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First Aid Guide to Dogs Swallowed Objects

by | Nov 22, 2021 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Emergency Help | 75 comments

First Aid Guide to Dogs Swallowed Objects

Swallowed objects kill pets every day. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be around the corner, think about potential hazards to avoid. Eating foreign objects often causes only minor problems in dogs and cats. In the best cases, the swallowed cat toy or sock (yes, Bravo did that more than once!) gets vomited up or passes in the stool. However, it’s important to recognize swallowed objects’ symptoms, and how you can save your pet. Refer to this article on why dogs suck objects.

dog chewing stickStick Danger

We had a scare last summer when the new pup, Shadow, became enamored of sticks. He enticed his big buddy Bravo (100+ pounds at the time) to play tug. While the little twigs Shadow tooth-pruned weren’t any problem, Bravo chomped a 1/2-inch stick, and got the piece lodged between his teeth across the roof of his mouth! Thankfully, he came to me and allowed me to open his mouth and pry it out. Ouch! and dangerous!

swallowed objects

Anything is fair game to puppies. These Dalmatian pups could chew off and swallow pieces of the shoes or (worse!) swallow the string!

Dogs explore their world by mouthing, tasting, and chewing, and as a result, swallowed objects get them into trouble. Puppies may gulp some things accidentally when a piece of a toy breaks off. Other dangerous objects prove too tempting–used tampons, and even grease-smeared foil prove irresistible to puppies who troll the wastebaskets for scraps. Foreign body obstruction in puppies can be a medical emergency that costs you money and could cost your puppy his life.

choking swallowed objects

Naughty german shorthair pointer puppy chewing on a sock.

Common Swallowed Objects

Veterinary pet insurance claims adjusters ranked the top ten most common items surgically removed from pets’ gastrointestinal tracts. The most common item is socks, followed by underwear, pantyhose, rocks, balls, chew toys, corn cobs, bones, hair ties/ribbons, and sticks. Most items tend to be owner-scented objects, but the list doesn’t stop there.

Whole toys or parts of toys, jewelry, coins, pins, erasers, and paper clips are often swallowed. String, thread (with or without the needle), fishing hooks and lines, Christmas tree tinsel, and yarn are extremely dangerous. String from turkey roasts is appealing so watch out for those holiday food hazards. And for puppies able to crunch up the object, pieces of wood or bone prove hazardous. Even too much of a rawhide chew can stop up his innards. Puppies may even eat rocks.

first aid swallowed objectsFirst Aid for Swallowed Objects

Within Two Hours

swallowed objects first aid

Find life-saving help in this book that I pray you’ll never need!

  • If they swallowed the item within two hours, it’s probably still in the stomach. If the object isn’t sharp, feed your pet a small meal first, and then induce vomiting. The food helps cushion the object and protect the tummy. Also, pets vomit more easily if the stomach is full. If he doesn’t vomit, you’ll need to see a veterinarian.
  • For sharp objects go to the vet immediately. It could cause as much damage coming back up if the puppy vomits.

AFTER Two Hours

  • After two hours, the object will have passed into the intestines and vomiting won’t help. Most objects small enough to move through the digestive system pass with the feces and cause no problems. Feed a bulky meal of dry food to cushion stones or other heavy objects and help them move on out. Food also turns on the digestive juices, which can help soften wads of rawhide treats, so they pass more readily. As long as it is small enough, objects pass harmlessly through the body and end up on the lawn. Monitor your puppy’s productivity. Use a disposable popsicle stick or plastic knife to chop up and search through the puppy droppings for the object.
  • The exception to allowing small objects to pass are swallowed metal objects like coins or batteries. DON’T WAIT, get your puppy seen immediately. Stomach acids interact with these metal objects and cause zinc or lead poisoning. String is another dangerous object that frequently affects cats and kittens, and when swallowed it requires you to seek professional help.
  • If you’ve seen the pet swallow something he shouldn’t but it doesn’t pass, or the puppy begins vomiting, retching without result, won’t eat, looks or behaves distressed, or repeatedly coughs, seek help immediately. Any object, even tiny ones, potentially may lodge in and block the intestinal tract.

Symptoms Of Swallowed Objects

Diagnosis can be based on seeing the pet swallow something or based on symptoms. It’s confirmed by X-rays or other diagnostics like an endoscope to determine the exact location and size of the blockage, and sometimes to identify the object itself. Specific signs depend on where the blockage is located and the type of object.

  • An object caught in the stomach or intestines causes vomiting, which may come and go for days or weeks if the blockage is not complete and food can pass around it.
  • A complete blockage is a medical emergency that results in a bloated, painful stomach with sudden, constant vomiting. The dog refuses food and immediately throws up anything she drinks.
  • Signs of zinc toxicity (from coins) include pale gums, bloody urine, jaundice—a yellow tinge to the whites of the eyes or inside the ears—along with vomitingdiarrhea, and refusal to eat.
  • Lead poisoning from batteries can also cause teeth grinding, seizures and hyperactivity, loss of appetite and vomiting.
  • Copper poisoning has similar signs plus a swollen tummy.
  • String-type articles often catch between the teeth or wrap around the base of the tongue in the mouth, with the rest swallowed.

swallowed objects

WARNING ABOUT SWALLOWED STRING!

