“My dog ate my homework” – although an age-old excuse for students, it is still a relevant concern among pet owners when it comes to pets eating something they should not. Pets have interesting habits. Of course, this is why humans feel so compelled to share time and space with species so unlike our own: it never gets old! When a pet’s proclivities turn dangerous, interesting quickly morphs into frightening.
When a well-meaning Lab simply cannot stop eating your gym socks, for example, understanding the reason why can only get you so far. If your pet ate something unusual, it’s more important to know what to do.
If you know that your pet has a natural inclination to eat, say, an entire roll of dental floss, it’s best to keep all toiletries out of his or her reach. However, many pets get into things that simply defy human understanding and logic – even after previous exposure to specific items didn’t result in a feast.
Your pet explores and understands his or her world by smell and taste. What may start as innocent sniffing can quickly progress into full-fledged chewing and swallowing within minutes. Before you know it, your pet ate your homework.
Why it’s Dangerous
Aside from the fact that your pet could get very sick from whatever he or she consumed, problems in the GI tract are exceedingly common. Obstructions in the intestines can be very painful, and may even have damaging results. If your pet ate something weird, signs of discomfort may include:
- Constipation for 24 hours or more
- Pain or strain while defecating
- Obvious pain when you touch the abdomen
- Visually upset when you touch or pick up your pet
- Sudden behavioral changes
Your Pet Ate Something. Now What?
The aforementioned symptoms are indicative of a pet emergency, and we urge you to act quickly. Upon arrival at Clairmont Animal Hospital, we will physically evaluate your pet and conduct digital x-rays (among other possible tests). Depending on where the GI obstruction is located in your pet’s digestive tract, we may proceed with one or more of the following:
- Pain Management
- Intravenous hydration
- Induce vomiting (if the foreign body is still in the stomach)
- Perform endoscopic removal (via the mouth or rectum)
- Surgery (if the blockage has already moved into the intestines)
To prevent further damage, it’s unsafe to expect your pet to pass whatever it is that he or she ate. Foreign bodies can cut off blood supply to your pet’s GI system and result in organ and tissue damage.
The Good News
The realization that your pet ate something strange is never fun, but with your swift actions and immediate veterinary care, the outcome can be positive.