I remember reading an article last year about a Great Dane pup who managed to consume 43.5 socks. Yes, you read that correctly—43.5 socks. While this clearly made the news in Oregon, and likely made the weird news section of other papers, it’s really not something that’s uncommon for pets to do. Afterall, most pets aren’t picky eaters.
Toys (or, the stuffing from them as they destroy them), floss or thread, baby bottle nipples, clothing (socks, underwear, shoes), fish hooks, rubber bands, rocks, plastic, jewelry, fake flowers, pieces of rawhide bones (or other common chew toys) and so much more are all items that pets have eaten--and Fur Kids Foundation often sees them in cases. Often dubbed foreign body obstructions by vets, these items can create blockages that may require your beloved pet to have surgery—or worse, it could kill them.
According to the Pet Health Network: When something is ingested by your cat or dog, it usually takes between 10-24 hours to move through the entire digestive tract. Some objects, however, can take much longer--even months! Sometimes, objects are too big to progress through the digestive tract, and when this is the case, they cause an obstruction. If the foreign body has made it to the colon, it’s likely to pass – however, there’s still the possibility that it will be painful, especially if it is sharp (like a stick). In cases like this, you might need veterinary assistance. It is important to follow this rule: never pull a foreign object that is protruding from your pet’s rectum! If still lodged inside, this can cause damage to the internal tissues.
Watch for these common symptoms to determine whether you need to seek veterinary attention:
· Abdominal tenderness or pain
· Behavioral changes such as biting, growling or hissing when picked up
· Diarrhea or even straining to defecate; constipation
· Lack of appetite; anorexia
· Lack of energy
If you pet exhibits any of these symptoms, or if you know your pet has ingested something he or she shouldn't have, call your veterinarian immediately.
Please know that timing is very important in situations like these as an intestinal or stomach blockage often cuts off the blood supply to necessary tissues. If your pet doesn’t receive appropriate treatment, those tissues can die, and severe damage or even death may result.
To learn more about foreign body obstructions, or what to do to prevent your pet from consuming too much life, check out the blogs below.
- American College of Veterinary Surgeons: Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies
- Catster: Ask a Vet: What Should I Do if My Cat Eats String?
- Cesar’s Way: What to do if your dog eats something it shouldn’t
- No Dog About it Blog: Dogs Eating Underwear
- PetMD: Intestinal Obstruction in Cats
- VetStreet: How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing My Underwear? by Dr. Marty Becker