Cats often become victims of swallowed string or thread after playing with it. Once they start swallowing, they can’t stop. Never pull on the visible end of the string–either out the mouth or hanging out the puppy’s rectum. String and thread are often attached to a needle or fishhook that’s embedded in tissue further down the digestive tract. Pulling the string at your end could further injure the intestines, and kill the cat or dog.

Intestines propel food using muscle contractions called peristalsis that move through the entire length of the intestine (kind of like an earthworm) to help push the contents through.

But when a foreign object like a string catches at one end, the intestine literally “gathers” itself like fabric on a thread, resulting in a kind of accordion formation. The result is sudden severe vomiting and diarrhea, and rapid dehydration. Your veterinarian should evaluate any blockage situation to determine the best course of treatment. Surgery is often necessary to remove the obstruction.

first aid pet insuranceVeterinary Treatment for Swallowed Objects

The blockage results in irreparable damage if not quickly addressed. Sharp objects may slice or puncture the bowel. Obstruction may interfere with blood flow to the organs and cause bowel tissue to die. Peritonitis is the result in either case and usually kills the victim.

The doctor removes the object once located with an endoscope down the puppy’s throat or the other direction up through his rectum, or with surgery. Any internal damage is repaired. If surgery can correct the problem before peritonitis sets in, most puppies fully recover. Should tissue die, the damaged sections of the intestine may be removed, and the living portions of the bowel reattached; these puppies typically have a good prognosis.

Dog dental treats benefit tooth health

Magic as puppy chewing dental treat.

Preventing Problems

Most puppies outgrow indiscriminate munching, but dogs and cats of all ages may be affected. The best course is preventing your dog from swallowing dangerous items. Choose pet-safe toys or dog chews like Bully Sticks that can’t be chewed into tiny pieces and supervise object play. Anything a child would put in his mouth is fair game for puppies. Puppy-proof your home by thinking like your dog, so that you won’t be caught off guard when your dog eats the rubber bumpers off the door stops.

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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!

 

 

75 Comments

  1. tammy

    hello i am very worried my saluki puppy (4 months ) had decided to nick myunderwear yesterday morning as i tried to remove from her mouth she had literally swallowed them ive looked through her poo but but they are not there ….i dont know how to induce vommitng she hasnt had the urge to be sick nor cough and she had a poo too. her poop seems a little softer than normal what do i do/ can i do ?

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Tammy,

      For some reason, may dogs love socks and underwear! If it’s been more than 2 hours, vomiting won’t bring it up. In most cases, foreign objects pass in the stool in 24 to 72 hours, so the fabric may still be in transit. As long as she’s not feeling in distress, you may be able to wait it out — a Saluki pup has some good size so it may be okay. But I’d still call the veterinarian and ask for specific advice, too. We’ve had the same issue with our big pup lately, stealing socks. It turns us into more vigilant pet parents, good luck!

  2. Carol Helfrich

    My dog is not eating or drinking since last night which is abnormal and he does not feel good. I have a tiny piece of rubber that covers a usb port on my phone (maybe 1/4″ long x 1/30″w) he vomited a very small (smaller than and eraser head) piece of the rubber and I am very concerned. Should I panic or wait a day or two?. A new pet owner of a rescue dog soon to be three years old (he survived the boarder nightmare and escaped Mexico.)

    • Amy Shojai

      Call your vet and ask. The size means it probably will pass, and it’s too late to induce vomiting. If he shows pain (hunched back) or tries to vomit or eliminate without success, then go to the emergency vet.

  3. Millie Hue

    Thanks for pointing out that the pup must be taken the vets immediately when the objects have a sharp part. I guess I will seek a vet now since the object he swallowed might have that part. I did not see what it was since I was busy with work and online meetings this afternoon when it happened.

  4. Katarina Schwab

    Hi,

    My dog ate 5 used soft discs, (menstrual substitute for pads and tampons.) I’m extremely concerned that these will not pass through and my boyfriend insists that we wait until he poops. Have you had any experience with a dog eating these? What should I do?

    • Amy Shojai

      Please take your dog to the veterinarian immediately! You are right, they may not pass. The doctor may be able to prompt the dog to either vomit them up or retrieve with an endoscope if they’ve not yet passed into the intestines. Should they become lodged in the intestines, that may mean emergency surgery. Call the vet and get your dog seen NOW!

  5. Joseph carsin

    My 3 month old puppy just ate a stick on our stroll. Im not sure what to do.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Joseph, I’m sorry that I just got this. If the stick was chewed into small enough pieces, it should pass. By now it would be in the intestines. Watch for “hunching” behavior (arching the back) or straining to defecate, which are signs of distress. Puppies do eat a lot of things they shouldn’t. If this happens again, it’s always a good idea to feed a large meal to help pad any sharp bits and help it pass through. If concerned about it, you can induce vomiting immediately but that won’t work after this amount of time. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet for advice.

