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What to Do If Your Dog Swallowed Something They Shouldn’t Have

It’s normal for puppies and dogs to chew on objects as they explore the world. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in objects being swallowed that shouldn’t be!

Sometimes after swallowing an object, it may get stuck – either in the dog’s mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Objects can get stuck due to their size, shape, or the material(s) they are made of.

Signs Your Dog Swallowed Something Inappropriate:

If your dog shows any sign of choking or respiratory distress, this is an immediate and very serious emergency and must be addressed immediately! If your pet is showing signs of digestive discomfort, such as vomiting or diarrhea, this may also be a sign they consumed something they shouldn’t have and will need to be examined by a veterinarian.

If you know for sure your pet swallowed something, look around to try to determine exactly what was swallowed, how much, and how long ago. The more information you can provide your veterinarian, the better. Your dog will need to be seen by a veterinarian to verify that they swallowed something inappropriate. If you are unsure whether your dog could have ingested something, or suspicious they might have, it is best to be cautious and visit your veterinarian. Left untreated, swallowed objects can be fatal.

Important Tips To Remember:

  • Check the dog’s mouth for foreign objects that may be lodged there, and only if it’s very easily accomplished without injury to yourself, or your dog, remove the objects. Sedation is often necessary in these cases, so visiting a veterinarian is highly recommended
  • If you can see thread, string or another form of cord hanging from the dog’s mouth, do not pull it or cut it. Doing so may cause injury to the throat or esophagus, among other sensitive structures in their oral cavity.
  • If the swallowed object is sharp, NEVER induce vomiting.
  • If your dog swallowed something toxic, or potentially toxic, immediately contact your veterinarian or Poison Control Centre! Do NOT induce vomiting.
  • In all cases, call your veterinarian immediately for advice as to the next steps required. These will vary depending on the object ingested, the time of ingestion and the symptoms the pet is currently exhibiting. When in doubt, take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible!

Diagnosis & Treatment:

Following an examination to gauge your pet’s overall health and symptoms, subsequent tests and treatment may be conducted, depending on what was consumed. This may include x-rays to verify the presence or location of the swallowed object, bloodwork  if the item consumed was toxic to determine how it’s affecting their liver or kidneys, and/or surgical intervention.

Treating a dog that has accidentally swallowed an object can vary widely from plucking the object from the oral cavity while sedated, all the way to intestinal surgery.

The potential severity of a foreign body cannot be underestimated!

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