You’ve probably heard the old adage about curiosity and cats, but dogs are equally compelled (if not more so) to gobble up something unfamiliar. Sure, it’s possible that an entire roll of ingested dental floss could come out of your pet’s rear end intact, but it’s far more likely that he or she will endure a foreign body obstruction.
Gastrointestinal blockages can be painful or life-threatening, making surgery the only viable solution. Because it happens regularly, your friends at West Park Animal Hospital are determined to help before your pet eats something weird.
A Closer Look
Most pets aren’t incredibly discerning when it comes to sampling items. It’s not uncommon for pets to begin toying with an object in play, only to quickly graduate to licking, biting, or chewing. Pica is the term given to the consumption of non-food items (including feces). There are helpful solutions to deter this behavior, but what if you’re not around when your pet eats something weird?
You may not immediately realize that your pet got into something dangerous, as it can take up to a full day for your pet’s digestive system to work from beginning to end. Items “stuck” in your pet’s GI tract can cause pain and discomfort, but results can also be damaging. Please do not delay in contacting us if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Constipation for longer than 24 hours
- Pain or strain while defecating
- Obvious pain when you touch the abdomen
- Visually upset when you touch or pick up your pet (your pet is normally friendly and relaxed, but suddenly behaves aggressively or defensively)
What We Do
If you know – or suspect – that your pet has a GI blockage, we will confirm that with digital x-rays. Then we can treat in the following possible ways:
- Manage your pet’s pain
- Hydrate him or her with intravenous fluids
- 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)
As we mentioned, it’s critical not to hold off and wait for the blockage to come out on its own. Foreign bodies can cut off blood supply throughout the GI tract (including the stomach) and may result in more serious damage or tissue death.
Prevention is the Key
An approach similar to preventing a pet poisoning, the key is truly in limiting your pet’s access to dangerous items. Sure, you might think your pet would never have an interest in your gym socks (or light bulb or rubber ducky) – until he or she gobbles them down, that is.
Toys actually intended for pet use can also be perilous. Choose the right-sized toys for your pet, and ones that won’t break. When not in use, store these items in an area that is off-limits to your pet.
When Your Pet Eats Something Weird
Luckily, there are solutions when your pet eats something weird. Remember, time is of the essence; we are here for emergency care every day from 6pm until 1am, and remain happy to answer your questions over the phone.
The post Tasty or Treacherous? What to Do When Your Pet Eats Something Weird appeared first on West Park Animal Hospital Blog.