  6. Gretchen

    Our dog swallowed a small cloth ball (size of a golf ball) stuffed with poly foam 3 days ago while at another house. My husband is convinced it will pass but I’m concerned. She has had regular bowel movements for last 3 days and is eating ok… but it’s got to go somewhere and she has not passed it in her feces yet. Am I being paranoid?

    • Amy Shojai

      It’s a very good sign that your dog continues to eat and defecate with no problem. Usually objects end up in the stool within 72 hours (longer for heavy or large objects). Sometimes soft fabric objects are hard to see in the stool, too, so she may have passed it. I’d check with the vet for an opinion just to be sure, though.

  7. Delbert

    My small tea cup ate a twig and poop it out but still has a cough what can I do

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Delbert, If the dog still has a cough, possibly the throat got scratched or irritated. I’d check with the vet. It may be something else entirely unrelated.

  8. Krista

    Hi, my 1 1/2 year old golden retriever chewed up a child’s toy car over Christmas. A week later she vomited up a piece of it (about the size of a thumb). A week after that another same size piece. She is eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally. Cause for concern?

    • Amy Shojai

      I’d run this by your veterinarian. It could be she’s already passed most of it in stool and there’s no harm. But if she’s still vomiting pieces, I’d be concerned part(s) of the toy are stuck somewhere inside, and could cause damage/problems later.

  9. Jayden

    Hi, I just got a puppy two days ago (not really puppy; 8m chion mix). I took her home and she ate an entire meal and drank a lot of water the minute I set her down in the kitchen. I took her out and she pooped and peed fine the first day, but then she wouldn’t eat much of her dinner after I brought her inside. The catch is that before I actually stepped inside and took her harness off, she tried chewing a twig from my maple tree that was on the porch. Now, all of Sunday she only pooped and peed once, but today and last night, she didn’t eat anything, but has been drinking out of hands only and throwing up treats and kibble, as well as mucus and bile. I don’t know what to do; either go to the vet or wait 1-2 days. Please let me know. Thank you.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Jayden, Please take your dog to the vet. New places, people, and food can all affect appetite. But she may also have something else going on (something else she ate, or an illness previously exposed, etc.). It’s always best to have the new dog checked by the vet anyway, so please don’t wait any longer. Congrats on your new pup! I hope she feels better soon.

  10. Ferg

    Dear Amy,

    My 55 lb. dog ingested pieces of a hollow Chuckit ball with the biggest piece being about 1” wide and 2.5” length (maybe a bit bigger) 3 days ago. A small has passed in the stool yesterday. It’s day 3 and she is eating and eliminating normally and shows no signs of blockage, but l can’t find the big piece in her stool. In the past, she has swallowed a cat toy and vomited it out 2 weeks later. I came across an article in which the vet claims that ‘if the object is greater than 1.5” in diameter, it’s likely to stay in the stomach,” so the vet was able to induce vomiting for a dog who ingested something over a week ago. I have also come across stories of dogs passing foreign objects weeks later. And stories of dogs passing objects as big as light bulbs with the help of lubricant. How much likely is that? Is it safe to induce vomiting with h.p 3% at home?

    In my dog’s case, could it be that 1) The piece is too big and remains in the stomach and thus induced vomiting might work or 2) The piece is slowing making its way in the small intestines, causing partially blockage, because she is still pooping fine.

    I am adding fiber like squash and olive oil in hopes that it would help keep the piece moving. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Since my dog is not showing any signs of obstruction, can I wait it out?

    Also, does rubber show up on Xray?

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Ferg, Anything I say here would be speculation and every situation is different. Yes, the dog could pass the larger item later. Or it could gradually close off/block part of the digestive tract. At this point, after three days, I wouldn’t think it able to be vomited up, but a veterinarian *might* be able to use an endoscope and remove anything visible that way. My concern would be that if it stays in the stomach/digestive track it could impair absorption of nutrition over time, or even cause a “dam” situation that also caught other smaller items. It’s not unusual for dogs (or some cats) to ingest multiple items over time, and only have problems later–at which time surgery reveals massive amounts of swallowed objects. So my best answer and advice is to see your veterinarian. At this point, you’ve gone beyond “first” aid, and need the diagnostic skills and advice of someone able to figure out exactly what’s happening. Good luck!

  11. Ferg

    Hi, can an object be too big to pass to the small intestines and remain in the stomach for days? If so, does that mean induce vomiting would work in that case? My dog swallow a piece of rubber and it’s been 3 days and no signs of it in the stool but she is eliminating normally. The flat piece of rubber is about 1” by 2.5”. My dog is 55 lb. How likely is it that it would pass? I am adding fiber and olive oil / coconut oil for lubrication. Since she is acting normal, I hope to wait it out. I have read stories of dogs passing objects weeks later. How likely is that?Also is rubber visible on Xray? I have heard contrasting opinions. Thank you.

