate when you aren’t looking is a corn cob. Corn cobs easily become an obstruction and need to be surgically removed, so if you think your dog may have gotten a hold of any, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
#9 – Hair Ties
Hair ties are a dangerous item to leave around dogs, because they can easily damage the digestive tract or even choke your pup. While one hair tie might not be the end of the world, some dogs will eat any amount they can find. This can develop an immediate obstruction or even turn into one over time if your dog has unlimited access. Be sure to check with your veterinarian if you notice your dog eats even one hair tie, because chances are they may have more stuck inside them.
#10 – Sticks
Sticks are a very old-fashioned dog toy and it’s probably because they’re a little bit dangerous. Sticks can break apart into sharp pieces that can stab and cut your dog’s mouth and digestive tract, but large pieces can cause obstruction, needing to be surgically removed.