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Making Your House Dog Safe

By David G. Wolf, NGAP Director
Posted:June 23, 2017

Puppies especially like to eat whatever they can ingest. They will often not chew it and they will sometimes swallow many things that will get stuck. Ultimately we have to do exploratory surgery to remove the obstruction after an x-ray has been taken. In the past we have removed sponge, balls, a baby nursing nipple, toy ropes, and most recently, from a very large boxer pit-bull mix, we removed a trashcan full of plastic bags. In this instance, the stomach was solid.

Corn cob and nursing nipple from past exploratories

The longer foreign objects are in your body's internal organs, the organs will begin to decay or die. In addition to removing the foreign body, we have to remove intestines in some cases. When one dog swallowed the toy rope, 39 inches of intestine was removed. In the case of the nipple, some intestine was removed. Even part of the stomach may potentially have to be removed.

A necrotic spleen compared to a normal spleen (lbah.com)

The photos shown in this article are prime examples of why we try and dog proof houses to make them safe. The dog whose stomach was filled with trashcan was not a puppy, it was 10 years old.

Dr. Seymour doesn't know what will come next

Because of the surgery, it may live for additional yrs. If you see symptoms of animals not eating, feeling out of sorts, not being able to defecate, and throwing up new food, these are all indications that you should see your veterinarian. The longer you wait the greater the chance your dog will not survive. Being alert and aware of how your dog acts and behaves and noting variations may at least prompt a telephone call to your veterinarian. We recently had a greyhound that had chewed up some undergarments and because the owner was aware that it had happened, the dog was immediately brought in treated with activated charcoal. The dog threw up what it had just eaten and it was not necessary to do surgery. Being alert to those kinds of situations can save you a lot of money. Normally an x-ray will show us that there is a foreign body, but if it is plastic sometimes it will not show up.

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