If you are a long-time pet parent, as I am, then the chances are that at some point in your dogs’ life, they will eat something they shouldn’t. Dogs love to scavenge and stick their noses in places they shouldn’t. Whether it’s the trash, under the kitchen table, finding food scraps, or finding those little hidden treasures in the bushes, there are so many substances our dogs may come across!
When that inevitable moment happens, where your four-legged family member may have consumed something potentially dangerous, what do you do? We’ve outlined a few simple steps to follow in these situations, as well as some foods and substances that should be kept out of your dog’s reach.
If Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn’t, Don’t Panic
If your dog ingests a foreign body, stay calm. It is entirely natural to be frantic or panicked if your dog eats something that could make them sick. If you have a dog with anxiety, freaking out will not help. You will evaluate the situation more clearly and react faster if you stay calm.
The first thing you need to do when your dog is eating something they shouldn’t is remove anything your dog is still trying to eat from their mouth. Depending on what your dog has eaten(and how much) will determine how bad your pup ends up feeling. Look out for types of plastic, wrappers, or packaging that could have either been eaten or maybe hidden under any nearby furniture.
If you can determine how much your dog consumed, it will be beneficial to share with your vet. If possible, save any wrappers or a sample of the material.
Evaluate Their Symptoms
Evaluate your dog’s symptoms as they present themselves, especially if they show symptoms right away. Your dog may have different reactions depending on what they’ve digested. Some of the more concerning signs that indicate your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t include: vomiting, shaking, panting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Any of these symptoms could indicate that your dog ate something toxic.
Go To Your Veterinarian Right Away
Your vet will be able to determine the best treatment options based on what your dog has eaten. Typically, if your dog ate a food item like chocolate, or onions your vet will likely induce vomiting to get the foreign bodies out of your dogs’ stomach. If your dog swallows an object like a small toy or pieces of a remote, your veterinarian will probably order some X-Rays. They will determine what is in their stomach and how to deal with it. If you can’t reach your local vet, take your dog to the nearest emergency animal clinic.
In more severe cases, your vet or animal care professional may have to remove the object with an endoscopy. The vet will insert a long tube down your dog’s throat and into their stomach to remove the item or blockage. It is better to have these foreign bodies removed through vomiting before passing through the intestines. If objects get lodged in the intestines, it can create significant complications.
Keep Your Dog Away From Foreign Objects And Food
In situations like these, prevention is critical. Do your absolute best to keep foreign objects and food away from your dog. If you are cooking one evening and know you will be using onions or garlic, keep your dog away from the kitchen. Be sure to discard all parts of the onion and garlic as they are toxic to your dog.
Foods and Substances Your Dog Should Avoid
The best thing you can do to keep your four-legged friend safe is by taking preventative measures. Make sure any potentially poisonous substances are out of your pup’s reach. It’s also important to be aware of items that can be harmful depending on the quantity your dog consumes. Below are a few items you should keep away from your furry friend:
- Macadamia Nuts
- Yeast Dough
- Apple Cores
- Xylitol (often found in gum and candy)
- Peach/Plum Pits
- Cleaning Products
- Human Medicine
When in doubt, talk with your veterinarian.
Lastly, it would be ideal for your dog to have a solid understanding of the “leave it” or “drop it” command. Contact us for private training lessons if you need help teaching your dog the “drop ” or “leave it” command or if you want more guidance reinforcing it. Here are some tips on how to make dog training successful.
As long as you keep items your dog should not have access to out of reach, you can prevent accidents. Likewise, keeping your dog occupied with food puzzles, chews, or other toys made explicitly for them, will help deter your pup from seeking out items that could make them sick.
Early intervention can help prevent any life-threatening situations for your pup. The sooner the toxic substance is removed from their body, the better the chances of recovery.