    • Amy Shojai

      My concern would be that the digestive acids could interact with the rubber, and cause it to swell so it isn’t able to pass in either direction. Inducing vomiting might actually cause a choke issue. Please see your veterinarian!

  12. Candy

    My senior Mini Pin swallowed a nectarine stone. We took him to the Emergency/Trauma Vet Hospital and they induce vomiting, with no luck. Our boy has CHF and high risk for endoscopy so we waited to see if he could pass the stone. He continued to eat well (I made him chicken and rice) and potty fine. On the 10th day after ingesting, he wasn’t interested in breakfast and that afternoon he vomited up the stone. He ate his dinner that evening, but hasn’t done more than nibble at his food today. Could the stone have harm his throught coming back up? Or could his tummy still be upset? The stone came out while, so I’m not too concerned about poisoning, just how to help him from this point.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Candy, Wow–I’m so glad that your boy got rid of the nectarine stone. As you’re aware, they can not only block the “innards” but also poison the pet. Vomiting up after 10 days means it likely was too big to pass the other direction. Certainly, the irritation in the gut likely remains, and bringing it back up could have scraped or irritated his throat. There’s no way for me to know or predict exactly what’s going on, so a call to the vet would be my best recommendation. Please keep me posted!

  13. shanika

    hi my name is Shanika my puppy swallowed a stick I think he is eating but not feeling good he vomit blood a lil but now his laying down I don’t have money right now for a vet so what should I do

    • Amy Shojai

      Oh my dear, please call a veterinarian anyway and ask if you can perhaps pay on time. Meanwhile, follow the suggestions in th blog. Paws crossed for a good outcome.

  14. April

    My 80lb+ dog ate some or all of a rubber ball toy and I didn’t know until yesterday when he vomited large pieces of it. He didn’t want to eat before that, but has since. He vomited again tonight with smaller pieces of ball in it. He otherwise seems fine but not sure how much he may have swallowed. Wouldn’t he show signs he was sick if something still in there?

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi April,
      Wow, I’m glad he vomited the pieces. If there are still small pieces retained, he might not show signs of illness as long as food and waste continues to pass unobstructed. So I’d call the vet and ask for advice–and meanwhile, monitor his intake (and output). Depending on the size of the ball, you’ll likely be able to tell how much potentially might remain. I hope he stays well–we have to really watch those big guys!

  15. Dara

    Hello,

    Our 9.5-week-old Cockapoo has been frequently chewing on a stuffed toy with short tufts of hair/fur that we bought at a pet store. An hour ago he gnawed off maybe 1 inch of the hair/fur and swallowed it. Maybe even less than 1 inch. A small amount. Should I be worried?

    Thanks!
    Dara

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Dara, congratulations on the new puppy! I d watch for it to be passed in his stool, and for any discomfort. But without knowing more, probably a small amount of fuzzy fur should pass without a problem.

  16. tami528

    Hello. I am trying to find out what is wrong with my lab. She returned from vet with clean bill of health but she is still not right. She is not swimming anymore and not anxious to jump in the car w/ me all of what were part of normal routine. It started about 6 months ago. My question is about that same time she swallowed a fishwith fish hook inside. I took her to vet they xrayed her stomach the following day and said all clear. she eats normal, poops normal. is there something that hook could be caught on that has her laying around? She is not a complainer so I rarely know if she is hurt. No outwards signs. Blood tests are good, thyroid good and chest xray good.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Tami, my best advice is to seek a consultation with a specialist, perhaps a veterinarian internal medicine specialist. I can only guess and I’m not a vet. The age and other factors will matter. Good luck!

  17. Nick

    Hello. I have a 10 week old Miniature Schnauzer puppy thats 5 pounds and I think she may have eaten a 7/8 inch foam ball that is for a Nerf Rival gun. My nephew was playing with her and they were jumping and running around while I was cleaning up the few balls on the floor. I dropped one and it rolled to right where they were playing and under her and it looked like she may have swallowed it super fast cause I didn’t see it go anywhere else. I didn’t see her swallow it either but I couldn’t find it when I stopped my nephew and picked her up. A few minute later I found one maybe 10 feet away so its possible it got kicked across the room but that also could have been a different bullet. If she did swallow it, based on her small size do you think she could pass it. I don’t really have money for a Vet bill when I don’t even know for sure she ate anything but I also don’t want anything to happen to her.

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Nick,

      All I can suggest is to monitor eating and elimination to be sure everything is still moving normally through the digestive track. Foam is compressible so it’s “possible” it could pass, but there’s no way to know for sure. Don’t wait too long to call the vet if you see the signs of trouble mentioned in the blog. Good luck!

  18. vignesh.k.j

    He eat a rubber ball and we see a vetinary doctor and doctor prescribe to operate it and operate the doctor say only water to drink for5days .after 4days of operation he eat a cotton dip is any problem

    • Amy Shojai

      Wow, I’m glad your dog got medical attention. I’d check with the veterinarian about the swallowed cotton dip … if it’s small, it may pass with no problem.

  19. John Mahoney

    My five year old labrador had a major seizure this morning, in her movements two socks came up in vomit, could these have been the cause of the seizure?

