The recent addition to our family, Ember, has recently shown an occasional interest in chewing plastic. She has only been with us since May 2012; we added her to our family when she was almost eight years old. This chewing habit is a new development over the last three weeks. It is completely random, and, thank goodness, she only seems to do so maybe once a week.
The pattern is the same every time. She walks over to me crunching some object. I tell her to drop it and she is wonderful and does. I can bet good money that the item is plastic. However, the other day she proved me wrong and dropped a small metal spring at my feet. My guess is that it had fallen off our screen door.
Other times I have been “gifted” with a plastic bread tag, a milk jug lid, and, at the off leash park, a key fob from someone’s car! The key fob incident was the first time that she showed this trait. For days I worried whether a key had been attached to the fob. Yet, nothing “presented” in her poop and she doesn’t seem to have experienced any discomfort on her end.
I hear stories constantly at the off leash park of dogs that swallow the unimaginable. One dog even swallowed an acorn, which unfortunately did not pass through his stomach. Intervention from a vet was required. Another friend of mine owned a boxer pup that swallowed a small ball by accident. The solution also involved a vet and two thousand dollars. As a result, they removed all balls from their household!
When I first started walking dogs a client had taken on a two year old retriever as their new family pet. Cailley was a challenge for months, chewing and swallowing a long list of household items. Shoes and TV remotes were a favorite, as well as an occasional phone or tech device. I always wondered if she chose things with wonderful smells on them. Since our hands and fingers touch food, I believe that the transfer of scent can be too tempting.
On the other hand, the reasons behind Cailley’s chewing may have been her transition to a new home, boredom or attention seeking. She is so loved by her owners that this spell ceased and now she is mostly attracted only to Kleenex (a retriever specialty to eat).
My funniest tale of a dog swallowing something involves Cailley. I was walking her one day and was “on alert” for surprises in her poop; I was often able to forewarn her owner of a missing item that way. I literally did a double take when something bright pink emerged in her deposit. When I went to pick it up, I laughed out loud. She had passed an entire package of Swedish Berries. Halloween was days before and I could even see the writing on the package.
I remember our Chocolate Labrador, Chip, years ago had a tummy upset for a few days. It was very mysterious to our family. He would only be sick to his stomach first thing every morning before eating. It was always the horrible colour bile is, a rather neon yellow-green. Once he was fed, all was well until the next day.
I made an appointment at our vet, and literally one hour before his appointment he barfed up half a corn cob! We had visited my parent’s farm about a week before. Corn cobs were thrown over a fence once we were finished eating them. We always made sure Chip was out of site before performing this task. I guess the smell drew him in and his poor stomach could not digest the cob. The vet said it presents classically with dogs this way if a large object has been swallowed. When the stomach is full a dog experiences less and/or no discomfort, yet, once their stomach is empty, it tries it’s best to bring it up.
My childhood Labrador, Ben, swallowed half a horse hoof one summer. This was incredibly passed with my assistance,Yuck! It had not been picked up after my horse was shod. Labradors sure have iron guts and present challenges with their foodie DNA.
Additionally, a friend’s small dog ate part of an Easter chocolate bunny. Thankfully the cheaper chocolate was not quite real chocolate, so it was a bit less harmful with less cocoa and caffeine. For hours he was sick to his stomach, emanating a chocolate aroma. He had to be discouraged from round two – I guess he didn’t learn his lesson!
Check out this link of crazy things dogs have swallowed, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/dog-ate-crazy-canine-x-rays-gallery-1.24025. The x-rays are incredible!
I guess what we need to know is that, if you have a dog with a tendency to pick up or swallow things, be vigilant! Do a sweep of your house before heading out. Is there anything on a table top at nose level or on the floors? Closing doors to rooms that require a cleanup is a temporary solution to ward off temptation. I know we’re going to be applying these ideas to our household with Ember’s new habit!
These dogs are quick, savvy and are well loved. We want them around for years to come and without extra huge, unnecessary vet bills. Have you ever experienced similar situations with your dog? Please share for other readers.
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