Animal Rescue: How Veterinarians Prevent Illnesses And Heal Animals

What have they just eaten?! A guide for dog owners

One of the dangers of the holiday season is dogs taking the chance to snack on something that is not designed for animal consumption. If your pet has just snacked on something untoward, here are some tips on the next steps to take.

Something potentially poisonous

If you find that your dog has snacked on chocolate, grapes or other potential poisons such as medications, the first step is to get some proof of what they have actually ingested. Even if they seem to be lurking around the chocolate platter, it's worth collecting anything that they may have consumed so that the vet has as much information as possible before they treat your dog.

In many cases the answer to a milder poison is either to induce the dog to vomit, or in the case of more severe poisons the dog may have their stomach pumped (where the path of the poison back through the oesophagus and mouth might cause more damage and burning). It's important to let the vet assess the extent of the poisoning rather than trying to induce vomiting at home and potentially causing worse injuries to your pooch.

Something solid

Dogs unfortunately can get curious about the sensation of chewing on items such as new toys, tangled fishing lines and new toys. If small enough, these objects should pass naturally through the faeces, but if the item is large, it can potentially become an obstruction in the intestines. If you are concerned that your dog may have inadvertently swallowed a large object, it's worth taking them to the vet for a scan and some observation. The vet can often give the dog a laxative or perform an enema to speed up the passage of the item through the dog's digestive system.

Something sharp

If your dog has munched down on a sharp object, such as beer bottle top or a Christmas ornament, it's time to take them into the vet. Unfortunately, many of these sharp objects can cause rips in the intestines if left to take their natural route through the digestive system and potentially cause blood poisoning as a result. The vet can take x-rays of the obstructions and make some assessment on the best way, if possible, to surgically remove the sharp object.

While ideally you should keep all hazardous materials away from your dogs, if the worse is to happen and they do eat something ill-advised, you should take them to a vet emergency clinic for an assessment and treatment.