    • Amy Shojai

      Possibly, if the blockage caused some kind of disruption that impacted glucose intake, for example. But there may be something else going on. So it’s best to get the veterinarian’s opinion and diagnosis after an exam.

  20. Virginia gramley

    My 10yr old rottie ate whole oven stuffed roasted chicken 😆I noticed little red bubble sticking out wat should I do he’s not it pain at all seen alittle bone yesterday but nothing since worried now

    • Amy Shojai

      A “little red bubble” sticking out of …where? My best advice is to ask your veterinarian about options, and meanwhile, monitor your dog’s bowel movements to be sure everything passes. If he begins to hunch his tummy in pain, or strains to go potty, or vomits, go to the emergency room. And wow–a whole chicken? My dog is jealous! Hope everything works out fine for your dog.

  21. Lauren

    My 8 week 4lb Dalmatian ate 2/3 of a baby wipe around 2 hours ago. Should I wait to see signs of distress (vomiting/diarrhea/sluggishness/ no wipes coming out in his poop) before taking him to the vet?

    • Amy Shojai

      Please call your vet with a description of the ingredients in the baby wipe for advice. It depends on what’s in the wet components as much as the material and amount ingested.

  22. Amanda

    My 3 month old beagle is having trouble breathing. I can’t think of a reason why. I fed him food like normal, took him a bath, then he started gasping for air. I have used the same shampoo once before and no reaction. He doesn’t likes baths, but doesn’t give me a hard time either. He gags on and off and threw up blood once. He walks around very slowly and looks tired. When he tries to lay down his breathing gets faster.

    • Amy Shojai

      Please call your veterinarian immediately! I don’t know what’s wrong but your vet is the best chance for your puppy. Throwing up blood is an emergency and can be caused by several things.

  23. Ontheverge

    Hi there. We think our puppy swallowed a toy a couple of weeks ago. It has a squeaker in it. No symptoms until a few days ago – vomiting and lethargy. Xray shows a foreign object with some brightly light areas. I am almost certain that it is the squeaker toy but the vet says unlikely because it has been weeks since pup ingested it. Vet says the object has moved down the GI tract, past the duodenum now. He is on IV fluids and medication. They have not done bloodwork yet to see if any metal toxicity. Should I ask them to? Can they do a scope to retrieve the object? Should we wait for surgery or is it a risk related to metal?

    • Amy Shojai

      Oh no! Poor puppy. I’d rely on what your veterinarian says–certainly, you can ask if metal toxicity might be an issue. But most dog toy squeakers I’m familiar with are plastic or rubber. If the object has progressed to the duodenum, it’s probably not retrievable via endoscope (that’s usually used to retrieve from mouth/throat, esophagus, and stomach). Good luck with your baby.

  24. Unknown

    Me pup have swallowed a little piece of doctor tape what can i do

    • Amy Shojai

      Follow the instructions outlined in the blog text–watch for it to pass. And if there are signs of distress, get your pup to the veterinarian.

    • Amy Shojai

      If it’s a small piece, monitor the puppy’s bowel movement to be sure it passes out. If there are danger signs (as listed in the article), call your veterinarian.

  25. Lucia

    Hello my dog had vomited after eating earlier on the day and when i went to sleep he vomited this little piece of wood which was really smooth around the edges and he has had an apetite still and he seems fine like always no abdominal pain etc
    I think that little piece was the only thing obstructing his stomach should i still call a vet?

  26. Ariadna Olvera

    Hello Amy!
    My 10 pound maltipoo ate a small sock on Thursday. Our vet told us to take her home and monitor her but today is Sunday.. she is still eating and drinking, she is still having bowel movements but from time to time she will gag and try to vomit with no luck. Any suggestions?

    • Amy Shojai

      By now, the sock will have traveled through the digestive track too far for vomiting to be productive. Since she’s still eating and drinking and eliminating, that’s good–the sock hasn’t blocked things. But if you’ve not seen it pass in the stool yet, I would follow up with the vet and ask for their advice for further help.

  27. Ashley jones

    Hi Amy I have a 3 month old Chihuahua that has a chicken bone I believe it’s stuck in her little throat but it’s been like 2 days now I’ve tried everything too help her but today she seems 2 have turned too the worse she was getting up every few hours an eating a couple bits getting a tiny drink an would play for a few then she’d go right back too sleep now she acts like she can’t move she’s wheezing no coughing or puking an she has the sadest little face an with covid going on I have no money what so ever not one penny please tell me something too help her this little girl is MY EVERYTHING I LOVE HER MORE THAN LIFE ITS SELF ILL LOSE MY MIND IF SHE PASSES THANK U SO MUCH IN ADVANCE

    • Amy Shojai

      Take her to the veterinarian now!!! There’s nothing you or I can do, get this puppy emergency help.

