As all dog owners know, our dogs love to chew anything. As puppies, it seems as if chewing anything around the house is just a normal occurrence. Then, sometimes our puppies and/or older dogs swallow something that they shouldn’t and can be potentially dangerous. It’s crucial to find out immediately what your dog has ingested.
If you think your dog swallowed something, check to make sure he is breathing
When your dog swallows a large piece of bone or object, the most immediate danger is that it will become lodged in its throat and cause him to choke. First check to make sure that your dog’s breathing is normal before doing anything else. If he is struggling to breath, pawing at its mouth or seems frantic, hold open his or her mouth and look for the bone.
If you see any of the following, your dog probably swallowed something he shouldn’t:
Any sudden onset of choking that affects your dog’s breathing should be dealt with urgently. If your dog vomits or has diarrhea, or seeming digestive discomfort, your pup probably swallowed something. Look around to see if you can find out what toy or parts of a toy are and items are still around. You can then figure out what your poor dog might have swallowed to give your veterinarian a point of reference.
Your dog starts to choke on something
If your dog is choking on something, the best thing you can do is try to help your dog immediately. See our article on choking. Choking for big dogs and small dogs are handled differently. Just as in humans, the goal is to get it out of your dog’s system immediately.
If your dog isn’t choking, check your dog’s mouth
Check your dog’s mouth for foreign objects that may be lodged there and, only if very easily accomplished without injury to yourself or your dog, remove them. If you can see a thread, string, or another form of cord hanging from the dog’s mouth, do not pull it or cut it. If you pull it, you can injure your dog’s throat or esophagus, or pull out his or her teeth.
Take your dog to the vet immediately
In all cases, call your veterinarian immediately for advice as to the next steps required. These will vary depending on what your dog swallowed, the time of ingestion and the symptoms that your dog is currently showing. If need be, your vet will have you make an appointment to investigate.
Treatment for your dog
Treating a dog that has accidentally swallowed an object can vary widely from simply plucking the object from the throat while sedated to intestinal surgery that may require the removal of several feet of bowel. The potential severity of a corn stock or even a sock can be serious and will need to be removed.
How to prevent your dog from swallowing unwanted items
Although it’s almost impossible to stop our dogs from putting things in their mouth, try to keep an eye on what they are chewing when you can. Make sure to avoid leaving out too many toys that they could potentially swallow as well as chew sticks that are too chewed and can easily be swallowed. Our human items, such as socks and underwear, can also be a danger for chew-prone dogs so put them away and out of your dog’s sight!
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