Danger: your pet will eat anything! 

by Dr. Lance Weidenbaum

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Some pets will eat anything they can find, no matter how large or unfoodlike. 

The August 2012 issue of Veterinary Practice News contains a feature article about their annual Pet X-Ray Contest. 

The photos here are a sample of the many alarming X-rays included in the article. This one-year-old mastiff was adopted from a shelter complete with an 8-inch ratchet wrench in his gut. 

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Other items swallowed by cats and dogs included an entire fishing pole, a rubber bone, gravel, piano wire, sewing machine needles, a pincushion, a whole beef rib, tweezers, nails, a 9-inch screwdriver, electrical cords, fishhooks, chess pieces, NERF darts, rocks, hair ties, baby pacifiers, tinsel, and more.

Any one of these items could kill the animal that ate it through blocking the instestines, perforating an organ or causing an infection. 

What can you do to prevent your pet from swallowing these objects? We have several suggestions:

  • Review your house and put away any loose items that will fit in your pet's mouth.
  • Choose pet toys that your dog or cat can't swallow. 
  • Pick up and store all pet toys when you're not actively playing with your pet. 
  • Examine your yard for potential hazards – stones, construction materials, tools, toys – and remove or store out of reach of your pets.
  • Don't leave anything resembling string where a cat can reach it, including cat toys. Always remove cat toys with cords and store them when you're not in the room. 
  • Many cats quickly learn that there is dental floss to be had in the bathroom trashcan, so throw used floss away in a container that cats can't open. 
  • Monitor your children and their toys, and teach them from an early age how to help keep your pets safe.
  • Monitor your pets while walking them and train dogs not to pick up items from the street. "Leave it" is a useful command to teach any dog! 
  • Dogs will grab a piece of rotten food, a dead animal, or other seemingly unsavory objects (like rocks) and swallow them with delight before you are able to react, so monitoring them is key to preventing accidents. 

Do you have other ideas for preventing pets from swallowing dangerous objects? Share your thoughts in our comments box below. 

Photos: Courtesy of Veterinary Practice News and Sachem Animal Hospital

Phone: 954-421-2244   Serving Deerfield Beach, Coconut Creek, and Boca Raton from our offices at Hillsboro Blvd and  Powerline Road in the Dunkin' Donuts plaza.    © Deer Run Animal Hospital 2017