  28. Ashley

    Hi Amy,
    My 8 year old Pitt mix ate something 2 nights ago, we woke up yesterday to find she threw up small, approx 2 inch long plastic pieces. She has not been able to keep food or water down since. I have a vet appointment in the morning but wondering how serious you think this is? I’m so worried she’ll need surgery to remove it!
    Thanks,
    Ashley

    • Amy Shojai

      Hi Ashley,
      I’m so sorry you’re going through this with your sweet Pitt. I really can’t guess about the nature of the situation, and paws crossed the veterinarian will be able to help you. If you can identify where the plastic pieces came from, and see how much remains (or doesn’t) that will help the doctor. Please also take the pieces that your dog vomited to show to the vet. Please let me know what happens!

  29. SKR

    Hello- my puppy at a fabric scrunchie (whole) 3 nights ago. In the 10 seconds it took for us to follow up him and grab him from the room he managed to swallow it whole. He has not been in distress, has been pooping a lot, and normal, eating and drinking. No signs of distress. The vet said to keep watching him but should it be taking this long to pass? Is it possible to still be going to the bathroom like normal but have a blockage? He has not changed in any sense and still has so much energy. I just really want it to pass so I can stop worrying.

    • Amy Shojai

      Wow–our pup ate a fabric softener/sheet once, and immediately began to vomit (it came up, thank goodness!). The material (synthetic) isn’t digestible so you should see it when it passes. But it may be “smooshed” up with the feces and hard to see. Your veterinarian is the best resource for your guidance, and what to do likely depends on the specific type of product. It’s very positive your dog hasn’t had any negative signs.

  30. Natalie K.

    Hello Amy. My 4 y.o. golden retriever ate half a dozen faux pearl beads from my hat 30 minutes ago. Shall I wait till he poos them out or take him to the vet? Thank you!

    • Amy Shojai

      I’d call the vet to ask. Small items may pass, but it depends on what the faux pearl beads are made of, and your vet would know best.

  31. Danielle Buchmayer

    Hello!
    My 7 month old beagle at a small plastic squeaker toy about 7cm around, he’s been pooping eating and acting completely normal. It happened around 3 days ago, I’ve been checking his poops and I don’t see anything. Not sure what to do at this point.
    Thank you

    • Amy Shojai

      My standard answer–ask your vet. Some foreign objects can just “sit” there for a while, and allow the feces to pass. But later they can move and cause problems. It really depends on the formulatio of the toy, and your vet has the best idea of what to expect and how to manage this.

      • Danielle

        Thanks so much I appreciate it! Just an update, after 4 days of extra exercise and chicken and rice he pooped the squeaker out! We got very lucky.

        • Amy Shojai

          Yay!!! Thanks so much for the update, glad that “everything came out all right.” *s*

  32. NightBot

    hello, my 2 and a half month old golden retriever puppy just swalloed a bone which he was chewing and was a little bit soft…its kinda like a calcium bone(cuz he chews on it and slowly start to be soft) i guess…is it ok for him to swallow it though?

    • Amy Shojai

      It very much depends on the size of the object and how soft it is. My default answer always says, call your vet for advice, since I don’t know your puppy and the vet has (hopefully) already had hands-on exam. In any event, follow the advice in the blog: feed a meal to cushion, and monitor the stool Hope everything (literally!) comes out all right.

  33. Cam

    Hi there
    5 days ago I lost my engagement ring in our house, have searched up and down and can not find it anywhere-but then 2 days ago our labrador starts feeling unwell, alot of whining and very little energy and seems to have discomfort from her behind/back legs. She is 8 this years so she is getting a bit stiffer. She is still eating (normally can’t set the bowl down quick enough, but this last few days she’s taking an hour or 2 to finish it) and still pooping. I’m wondering if she has ate the ring would she have pooped it out but this stage. I have been checking but haven’t found anything.

    • Amy Shojai

      Usually, objects that small pass through the body and into the feces within 24 to 72 hours. So probably the ring has already passed, or your dog is blameless. Since her eating behavior has changed, I’d recommend a call to the vet in any case. Older dogs can get sick quicker over any number of things, even if it has nothing to do with your ring. I hope you find the engagement ring soon, hopefully under a sofa cushion or similar!

  34. Alex

    My dog had hold of a very small piece of porcelain and idk if he ate it, there are no distress signs and seems to be fine with eating. He hasn’t thrown up and is sleeping fine, does this still mean he could’ve eaten it? I would feel grateful if he didn’t and if he did the size was about the size of a small button maybe a little bigger. He can pass almost anything from pens to folders but I’m still worried because he’s getting old and frail, please do your best and let me know if you can thank you.

    • Amy Shojai

      My best advice is to follow the recommendations in the post. I wouldn’t make him vomit since it’s sharp… but Feed a bulky meal to pad its passage in case he did eat it. And monitor his poop, and watch for it.

  35. Danielle Richardson

    Hi Amy,
    I have a 4-month English Cream Dachshund who ate the earring straight off my friend’s ear. It was a dangle earring about the size of a penny. My concern is that when she swallowed the earring the clasp was open, which is a hook shape. I’ve taken the puppy to the vet and they don’t see anything on the x-rays, but said that the metal of the earring just might not be dense enough to show up. The puppy is eating and pooping normally, but has been sleeping pretty much all day everyday- which is unusual. It has been 5 days since the puppy ate the earring and I have examined every poop, but have yet to find the earring. Should I be concerned?

