As a long -time dog owner, I’ve often heard “dogs eat everything.” Luckily, I have never had to rush my dogs to the vet, but this week at PetsFirst! we helped two adorable canine patients who ate things they shouldn’t have–one ate a chocolate bar, and the other ate some medication intended for a much larger dog. I was able to assist in caring for these patients, and I gained some valuable knowledge.
If your dog swallows something potentially dangerous, the main thing to remember is to stay calm and call your vet–we can help you determine how urgent the situation is. In some cases, we may need to see your pet to induce vomiting. In other cases, such as ingestion of a foreign object, we will need x-rays to see where the object is positioned and determine how to remove it.
How do you know when your pet has eaten something hazardous? Signs to look for include vomiting, gagging, painful abdomen, lack of appetite, lethargy, changes in behavior, or changes in bowel movement (loose or runny, or possibly lack of defecation). When in doubt, always give us a call!
The best thing to prevent these situations from occurring would to ‘dog proof’ your home, garage, and yard. Like toddlers, pets can get into everything. Keep all chemicals, medications, and other dangerous substances secured where your pets cannot access them. Also, make sure you familiarize yourself with what substances are harmful to dogs–human medicine can be harmful to pets (never give your pets ibuprofen or acetaminophen!), as well as many kinds of human food, including grapes, onions, and the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Bottom line is, if your pet is acting like he doesn’t feel well, it’s always best to call your vet. I learned a lot this week and loved helping to care for our two patients with tummy troubles. I am happy to report that we were able to bring both dogs through their ordeals, and they are now doing well.