You just realized that your dog swallowed something that they should not have. Now, what? Stay calm and utilize these 5 tips:
- Assessment: Assess the item swallowed and evaluate the seriousness. Call your vet for help and describe the object, the size, shape, and material. The size of your dog matters – a toy breed that swallows a small object will have a harder time passing it than a German Shepherd.
- X-ray’s: They may be necessary. An x-ray can pinpoint where the object is and how likely it is to pass.
- Diet: Do not alter your dog’s diet. If your veterinarian recommends waiting for the object to pass, do not vary your dog’s normal diet. A change in diet can trigger symptoms which can be confused with a blockage.
- Illness: Keep a watchful eye on your dog. If your dog acts ill, lethargic, vomits, refuses food or water, or has diarrhea – call your vet.
- Dangerous Items: Seek immediate attention if your dog swallows a dangerous item such as:
- String or stick shaped items
- Polyurethane glues
- Sharp edged items such as broken objects
- Coins – problems can occur if stomach acid breaks down the metal
Do not allow your first instinct to be trying to induce vomiting. There are several instances where doing so can put your pet at greater risk. Your first instinct should be to call your vet, an after-hours vet, or a 24-hour animal poison hotline. If vomiting would be helpful, they can instruct you on how best to induce it.
When in doubt about your pet’s health and well-being it is better (and usually cheaper in the long run) to be safe rather than sorry. Let the professionals determine if your friend needs to be immediately transported to a vet or if you can wait and see what happens.