Dogs Eat the Craziest Things

By Valdette Muller| March 7, 2017 | Blog

intestinal blockage

You don’t have to be around a dog too long to know that they like to eat.

A dog’s tastes can vary considerably with often hilarious but also sometimes dangerous consequences.

Apart from the regular dog food, some of the more common items found in the digestive system of dogs are bones, sticks, balls, string, coins and even underwear!


When a dog eats objects that aren’t supposed to be food sources such as woods, cotton, plastic, rocks or even metal objects, this eating disorder is known as Pica.

Any of these indigestible items can lead to an intestinal blockage which is a very painful experience for your dog, with symptoms including, vomiting, stomach ache, the loss of appetite and difficulty defecating.

These blockages can prove extremely dangerous if left unchecked, so if you suspect your dog has swallowed something, get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Depending on the item swallowed and the amount of time since the incident occurred, surgery may be avoidable.

It takes between 10 and 24 hours for items to move through the gastro-intestinal tract, so symptoms of a blockage should appear within this time frame.

If the blockage is in the oesophagus,  you may see symptoms of the blockage earlier and your dog may also lick their lips, or repeatedly try and swallow with this form of blockage. Your dog may also quickly become dehydrated as they will not be able to eat or drink correctly.

The blockage may also be in the stomach, this is characterised by lots of vomiting as food cannot make it to the intestinal tract. Large smooth items, such as balls or bones are often the culprit in these cases.

It is also possible that the blockage may be in the small intestine. This can result in a build up of gases, causing the intestine to become distended and can cut off blood circulation to the area which results in tissue decay. Diarrhoea is also more common with this form of blockage.

If you notice any of these symptoms, the best recommendation is to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible, but prevention is often better than a cure so here are some tips to avoid intestinal blockages altogether:

  • While difficult, try to keep an eye on your dog when you see them playing with or chewing on an object that can be easily swallowed
  • Cooked bones splinter easily, avoid giving these to your dogs
  • If your dog is known to eat anything, avoid giving them toys which could be unsafe to swallow, normally toys that are larger than your dog’s throat are safer as they will not be swallow it (without chewing it to pieces first)
  • Keep your dog away from dustbins or food leftovers that may contain bones or other inedible items
  • Teach your dog to drop things that they have in their mouth when you tell them, this is much easier than trying to wrestle the item away from them every time which could also make them think they are playing a game

While dogs will continually try to live up to their vacuum cleaner reputation, the dangers of intestinal blockage are all too real and all too common. Vigilance and quick action are the best measures to preventing these obstructions from occurring.



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