We have all been there, just for some more unfortunate owners more often than others!
Puppies like to put everything they come across in their mouth. You could say this phase is a right of passage and the hope is that they live, and learn and grow out of it. For most dogs this phase does pass without a trip to the vets. For a few, less discriminate pups they elect to swallow an object which needs some human intervention. And for some of you reading this, your dog is a fully-grown adult who still eats toys or stones or food which is toxic to their canine body.
So, if you find your dog with the offending item in his/her mouth the first thing to say is don’t panic. I know it is easier said than done but to panic usually will mean giving verbal or physical queues to your pet which may encourage them to swallow the item quickly. As a puppy training them to exchange their item for a more rewarding treat can be helpful in this situation.
If the item is a choke hazard or is chocking the pet and it is safe to do so remove the item. If the item is swallowed whatever you do, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO INDUCE VOMITING AT HOME. This has had disastrous consequences in the past and is not something that should be done at home. At the practice there are several ways we can remove the problem. Small items we can either remove using an endoscope or we induce vomiting in a controlled way with safe medications. If the item they have eaten is toxic, it is helpful for owner to bring us the packaging of the item. This way we can check the active ingredients, the amount ingested, the best method for removal and if there are any specific antidotes. We have a toxin support line service we can contact for additional advice. Often it is best for us to induce vomiting to remove the item from the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes we may have to lavage the stomach. Charcoal may also be given to absorb anything which may be left behind.
It is never recommended to leave your dog and take a ‘wait and see approach’. A toxin may have fatal side effects and foreign objects which cause obstruction in the gut can be life threatening too. We are always here to help and often it is better out than in!