PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — You’ve heard the old saying about how kids say the darnedest things; well, perhaps the same thing can be said about what dogs will eat.
“We actually have a contest every year – I know this is crazy, in one of our veterinarian magazines – of who can send in the x-ray with the craziest things,” says Dr. Mike Hutchinson, DVM, of Animal General Hospital.
X-rays show that dogs have swallowed things like utility knife blades, fish hooks, safety pins and straight pins.
“Hopefully, if the owners catch it while it’s in the stomach, yes; but a lot of times, they have been vomiting for a day or two,” says Dr. Hutchinson. “You take the x-ray, and it’s already passed into the intestine, so we have to go in and literally take it out of the intestine.”
That’s precisely what happened to Sam, the Weimaraner, when he was 8-months-old.
“He swallowed one of the cat’s toys, and he was like sick, so we had to take him to the vet to get it out,” said Chloe Salopek, Sam’s owner. ”So, he had to have surgery.”
As is often the case, the owners had no idea what the dog ate.
“He wasn’t eating. He was vomiting, he had diarrhea, just real lethargic,” Sam’s owner, Dave Salopek, of Ross Township. “He would walk downstairs and just lie down, and that’s it.”
Surgery removed it from his intestine, but Sam evidently didn’t learn his lesson because when he’s left out of his crate, Sam still goes after objects left on the floor, including socks.
“Chloe’s seem to be his favorite,” says Dave. “I don’t know what it is.”
“Whenever I first let him out of his crate whenever I get home from school, he always takes his blanket with him and tries to chew it up, and I have to take it away from him,” adds Nathan Salopek. “Whenever he gets downstairs, he tries to chew up the pillows.”
What causes dogs to eat things they should not?
“It could be separation anxiety that sets them off,” says Dr. Hutchinson. “They start chewing things, going into the garbage can. That happens a lot when people leave – that separation – pets get nervous and they get upset and they do things they wouldn’t do if you were there.”
The big question is – short of putting a muzzle on your dog – what can you do?
“Typically, [the dog’s] behavior doesn’t change, it’s the owners that become aware of it and they pick up better,” says Dr. Hutchinson. “They don’t leave things lying around. They close that door to the garbage can, the pantry door, whatever. They make sure there is a tight lid on the garbage.”
Because, like many families, they love their dog – just not his behavior.