    • Amy Shojai

      I’d listen to my intuition–if you know that sleeping so much isn’t normal for her, take her back to the vet for follow-up. It should have passed by now. Yes, you may have missed it (it’s small) but if still “stuck” somewhere inside, could cause other issues. Better safe with another check up. I hope she feels better soon!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Puppy Diarrhea! Home Remedies for Dog Diarrhea & When to Call Vet - […] also may develop diarrhea from a sudden change of diet, or even swallowed foreign objects. The stress of coming…
  2. Dog Choking & Cat Choking: First Aid & Pet Heimlich Help - […] Swallowed objects that are small enough may not pose any problems if they pass out of the body. A…
  3. Puppy Vomiting & Why Dogs Vomit: How to Treat Puppy Vomiting At Home - […] normal. Most cases of adult dog vomiting result from gastric irritation due to swallowed grass, eating inedible objects, spoiled…
  4. Dog Chewing: How to Stop Dog Chewing Behavior - […] ← Adopting An Easter Bunny? Make Mine Chocolate! Dogs Swallowed Objects: Symptoms & First Aid for Dogs Eating Objects…
  5. Weird Stuff Dogs Eat: Why Dogs Eat Grass, Eat Dirt & Eat Poop - […] their world by mouthing, tasting, and chewing. That sometimes gets them into trouble if they swallow something they shouldn’t.…
  6. Puppy Proofing: Top 10 Tips to Save Dog Lives for National Puppy Day! - […] ← Cat Writers Conference Shares Good Publishing & Writing Advice Dogs Swallowed Objects: Symptoms & First Aid for Dogs…
  7. Puppy Development: Stages of Puppy Development Birth to Two Years - […] are in by about five to six weeks of age. The babies will want to chew everything. Be careful…
  8. Sick Kitty: What to Do About Anorexia When Pets Won't EatAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] could prompt anorexia. High outdoor temperatures also can kill pet appetite. Shadow-Pup once ate a dryer sheet and vomited…
  9. How to Pet Proof Holidays: 11 Life Saving TipsAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] to pets if swallowed—dogs and cats rarely unwrap treats before eating. Refer to this post on dealing with swallowed…
  10. Brushing Dog Teeth & Cat Teeth: Learn How to Brush Pets' TeethAMY SHOJAI'S Bling, Bitches & Blood - […] Puppies love to chew. Offer your dog a legal object that also has dental benefits, like the “dental toys”…

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Recent Posts

Chiropractic Care & Back Problems: Home Treatment Tips

Chiropractic care…do you use it? In the past I’ve had back issues and got relief after visiting my chiropractor. Chiropractic care works as well in pets as in people, too. In fact, many people with performance dogs regularly schedule chiropractic treatments for their canine athletes..

Cat chiropractic care may not happen as often. After all, felines practice their own form of yoga to stay limber. They’re also much lighter weight than many dogs, and perhaps that puts less strain on their bodies. Read on for some home care techniques that can help your pets.

Love Thrillers? Reminder about Emily Kimelman & Sydney Rye Series

👀 I spy a steal…I’m head-down in the plotting/writing of my next SEPTEMBER & SHADOW THRILLER #7! Lots of “schtuff” keeps sidetracking me from finishing DARE OR DIE, but hope to get the next story into your hands this spring. Meanwhile, here’s a reminder I’ve lined up some more great books for your reading pleasure. If you love crime and thriller stories with dogs (hey, you’re reading mine, right?) check out Emily Kimelman’s gritty Sydney Rye Mysteries, too. Oh my doG, tail-waging grrrreat fun.

The tagline of the series gets me every time: Sydney Rye and her dog exact justice with a vengeance. The dog doesn’t die, but the bad guys do.

I get that question a lot about my September & Shadow thriller series, too. So I borrowed (stole?!) the line from Emily and include it whenever folks ask. I also loved what she says about the dog “aging out” in the book…that it’s FICTION so the dog can live forever! (Heck, I just may steal that, too…don’t hate me, Emily!). Read on for a great deal on her books!

How to Leash Train Cats

Why would you want to leash train cats and confine kitties from stalking and pouncing? Isn’t that mean? Actually, it’s not cruel, but without proper introduction, it can be a wee bit scary. In my Complete Kitten Care book, I call this LIBERATION TRAINING. Teaching your new cat to walk on a leash is a safety issue, but also means they get to venture beyond the confines of your house and into the yard and beyond.

This week during a cat consult, a pet parent asked about training her cat to walk on a leash. It’s always a good time to revisit the notion. An adult cat won’t automatically understand the concept, though, so this blog not only explains the benefits of leash training to YOU, it also helps you purr-suade your cats to get a new leash on life. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Dog Choking & Cat Choking: First Aid & Pet Heimlich Help

Have your pets ever choked on something they chew? Shadow-Pup loves to chew up inedible objects, no matter how much we supervise. Learn how to administer the pet Heimlich to save a life!

