In so many ways, pets are like babies; they’re cute, lovable, funny, endearing…and they put everything in their mouths. Although exploring the world with their teeth and tongues is normal for most pets, problems can arise when inedible objects, also called foreign bodies, are ingested. That’s why the experts at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital want to discuss the dangers associated with foreign bodies in pets and how you can keep your companion safe and sound.
The Trouble with Foreign Bodies in Pets
Whether your dog decided to raid the neighbor’s garbage or your cat got a little carried away playing with the piece of ribbon she found under the couch, ingesting a foreign object can have serious consequences.
The following situations are veterinary emergencies:
- Choking – Any object that’s large enough or one that can be chewed into large chunks constitutes a choking hazard.
- Intestinal obstruction – Items that become lodged in the intestines can prevent normal functioning and may lead to illness and tissue death. Symptoms include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
- Perforation – Sharp objects are notorious for piercing certain areas of the digestive tract, such as the stomach or intestine, but any foreign body has the ability to cause a dangerous perforation.
- Toxicity – Certain items, such as pennies containing zinc, are toxic and must be surgically removed.
If you observe an object protruding from your pet’s anus, do not attempt to pull it out, as this could do irreparable damage to your pet’s intestines and bowel. Contact us or bring your pet in immediately for help.
A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way
There are so many reasons why a pet might chew on or ingest something they shouldn’t, including youth, curiosity, and boredom. The following tips will help protect your pet from the dangerous consequences of consuming a foreign body:
- Keep small, inedible objects off the floor and low-lying tables and shelves.
- Don’t leave clothing, towels, or small blankets where your pet can get to them.
- Keep trash bins covered and in a non-accessible location.
- Never give bones or brittle rawhide to your dog.
- Always supervise your pet when they’re chewing or playing with a dental treat, chew toy, or toy of any kind.
- String, tinsel, and dental floss are particularly dangerous because they can get hooked on part of the intestine, causing irreparable damage on the way down. Take extra care to keep these items away from your dog or cat.
- For their safety, make sure your dog understands and responds to “drop it” or “leave it.”
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with additional questions or concerns about foreign bodies in pets.