Sometimes our best friends have the annoying habit of chewing things they shouldn’t…and then inadvertently swallowing them.

So, what should I do if my dog swallows a foreign object?

Recognising the symptoms

Don’t worry, in many cases your dog will throw up the swallowed object, or it will pass through their digestive system.

Nevertheless, it’s possible for the object to instead become blocked in the digestive system. The consequences of this will depend on the size of the object and exactly where it has become stuck.

If the object is lodged in the mouth or pharynx, your dog will most definitely have feeding problems and you will notice significant salivation.

Should the foreign object make its way to the stomach before becoming stuck, the dog may develop gastritis. You will then become aware of this because he or she will vomit regularly and will be unable to eat properly.

However, if the object gets trapped in the intestines, problems will arise much more rapidly. A pet with an intestinal obstruction will become dehydrated and their physical state will rapidly deteriorate. Such a blockage can impede digestion and cause bloody diarrhoea.

My dog has swallowed something: what are the risks?

A pet who presents with an obstruction can suffer from severe dehydration as a result of fluid and electrolyte disturbances. This can have serious consequences for the animal.

It is important to realise that foreign objects which stay in the digestive system can cause intestinal tissue death or intestinal perforations followed by peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining).

When should I take action?

The best course of action is to consult a vet immediately! A simple X-ray can show the presence of a foreign object. If necessary, surgery will be carried out to remove it.

Ideally, if the object is stuck in the stomach, it may be possible to have an endoscopy to try extract the object without full surgery.

However, please remember that it is vital to speak with your vet quickly - your pet’s health is at stake.

Has your dog ever swallowed an object?

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