When Karma-Kat came to live with us, that put lots of cat toys within Magical-Dawg’s reach. Seren had never been too keen on such things and she was already nine years old when Magic came as a puppy. He loved to swipe Seren’s “sparkle-balls” and ended up with sparkly poop. Once Karma’s toys added to the kitty quotient, the big ol’ dog had a field day seeing how many cat toys he could stuff into his jaws.

Bravo played with rocks. And the new puppy Shadow loves to chew sticks. He’s already got one caught in the roof of his mouth. That’s the perfect opportunity for choking, and a need for the pet Heimlich. I hope that we’ll never need it, though. In case you do, read on!

Do Readers Care Why I Write

Do readers care why writers write? One time at a writer conference, that question was asked and an overwhelming response was, “I write because I HAVE to write, it’s  compulsion, I must write…” And an agent on the panel responded, “They have medication for that now.”

Ba-da-boom. *rimshot*

My audience doesn’t read. Well, unless you count dogs and cats chewing up or (ahem) “being creative” on paper. And of course, cats “read” by sitting on top of the words and absorbing the text through their furry nether regions.

Yvonne DiVita tagged me years ago in the “Why I Write” blog hop. I know Yvonne through the terrific BlogPaws.com organization she co-founded, but today you’ll find Yvonne at NurturingBigIdeas. As I updated several out-of-date blog posts, I found this one as true today as when first written more than a decade ago. I talk more about my writer’s journey at my website, but here’s the crib notes. *s*

Why Dogs Bark & How to Stop A Dog from Barking

Do you know how to stop dog barking? “Will you please, for the love of doG, stop barking!” When Shadow-Pup joined our family, he and Bravo-Dawg egged each other on. Now that he’s the only dog, he and the cat tease each other and prompt bark-fest and meow-athons.

We love our dogs, but when noisy dogs get revved up, dog barking can drive us nuts. Shadow has a “demand attention” barking problem that shatters glass. He also loves barking at squirrels and tells on Karma-Kat when the cat gets on a counter, and at us when we can’t read his mind.

So what’s the answer–how to stop a dog from barking? The key to stop barking includes understanding why dogs bark.

Scaredy Cat? Teaching Shrinking Violet Shy Cats

Do you have a scaredy cat? Working with fearful and scared cats can be a challenge. Does Sheba hiss at strangers? Does Tom dive under the bed when the doorbell rings? Do your kitties attack other pets (or humans)? What can you do to stop bad behavior if even a mild correction sends the cat into fearful meltdown? Alexa posted her Ask Amy question to my Facebook page, and the answer is in today’s video.

Helping Shy & Scaredy Cats

We often feel that our fur-kids must have been abused and feel bad to make THEM feel bad. But they still need to know limits. One of my favorite ways to train is using positive rewards. Instead of waiting for kitty to scratch the wrong object and then interrupting the behavior–why not REWARD her when she scratches the RIGHT object?

Using kitty clicker training can also build confidence in shy cats by teaching them what happens is in their paws. Here are more tips for dealing with scared cats.

Cat Neatness Freaks: How & Why Cats Groom

Does your cat groom nonstop? We cherish the cat’s fastidious nature but did you ever wonder why cats groom? Neatnik behavior goes beyond looking good. Did you know in this hot weather, cats also groom to stay cool and prevent heatstroke? 

How and why cats groom impacts physical, emotional, and social health. My Karma-Kat even tries to groom his best friend, Bravo-Dawg. The instinct starts during kittenhood and lasts a lifetime. Of course, some cats get dingy when cats don’t groom, and there are reasons for that as well.

Grooming is a barometer of kitty health. Cats that feel bad often stop grooming, or lick and pull fur out due to stress or pain. Consider an unthrifty appearance or “barbering” themselves bald a kitty cry for vet care. Cats often need help in the grooming department—especially longhair beauties. Here are 5 common reasons why cats groom.

Please Fence Me In: Creating Good Neighbors & Keeping Dogs Safe

Do you have a dog fence? Magical-Dawg used to take off after “critters” every so often, racing around the 13-acre spread (or beyond). We eventually trained him to stay with us, even when off-leash. It would have devastated me if Magic disappeared. He was microchipped, but folks would need to catch him first.

Bravo was a very different dog. He was so good off-leash during most morning rambles and didn’t want to go too far away from us. He’d chase and play with his “big-ball” in the field, and baptize every tree and grass tussock. And once he lost his leg, he couldn’t get out the back fenced area even if he’d wanted to.

 Shadow-Pup, though, takes after Magical-Dawg. He’s so small, not even the fenced back area keeps him contained. He also likes to dig, so we needed to address possible escapes. Refer to this post for more help with digging dogs. Until recently, we had to keep him on a leash anytime we went outside, and that’s no fun for him–or for us. A fence is a dog’s best friend!

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Amy Shojai CACB is an award winning author.  You can find all her publications and book her to speak via her website. 

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